Brands in the News, Defensive Strategy

A Bad Day for the Boy Scouts

21 Oct 2013  

The rise of digital media is only making it harder to build a great brand.

The problem is that a single person can do something inappropriate that damages an enormous brand. This has always been an issue, of course, but digital technology has increased the risk because information can now travel faster and farther than ever before.

This week the Boy Scouts are seeing exactly how big a problem this can be. Recently Glenn Taylor and Dave Hall, two Boy Scout leaders, destroyed an ancient rock formation in Utah’s Goblin Valley and filmed the event. The clip ended up on You Tube. It shows them gleefully knocking over the formation.

You can watch it here:

More than 200,000 people have watched the video so far.

This hurts the Boy Scout brand in two ways. First, the leaders were clearly damaging a natural treasure. This does not reflect well on the Scouts.

Second, and perhaps worse, the leaders were acting like children. They were singing, dancing and laughing. They did not seem at all like serious individuals committed to developing young people.

Anyone who saw the video would have to think twice before sending their child off on a Boy Scout expedition.

Last week the Boy Scouts of America issued a statement condemning the act. Today the Boy Scouts announced that they had removed Taylor and Hall from their posts. Both moves make sense but won’t undo the damage.

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This week I’m in Chicago teaching my marketing strategy course. I’m also teaching in the Kellogg Executive Development Program and a corporate program.

In early November I’m off to India to speak at the Brand Conclave, an event in Kolkata. You can read more about the event here:  It should be quite an adventure.

1 Response

  1. Polly MacIsaac says:

    So true and particularly damaging when your brand is your people and the credibility and reputation of your people. All ships rise and all ships fall…

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