Thursday, 7 July 2011

Brand survival

Well - on the news is the fact that News of the World is closing down. A remarkable action to try and put right some wrongs. It is/was 168 years old, and apparently the most read English language newspaper. But now it's a damaged brand.

On You & Yours this morning a contributor (sadly I missed his name and can't 'listen again') gave good advice for brands facing a crisis, "act transparently, clearly, honestly and quickly." News of the World is part of a brand architecture where the damaged reputation of one part can seriously affect the rest. NewsCorp has acted to attempt to save their brand, and possibly News International. They have certainly acted quickly. With famous brands pulling out from advertising in the paper, public opinion was never going to come back. And I don't think James Murdoch's statement really captures the horror everyone else is feeling, "The good things the News of the World does, however, have been sullied by behaviour that was wrong. Indeed, if recent allegations are true, it was inhuman and has no place in our Company."

There's a thought that it's a political move to demonstrate they are taking this really seriously (well I should think so!) and therefore still a contender in the BSkyB deal. Really?

But I think with words flying round like "toxic" and people saying, "I think the country after Sunday will be a better place," there doesn't seem any place to hide. Zac Goldsmith has just described it as, "a sinister and bad organisation" with, "widespread corruption and criminality."

To say the discussion will run and run is rather an understatement - but I'm pretty sure it will be on the GCSE History syllabus in 20 years. And I'm not sure transparency, clarity or honesty will feature highly in the analysis.

ps I'm not going to put in a link to the News of the World website.