A brand marriage made in heaven? Reputational risks in corporate partnerships


In this digital age of social media and 24/7 rolling news, the need for a company to manage and maintain a positive image has never been more important. Today’s increasingly competitive commercial landscape can make correctly managing a reputation vital to commercial success. However, getting it right can be a tough challenge. Managing the reputation of a brand is difficult enough, but what happens when a company decides to associate their brand with another? 


Companies of all kinds invest large sums of money in brand associations, sponsorship deals, entertainment partnerships and community-based partnerships. Yet how often do companies consider the potential for brand bed-fellows to inflict damage on their own enterprises? Any sponsorship deal obliges a company to relinquish a degree of control over its reputation. Sponsorship in itself is a risk – any relationship can break down – so a deal must be a calculated risk. 


Warren Buffett famously said that a reputation takes years to build but can be ruined in five minutes. In 2011 five seconds might well be more accurate. Risks take many guises. Examining how an organisation deals with its corporate relationships could be a preventative exercise that helps maximise the many benefits to both parties, and also saves time and – potentially – a great deal of money.


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