Luxury fashion label Hugo Boss made headlines earlier this month when comedian Joe Lycett legally changed his name to… Hugo Boss.
The move was in reaction to a small independent brewery contacting his consumer rights show Got Your Back to complain that they’d been forced to spend thousands in legal fees and rebranding from Boss Brewery when the fashion brand sent a cease-and-desist letter regarding their name.
YouGov Brand Index data shows that after Joe Lycett announced his name change on Twitter on 1 March, Buzz scores (a net measure of whether consumers have heard anything positive or negative about the brand in the last fortnight) dropped 16 points from 0.8 to minus 16.8 — a decrease that demonstrates the impact social media can have on a brand.
Recent YouGov data shows that a quarter of Brits think social media influences big companies to do the right thing for customers, employees and wider society.
Additionally, Hugo Boss’ Impression score (whether someone has a positive or negative impression of a brand) dropped 14.4 points and their Reputation score (whether someone is proud of embarrassed to work for a brand) dropped 10.5 points. Although these are considerable decreases, these two metrics have since either fully or partly recovered to their previous scores.
In general eight in 10 Brits feel bad for small businesses being driven out by online companies and this is also the case for consumers who tend to buy from Hugo Boss (84 per cent).
However, only three in 10 regular Hugo Boss customers buy exclusively from brands which echo their own ethics and values, and seven in 10 say it’s hard to keep track of large companies that have been caught in scandals, suggesting Hugo Boss’ customer base shouldn’t be badly or permanently affected by the bad press.
This is backed up further by Hugo Boss’ Consideration scores (whether someone would consider purchasing from the brand in future) which have since increased 2.1 points.
While this story is undoubtedly bad news and could potentially be off-putting to customers in the short term, the Hugo Boss brand probably won’t be impacted by “Hugo Boss” the comedian in the long run.
Stephan Shakespeare is chief executive at YouGov
Main image: Getty