If you follow sports or even watch the news for that matter, you have probably had the chance to see the elbow Metta World Peace (Ron Artest) threw on Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Hraden. If you haven’t seen it, here it is:
“Metta World Peace” is even trending on Google as of this morning:
Mr. World Peace even has a section on his Wikipedia page dedicated solely to his disciplinary and legal issues throughout the years. The point here is that even after Ron Artest “re-branded” to Metta World Peace in September of 2011, the Los Angeles Lakers forward still seems to play with little to no class on the basketball court.
What can we as marketers learn from Metta World Peace’s actions when it comes to reputation and brand management? Below are 3 tips that will help you maintain positive brand awareness and a clean reputation both on and offline.
Don’t Keep Repeating the Same Mistakes
No matter what type of business you are in, if negative behaviors by your company have been brought to light in the past, correct your mistakes, don’t repeat them. In 2003, Ron Artest was suspended 3 games by the NBA for destroying a TV camera at Madison Square Garden. In the same season, he was suspended another 4 games for a confrontation with another NBA coach. Then came 2004 and the infamous Pacers/Pistons brawl where Artest was the center of altercations between fans and players. The disciplinary and legal issues go on and on for Mr. Artest/World Peace.
My point here is that as a company, you will never earn or maintain a positive reputation unless you are willing to fix what is causing your issues. If you run a restaurant and your customers are constantly complaining about the temperature of the steak, it might be time to look for a new cook.
Re-Branding Doesn’t Solve All of Your Issues
Similar to my first point, re-branding will not serve as the end all be all unless you are making positive changes within your company or organization. I tweeted this last night:
— Craig Kilgore (@ckilgs) April 23, 2012
While Metta World Peace’s reasoning for the name change/re-brand probably wasn’t to indicate cleaner on court play, my second point is that simply re-branding your products/services does not mean you will avoid negativity carried over from your previous brand. For your own peace of mind, World Peace’s reasoning for the name change according to his court hearing was that:
changing my name was meant to inspire and bring youth together all around the world
Again, if you have issues that are leading to negative brand awareness or a less than pleasant online or offline reputation, don’t count on re-branding to save you.
Use Common Sense
The last point that I want to make is that all of this could have been avoided with some good old common sense. We see it all too often, whether it’s World Peace elbowing his opponents or KFC encouraging you to stock up on fried chicken during an earthquake, the constant here is the lack of common sense. Being active in sports for my entire life, I understand how easy it is to get caught up in the moment and let your temper get the best of you. Being a digital marketer at Mainstreethost, I realize that some of the biggest marketing opportunities arise in correspondence with current events or world news. At the end of the day, you are better off taking a couple of extra seconds to think about the damage your actions can potentially cause. Use common sense.
If you are responsible for your company’s brand awareness or reputation management, don’t continuously make the same mistakes, use common sense and realize that re-branding is not the solution to all of your problems. From a personal standpoint, learn from World Peace’s blatant inability to learn from mistakes when going about your everyday routines (don’t elbow people in the face and expect it to just blow over).
What are some of your favorite brand disaster stories?