Scandals do little damage to Renault and JJB

BRAND INDEX<br /><strong>STEPHAN SHAKESPEARE</strong><br /><br />WE&rsquo;VE discussed before the stability of brands: British Airways is a great example of those that have suffered all sorts of media squalls and yet always return to their same high BrandIndex score. <br /><br />They are in the overwhelming majority: it&rsquo;s one of the key reasons to invest heavily in brand-building, that it provides a cushion of goodwill for the time when something bad happens. <br /><br /><strong>NOT ALL BRANDS BOUNCE BACK</strong><br />Some don&rsquo;t bounce back: a little while ago we looked at how most of the banking brands had almost fully recovered, but not RBS or NatWest. So what has been the immediate effect of two recent scandals, the alleged price-fixing by a number of sports companies, and race-fixing by Renault F1? <br /><br />One can hardly imagine that the Renault image can remain untouched: it&rsquo;s true of course that the bad behaviour of a sports team, and the qualities of a family car, are hardly linked. <br /><br />But then again Renault sponsors its team precisely to build its brand, to give it a sexier edge, and so one might think that cheating and endangering human life would have a negative effect. <br /><br />But the first graph shows that while buzz took a small hit &ndash; people did notice the news &ndash; the car brand wasn&rsquo;t hurt at all.<br /><br /><strong>BUZZ AFFECTED BY SCANDAL</strong><br />So what about JJB? Price-fixing allegations surely go to the heart of the brand &ndash; after all, that could be seen as a direct attack on the very essence of the customer relationship. <br /><br />But Graph two shows that again, while the story was noticed, evidenced by a nine point dip in &ldquo;buzz&rdquo;, the index score, which represents broader brand qualities, hardly moved. This looks like good news for marketeers: it takes a lot to do long-term harm.<br /><br />Stephan Shakespeare is co-founder and chief innovation officer of polling firm YouGov