How Do Brands Survive a Crisis?

How does a brand bounce back from a crisis? As part of our ongoing series, we used E-Score Brand to evaluate the effects on brands that have recently been in the news.

Gucci Weathers a Storm

Gucci’s recent sweater design mishap may have raised a few eyebrows, but the luxury fashion giant has seen little pushback since. The fashion industry is known for taking risks which may account for the softer landing after the faux pas.

  • In Gucci’s case, there were little to no significant changes post-crisis in key measures like Appeal, Awareness, and Brand Consideration.
  • H&M, which recently experienced a similar crisis, is an example that Gucci can look to. Since the 2018 incident, H&M has seen a slight increase in Awareness with only small dips in Appeal, Trustworthy, and A Leader.
  • Consumer Comments reveal the nuances of how a crisis impacts public perception. In Gucci’s case, there is very little mention of their incident – another example of how E-Score Brand can assess public perception to determine the true scope of a crisis.

Admissions Scandal Hits University Reputations

On the other hand, universities, which must rely on stellar reputations to attract the best and brightest, can be far more susceptible to negative press.  We took a closer look at some of the institutions involved to see how public perception has impacted them since the scandal.

  • There has been a significant negative impact to the USC brand, as their Dislike score has risen from 26 to 40 and Appeal has dropped from 24 to 16. See table below for more of USC’s before and after scandal scores.
  • Of the schools measured, USC has the highest number of top-of-mind mentions for “Scandal, Cheating, Etc.” (18.9% of consumers) in Consumer Comments for the question: “What is the first thought that comes to mind when you see the name of this brand?” Harvard has the lowest at 1.3% followed by Yale (1.5%) then Stanford (2.5%).
  • Among the listed universities, the schools with the bigger High-Quality scores appear to have been impacted less. We will continue to monitor these schools to see if public perceptions regarding the scandal change over time.
  • E-Score Celebrity subscribers also have access to E-Score ratings of celebrities impacted by the scandal such as Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.

Boeing: Flying Into Headwinds

In the aviation industry, commercial airlines are typically the brands that take a hit in a crisis, but aircraft manufacturer Boeing has been making headlines with their handling of recent plane crashes. Our data shows Boeing has experienced some negative effects since news of the crisis broke, and public perception of the brand has been declining.

  • We measured Boeing’s public perception following the two most recent incidents in 2018 and again in 2019. While there was a negative impact after the first incident, the second accident and Boeing’s questionable handling of the PR has led to a sizable drop in Appeal and a spike in Dislike.
  • Another brand in the aviation industry that has experience with bad PR is United Airlines, which we covered following their 2017 crisis. Two years after the incident, United’s Appeal and Dislike scores are still worse than their pre-crisis numbers. Boeing will have to be careful to avoid a similar trajectory.
  • Despite the negative press, Boeing’s Brand Consideration has seen very little change. It is important to note that consumers generally don’t have a say on what plane they board but if public perception starts affecting which aircrafts airlines choose, it could give Boeing cause for concern.


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