Lessons from Michael Vick on how to rebuild a brand image.
By Luke Sklar and Amber Hudson
Michael Vick: unbelievably talented quarterback, promoter of dog fights, doer of hard time. Once regaled as a role model he swiftly turned pariah for operating a major dog fighting ring. Nike and Coke 86’d Vick and the man couldn’t get an endorsement deal once the “ex” was added to his “con” status.
Enter Unequal Technologies, unknown makers of impact-absorbing sports equipment. Vick called them up to be their spokesman simply because he truly believed in the brand: he used the equipment and it worked. Unequal, however, was wringing their hands with angst. But Vick won them over.
And it worked. Business tripled for Unequal, and there was a much-need positive media explosion for Vick. The endorsement was the next step in rebuilding his image. It started with Vick offering a convincing apology for his hound hostility and for embarrassing the NFL and his team mates. He owned up to his mistakes, did his time, and then showed on the field what a kick ass quarterback he really was. Compare this to Tiger Woods, whose re-entry into golf after his stripper-fest was insincere and hardly likeable. On top of that, dude clearly left his performance in the bedroom as he has failed to deliver the goods on the green.
Okay, the marketing lessons from Vick on how to rebuild a brand gone wrong:
- Give a sincere and specific apology, but don’t grovel. Tell people what you can learn from making a mistake. Then get down to the business of offering the best product you can.
- Remind people why they loved you in the first place. Vick delivers: he’s exciting, he’s a better player than ever, and he’s a business-building draw. Let’s move on.
- Hook up with others that can help fill the cracks in your cred.
- And lastly, just give it a bit of time. Something else will piss your fans off and trust me, they’ll forget why they were mad at you in the first place.
In summary, memories are short. Deliver amazing performance and quit talking!
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