Brand.com
December 29, 2013 | 5117 Views

Three Big Branding Disasters of 2013

With another big year coming to a close, it’s time to look at some of the biggest brand and business disasters over the past 12 months. We’ve also discussed some of the worst personal branding disasters of the year, highlighting such names as Paula Deen and LuluLemon.

Now, it’s time to look back on the year and see where some businesses and well known brands went wrong.

HealthCare.gov

There were so many problems with everything relating to the launch of the new Obamacare Web site and insurance plans that it’s tough to pick just one area. From the Web site going down all of the time and never being able to handle more than 500 visitors at once to individuals losing their insurance and having to pay more than ever.

This was simply a disaster across the board. The HealthCare.gov ordeal was such a disaster that it even spilled over to the stock photo girl used on the main page of the site, who was then verbally abused and attacked… just for appearing on the site!

Let’s hope 2014 is a better year for HealthCare.gov. It couldn’t get much worse!

Samsung Complaints Go Viral

When a Samsung customer created a video about their Galaxy smart phone setting on fire, then posted it on the internet, it got a lot of attention.

In fact, it got so much attention that Samsung thought it would be best to try and fix the situation by offering the customer a free replacement phone but attached a bunch of legal documents and agreements into the deal as well.

The result? A new video being posted from the customer outing Samsung for their “business tactics” and trying to hush the situation. The second video outing Samsung and their legal documents got even more views on YouTube than the initial video. Bad crisis management from Samsung.

Getty Images & Agence France-Presse

When it comes to taking photos on your cell phone, it’s as simple as click of a button. When you start talking about ownership of these images and start to get attorneys and copyright usage involved, then it becomes a much bigger issue.

Agence France-Presse and Getty Images are two of the largest and most well known companies for when it comes to getting stock photos and high-quality images. Unfortunately for both agencies, some of the images used by their service were actually from a user on Twitter and they ended up having to pay over a million dollars in damages to the original photographer!

The million-dollar fine wasn’t a huge deal… it was the bad media and publicity brought to the company that was more harmful than anything else.

Contact a Brand.com expert today to start launching news directly to the media.

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41 comments
TarekOsman
TarekOsman

When you're trying to launch something as big as a public option for healthcare, there are going to be setbacks and problems.  I still applaud this administration for getting the bill passed.  We'll figure out the rest eventually.

PJSweens1
PJSweens1

Healthcare.gov is clearly the biggest disaster for 2013

CoryAdams
CoryAdams

As long as the brands respond properly they can use these disasters as opportunities to build trust rather then continue to lose it.

SEB56
SEB56

Healthcare.gov - talk about a global branding nightmare.  The brand under scrutiny?  "The United States of America".

albrechtac
albrechtac

Just goes to show that large companies, even the US government, need to prioritize brand management in the new year. 

DJPC52988
DJPC52988

These examples just go to show the importance of online brand management. How quickly these mishaps can go viral can easily tarnish one's online presence very quickly. 

Derek Saybolt
Derek Saybolt

Samsung handled the flammable phone situation very poorly.  The rumor that they paid Apple a 1 billion dollar fine in nickels did not help either.

a.jones
a.jones

Whoops, Getty/Agence France-Presse.  Totally should have known better...

Tim Boyd
Tim Boyd

Expect some big changes coming down the pike in 2014 for how companies manage, monitor and control their online reputation!

N Mellor
N Mellor

Wow it's incredible how many nightmares could have been fixed with simple solutions...

Brian Newmark Brand Management -guru
Brian Newmark Brand Management -guru

Without going political, I think Obamacare is the biggest PR nightmare of the past 5 years.  I do believe that one day the system will be effective and beneficial, but that is not any time soon.

Cliff S
Cliff S

Don't let this be you!!

DJHalo1212
DJHalo1212

No point in hiding any information because it will only dig a company deeper in a hole. Just face up to the issues via the proper avenues.

alxlynn90
alxlynn90

By hiding the problem, companies typically just dig themselves further into the hole.

Sophie Tran
Sophie Tran

What a nightmare! Who would ever imagine that some extremely basic things (such as site crashes) could spark such aggressive, hostile complaints from users. Having a backup plan or anticipated social media activities could have helped reduce the flare-up of upset users. 

Harrison Pew
Harrison Pew

All big businesses need to have a crisis management plan in place.  It is better to be proactive, rather than reactive.

ishark33
ishark33

Big business sometimes forgets who funds their "big business". Viral video can be a killer!

skang
skang

A shame these preventable issues still occur in the advanced digital age.  

ZacLieksMusic
ZacLieksMusic

ooph, Healthcare.gov still stings. As a younger American who was pretty excited for the whole idea it's hard to look at all the ways it fell flat on its face. Proper planning and Brand management would have gone a long way. 

ert1217
ert1217

Samsung did nothing but make their situation much worse by trying to hide the problem.

VeazeyJ
VeazeyJ

I totally remember the Samsung one, they really pour gasoline over their flames when that happened. 

Jules Pileggi
Jules Pileggi

I would have to say that I think the Samsung disaster is the worst out of these 3, just because not only did they make a manufacturing mistake the first time around, but their attempt at a coverup backfired so much. 

AdamFelch
AdamFelch

So with that in mind, prepare to be pro active in 2014!

Mike Griff
Mike Griff

Every brand is one youtube video away from a major crisis.

RonGamble
RonGamble

When Samsung phones started catching on fire, I was laughing hysterically. 

KyleMcGrath
KyleMcGrath

Would you rather be prepared for something or have to deal with it after the fact. Brands should be proactive not reactive.

ChrisOndik
ChrisOndik

Great reminder of why it is important to always be careful about how you address problems on the internet.

jglauser
jglauser

Great lessons on what not to do when it comes to online brand management! 

omar mims011
omar mims011

Just goes to show that preparedness can be the "end all, be all" for any entity. A majority of the complications that Healthcare.gov encountered were avoidable..

bobbyhughesjr
bobbyhughesjr

it just goes to show you how big of an impact branding disasters can really have like with the healthcare site

JustinDeLisi
JustinDeLisi

One negative public event is all it takes to sink a Brand

samantha215
samantha215

You can never be too prepare when it comes to your business and your brand. Taking the steps to prepare for a disaster are the best way to stay ahead of the game

jasonraser5
jasonraser5

This Samsung story is ridiculous.  I wonder who took the blame at the end of the day on that one!

briiiiittyyy
briiiiittyyy

I still can't believe all that nonsense happened with healthcare.gov. They should've been more prepared.

JRHalloran
JRHalloran

I'm still surprised Getty Images and Agence France-Presse stole images. I mean, they're supposed to be the role models as internationally accredited services. I guess it just goes to show you that even the global "giants" can be found in the wrong sometimes.

stonerkt
stonerkt

Paula Dean took a huge hit this year. It's amazing how fast a reputation and Brand can be affected by one negative public event.

sfcooper25
sfcooper25

Companies have to deal with unhappy customers all of the time. The ones that have a plan in place to deal with negative reviews and unhappy customers are the ones that come out on top. Always have a crisis management plan in place. Start protecting now so you do not have to when a problem arises.  

annmjohnson
annmjohnson

These are instances where an online reputation management team would have been a good idea.  Why leave your reputation to people who might not have all the education and answers.

TravisKing1
TravisKing1

Things get dangerous once they go viral. 

Michael Gregory Dectis
Michael Gregory Dectis

Many companies made some negative comments and performed in an unethical way. Its great at the end of 2013 to remember companies who made the biggest branding disasters so we can all learn from them in 2014. This is a list no provider wants to be on.

jgriffpsu
jgriffpsu

It only takes a few moments to ruin what you work so hard to build.  Be careful. 

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