The power of association – who or what the public associates your organization with — plays an increasingly large role in your organization’s brand reputation, especially in today’s social media-driven environment. More importantly, it directly affects the success of an organization, which is why so many people spend so much valuable time focusing on relationships.
Just as positive associations with campaigns such as helping animals or the underprivileged, can bolster an organization’s reputation, an unexpected negative connotation can suddenly steer customers and clients away.
Case in point is retailer Nordstrom – target of a national boycott earlier this year because they sold Ivanka Trump products. The retailer eventually dropped the product line because the Trump name became too controversial after her father became President.
Here are three tips to keep in mind when associating with another organization, cause, or public figure:
1. Remember that associations have a long shelf life
2. Be clear in your objective – once formed in the public’s mind, an association can be hard to break
- Define your goals from the association so they align with your business objective and brand promise
3. Gather information
- Learn all that you can about the past, present and predicted future of the group or entity you are affiliating with. Conduct a thorough SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) to minimize the chances of overlooking a potential red flag