Winnie the Pooh on Rebuilding Brands


Yes, I find brand lessons in everything, including Winnie the Pooh.

Recently, I had a lot of fun rediscovering the charm of this cuddly bear character with my two-year old daughter.

We watched The Wishing Bear from The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh series. In this particular episode, Pooh thinks he has wished Christopher Robin’s wishing star out of the sky. Feeling terrible about losing the star and afraid of disappointing Christopher Robin, he dresses up like a star.

Just before Pooh is catapulted into the night sky by a tree branch, with Tigger’s help, a distressed Piglet asks Pooh: “Oh Pooh, why must you go so very up?”

“Because otherwise I’ll let Christopher Robin down,” replied Pooh.

The words that caught my attention were “so very up.”

Isn’t that the truth? When a brand disappoints and has sunk to a low point, much like a Toyota or a Tiger Woods, the only way back is to aim high and go above and beyond to rebuild trust.

That means doing more, a lot more. You have to go “so very up” to fight negative perceptions and restore confidence and trust.

In the future, Toyota must do a lot more to reinforce that their name is indeed synonymous with quality. Based on all we know from the past, this is not a low quality, dangerous brand. Toyota has always led in the quality and reliability category.

But perception is everything. And so now Toyota must aim even higher. Exceeding expectations is tough enough. Exceeding the exceed expectations measure is even tougher.

Tiger Woods, for his part, must do a lot more to demonstrate that he’s worthy of respect. His code of conduct must be pristine, and he must, in my view at least, be even more accessible and transparent than ever before. If he wants people to believe in him again, then he must show them the real Tiger Woods and not just the brand or persona in front of Tiger Woods.

It’s not business as usual for brands that need to recover and rebuild from a crisis. When you’ve let consumers and fans down, “so very up” is your new destination point.

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