Part one: Three brands suffering from identity crises

by: Mark Arnold

Today we begin a three-part series (posting Monday, Wednesday and Friday) looking at brands suffering from identity crises and what credit unions can learn from these situations. The first stop is JCPenney. This series was originally included as a feature-length article on iMedia. While this series may not feature any direct examples from the bank and credit union world, financial institutions face brand crises with equally deadly results as any other corporate entity. Studying the mishaps and shortcomings of brands outside the financial industry enhances our knowledge and helps prevent something like this from happening to your bank or credit union.

If you’re a fan of classic television shows from years past, you might remember more than a fair share ofthem featured, at some point, an amnesia plot twist. Gilligan from “Gilligan’s Island,” Samantha from “Bewitched,” and Tony from “I Dream of Jeannie” all suffered bouts of the mysterious, memory-wiping condition. Conveniently (especially for a 30-minute sitcom), the solution was usually a simple (if painful) knock on the head and all memory was instantly returned.

Corporate brands can also suffer a type of amnesia if those charged with protecting them are not vigilant. When brands forget factors like why they exist, who they are, and the nature of their competition, corporate amnesia could be just a bonk on the noggin away. The lessons we can learn by taking a closer look at the brand crises of three companies can serve as valuable takeaways for safeguarding our own corporate identities.

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