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Rio Olympics – A Lesson in Brand Management

By Katie Vroom | On August 24, 2016

“There is no professional or personal anymore. There’s simply your brand. Everything you do affects your brand, and it’s up to you to determine whether your brand is affected positively or negatively. That’s it. Anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong.” – Peter Shankman

Brand reputation, whether for an organization or an individual, is everything and most brands are likely to experience reputational issues with varying degrees of seriousness at some point. Brand reputation is also incredibly fragile and in a digital age where news travels quickly, all it takes is one mistake to destroy a reputation that has been years in the making.

Nowhere has this been more evident in the past week than surrounding the Olympic games in Rio. We have seen several well-known names face backlash for a variety of offenses including, Gabby Douglas not putting her hand over her heart during the United States’ national anthem, Ryan Lochte getting into hot water over his suspicious account of being robbed and Ellen DeGeneres sparking controversy with what some deem a racist meme involving Usain Bolt.

While the severity of each case and the public’s reaction has been mixed, there is no denying the threat of long-lasting effects to the individual’s brand, if not handled quickly and appropriately. In the digital era where a small misstep becomes front-page news within a matter of minutes, it is the brand’s response that will ultimately determine their future success. While Gabby and Ellen both chose to address their respective situations head-on via a social media response, Ryan Lochte chose to double down on his lie, even in the face of new evidence to the contrary.

So, what can brands learn from these recent examples to prevent landing themselves in a similar situation? We think this Forbes article offers some great tips for reputation and crisis management in the digital world.

It is never too early to think through a crisis management strategy to prevent potential crises before they arise and adequately respond to those that break through to the surface. For more information, check out Affect’s Top Tips for Crisis Management or reach out to our team to see how we can help.

Image(s) used under license from Shutterstock.com

Katie Vroom

Katie is a Senior Account Director at Affect with over 10 years of public relations experience. Her expertise includes the oversight and execution of strategic PR efforts for clients across a variety of industries including security, healthcare, financial services / fintech, transportation & logistics, IT and more. Katie is a media relations enthusiast who loves finding new ways to introduce her clients to relevant reporters and publications, increasing their share of voice and developing mutually beneficial relationships with reporters. As a Senior Account Director, she is responsible for setting PR strategy to help clients meet their business objectives and providing strategic counsel to ensure PR initiatives deliver consistent ROI. Prior to joining Affect, she worked at Brainerd Communicators in NYC, where she led PR activities for a professional services firm spanning multiple industries.