3 Ways Your Brand Can Distance Itself from a Team, Athlete or Sport in Crisis

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By Gerard Braud

Brands live and die by sales. Sales associated with a star athlete or team are considered golden by many brands. But what happens in a crisis? What happens when the team loses? What happens when the player is disgraced?

The NFL crisis and their failed crisis management and crisis communications should give every brand a reason to pause and evaluate your association with a team, coach or athlete.

For athletic brands, association with a team, sport or athlete is a must. For many consumer brands or service industry brands however, I have strongly advised my clients to keep their distance. I see no reason for a bank or hospital, for example, to take that leap.

Yes, a winning team wins you a degree of favor. But a losing team is a bad association. There is nothing worse than seeing your logo behind an angry coach after a bad loss. Learn from Radisson Hotels. They quickly realized their logo didn’t need to be behind the owner, coach and players of the Minnesota Vikings as the issues surrounding Adrian Peterson went from being a sideline issue to being in the spotlight.

Be a control freak. You can control paid advertising. You cannot control guilt by association in a crisis. Consult an advertising expert and research not only the benefits you may gain in good times, but also the damage you may sustain to your brand’s reputation and revenue during a crisis.

1) If you do allow your brand to sponsor a team, have a clause that allows you to remove your logo from the post-game interview backdrop when the team loses.

2) Make sure your logo never shows when there is a scandal.

3) Send a marketing or communications employee to travel with the team to set up a backdrop with your logo for good news and a backdrop without your logo when the news is bad.

Don’t let someone else’s crisis and their failed crisis management affect your brand, your reputation and your revenue.

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