I always believed that brand suicide was essentially the result of some major foot-in-mouth event, or a product fail of epic proportions. Moreover, it was not so much the failure itself, but rather the result of not being able to manage and recover from that failure. There’s a right way and a wrong way to dig your brand out of a hole.
But this big picture stuff isn’t the only way brands die. When it comes down to it brands die at a micro level. Brand suicide occurs whenever an individual has ‘had it’ with a company, be that the result of shoddy treatment, or disappointment with products and services.
Normally when this happens to me I tell people about it, in the strongest possible terms. That used to be a relatively limited group of people, but nowadays I can (and do) communicate my annoyance / misery on Twitter, which gives any disgruntled customer a lot more reach. And as such the world is a scarier place for brands than ever before.
The vast social media echo chamber means that brands are now at real danger from lots of small events, rather than one big one. We are living in an age where brands die by 1,000 cuts, rather than one almighty chop. The rise in popularity of social / user-generated platforms like Facebook, Digg, Twitter, YouTube and Wikipedia means that brands are more exposed than ever.
So how can brands go about killing themselves slowly?