How the sexism row hurt Sky’s brand

Stephan Shakespeare
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FOLLOWING last week’s sexism scandal that saw Andy Gray and Richard Keys leave Sky Sports we’ve taken a look at how the controversy has impacted on perceptions of their former employer’s brand. On the Friday before the Wolves versus Liverpool match Sky Sports had a buzz score of -3.2.

The initial story barely impacted on that with a drop to -5.6 on Monday but as the story gathered pace so did the decline in the Sky Sports buzz score and by Thursday it was as low as -47.

The parent brand was also impacted with Sky dropping from -1 to -17. Both have started the recovery already with a pick-up at the end of last week continuing on Monday to see Sky Sports return to -30 and Sky to -8.

Buzz tends to be a leader of general perceptions and Sky will hope that realising it had a problem and acting fast will mitigate the damage to its brand.

The recovery in the buzz scores is positive news on that front as is the fact that despite the high levels of awareness of the bad publicity it had a very limited impact on overall perceptions and the decline was reversed before it had had time to gather pace.

Sky Sports did drop on the overall index but much less dramatically, from +3 to -10 and is now back at -5 and Sky continued to fluctuate either side of the +5 line.

Spontaneous TellYouGov comments reveal how tricky a problem this was for Sky. There was a clear split between those that believed the Grey/Keys comments were disgraceful and those who thought there had been an over-reaction.

The next couple of weeks will be important for Sky, but early indications are that this was an effective piece of crisis management.

Stephan Shakespeare is founder and chief executive of YouGov.