Years ago every B-school marketing class had to read and analyze case studies of companies and brands that were either wildly successful or experienced bone chilling failures. With the emphasis these days on “group projects” there isn’t much time in the classroom to expose today’s students to legendary stories of marketing, other than assigning a few paragraphs to read or discussing the occasional sidebar in their texts. Those ignored stories are exactly what makes Karen Post’s Brand Turnaround: How Brands Gone Bad Returned to Glory so fascinating and readable.
Delving deep into 75 case studies, Post permits the reader to live vicariously, or suffer along with, the individuals and companies who have crashed and burned and then risen like phoenixes to succeed another day. It is difficult to fall asleep while reading this book, in part because the disasters described are every marketer’s nightmare, and also because there’s a burning need to keep read to see what happened next.
Many have heard the horror stories about Martha Stewart, Michael Vick, and Robert Downey, Jr., but not how they managed to rebuild their lives and livelihoods. Post takes us through those very personal journeys, step by step, teaching us that “change” is the one constant element in every brand repair, and which direction the changes must take to be effective.
Post outlines seven “game changers” that make the difference between vanishing entirely from brand collapse or thriving in spite of it. She provides check lists and processes to strengthen market position and create a firewall against disasters. Most intriguing is her examination of various leadership styles of company directors at Abercrombie & Fitch, Starbucks, and Pirate’s Booty. The qualities that have made these people successful are not necessarily what one might expect. “Quirky” is the word that comes to mind, but as Post insists, they all have one characteristic in common — they are very human.
Brand Turnaround provides extensive, in-depth tools and tactics needed to recover from a brand meltdown. Even better, Post provides a roadmap of how to be prepared for disaster and perhaps even avert it before it happens. She provides a comprehensive, integrated approach that includes both traditional and newer online methods to use to rescue, repair and rejuvenate brands in crisis. This is essential reading for students — and teachers — of marketing, as well as anyone responsible for a personal or company brand.
How Brands Gone Bad Returned to Glory … and the Seven Game Changers That Made the Difference
McGraw Hill, 2012
224 pages, ISBN 978-0-07-177528-1, $28.00
Jeanette Friedman is a freelance author, writer, and editor who lives and works in Bergen County, NJ. She blogs at www.jeanettefriendman.com, or you can connect with her on LinkedIn.
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