Integrity, equity and serendipity

Last year two brand names came under fire, with questions over their integrity.

Last year two brand names came under fire, with questions over their integrity. The first was Coca Cola when Ronaldo called them out when interviewed for the EUROs. Despite a supposed drop in share price for Coke immediately post the incident, the shares remain resilient, whilst brand Ronaldo was boosted (despite him previously being sponsored by Coke) and FIFA had a successful tournament.

Though why an organisation that is meant to represent a sport that is all about athletic prowess should choose as it sponsors a sugary water and an alcoholic beverage as its primary sponsors seems to go unnoticed. Even England fared well, although I think there is a case to put penalty taking on the schools’ curriculum…

The second is the eponymous Brewdog, who built their reputation on their ‘punk’ attitude and by challenging the status quo. For a business that has grown from zero to a brand that has a value that has many zeros after it, in the space of under 15 years, it is inevitable that some eggs will be broken. It’s sad that those eggs were the people that helped make it all happen. There is much talk about brand purpose these days and the thing is, whilst it is undeniable that Brewdog has achieved its aim to help revolutionise the beer industry and build a passionate fan base, I don’t recall the Punk Rock era being all about loving your fellow human being and saving our planet – carnage and destruction comes more to mind. It could be said that Brewdog has always been true to its brand attitude of being rebellious and challenging the norm, with a wry smile on its face. The resultant publicity from its ‘outing’ by ex-staff appears to have had little impact on its sales and the brewer has retained its high Brand Index rating. Although I cannot see Greta Thunberg being featured holding a can of Punk IPA in the near future.

So, what are we to deduce from all this, a soft drinks brand that originally used ‘interesting’ ingredients to pep up its consumers (note the name…) and build phenomenal growth, and is now simply a flavoured water brand, and a alcoholic drinks brand that has built its reputation of being the ‘bad boys’ of brewing and is being questioned over its ethical claims.

Brands need to firstly to ensure that they are true to their brand promise before jumping on the purpose bandwagon, and ensure they don’t become a greenwash cliché.