Brand Value and Public Perception

We won’t hide from the fact that we were grown in an Akron area laboratory. We started in Ohio and we’re proud to call this little state home. And because of some recent events in the sports world, we find it not-so-easy to write about a topic that has some emotional ties to it.

We’re talking about the decision LeBron James made to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and sign with the Miami Heat… what else?! Believe it or not, this translates directly into branding.

Can a beloved sports icon’s reputation and brand survive the chaos that has been created recently? If you watched the ESPN show called “The Decision,” you’ll understand why many believe the actions he took will affect his perceived brand value.

In case you’re wondering, we’re not talking about the decision to leave Cleveland. We’re referencing the way it was presented to the public. Many believe it was handled poorly and irresponsibly.

Take this excerpt from Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times:

You want to leave this place where you are so beloved, fine. Leave it like a man. Issue a news release announcing your decision and thanking Cleveland for its support. Hold a local news conference with the Cleveland media to reiterate those thanks. Then, and only then, do you appear on a national ESPN show to talk about your decision.

This is a prime example of how fragile brands can be, and how you can upset the balance of great PR and marketing with poor decision making. Any brand, even your own personal brand, can be affected by bad public relations.