Will the Martha Stewart Brand Endure a Guilty Verdict?

Originally published in the Austin Business Journal, March 8, 2004.

“In light of Martha Stewart’s guilty verdicts, what can a company do to protect its branding and reputation?”

Martha Stewart is a case history from which few companies can draw direct parallels, as only a handful of brands are built so completely upon the personal reputation, expertise and personality of a single individual. But there is a lesson in this for all marketers:

Tarnished brands are resilient, IF the quality of the product is pleasing to consumers. Product satisfaction will gloss over a variety of brand ills.

My personal prediction is that the Martha Stewart brand will survive. Why? Because of the reservoir of goodwill built up over the years by a marketer that has been smart about providing products that fit the tastes and expectations of customers.

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