Oscars, PWC and reputational damage

We have seen a number of brands suffering reputational damage over recent years – BP, VW, Sports Direct, BHS – to name just four that spring readily to mind.

By comparison, the glitch at the Oscars is just an amusing sideshow. However, it brings into sharp focus the importance of attention to detail in everything a brand does. The bigger the brand the more small details matter.

Brands are about people – not only the people in the organisation, but the people with whom they interact. The brand exists at this nexus of interaction. The right brand values are shared throughout the organisation, so every point of interaction should reflect those values. That should include attention to detail in servicing customers and dealing with the world in general.

Mistakes happen, people are human. But often particular brands are chosen because among their perceived values are reliability and being a safe pair of hands. The brand has a reputation which has a tangible value.

For such brands, damage to that reputation can be costly.

Every brand loves to be involved in high profile projects as they have the potential for exposure and building that valuable reputation. However there is the very real danger of those human slips and errors, should they occur, happening in full public glare.


Intangible brand assets or just intangible assets?

intangible brand assets

There were the bad old days when brands were not even valued when considering the worth of a business. Today, brand valuation is seen as vital and many takeovers are purely involved in acquiring brands. I have talked before about brand valuation (or evaluation) but not in terms of the components that make up the brand – the majority of these are what I refer to as intangible brand assets (IBAs) that make up the lion’s share of a company’s intangible corporate assets.

You can break these down into three categories:

Human IBAs

These include: skills, relationships, leadership, discourse, partners, values and human rights.

Structural IBAs

These include: history, geography, organization, ownership, financial, intellectual properties, distribution, supply chain and processes.

Promotional/communications IBAs

There include: brand identity, brand and product names, corporate signature, advertising assets, media reputation, URLs and corporate colours.

There are a number of uses for a classification such as this. Together with standard brand valuation methods you can identify and value the components of the brand by giving a weighted score to each category. They can be used for a SWOT analysis of your brand, and to rate your brand against your competitors as part of constructing a brand strategy.

Understanding how IBAs work together as a whole can help avoid some of the inadvertent brand damage that can occur when items are neglected or their importance overlooked in brand terms. Careless discourse within the organization (perhaps referring to customers as ‘punters’) or overlooking the importance of the business’s history, may seem like small points but once they are seen and valued within the whole context of the brand, their worth becomes apparent.

An intangible brand assets checklist is available for download on my website.