Friday, October 07, 2005

More Bears

Read the comment to my previous post from Farout Man, below. You’ll understand that there is a commitment attached to a brand like Allstate.
Farout Man refers to an article on the Houston Chronicle Web site – it’s titled “State takes aim at Allstate over Rita claims,” posted today at 1.40PM. (Plug the url into your browser to read it.) The Texas Attorney General has filed a restraining order against Allstate’s denial of claims by policyholders unable to return to their homes because of Hurricane Rita-related damage.

In the paper’s Business Section this morning, a preceding article on page D3 pointed out that Allstate was “not quick with a check.” In it, reporter Purva Patel gave a reasonably balanced view of the claims situation. (Patel also authored the online news item this afternoon.)

Farout Man says, “Allstate can fly as many banners in parking lots as they want, but if they choose not to back up their words with actions, it won't mean a thing.”

He’s right – “You’re in Good Hands” is one of the brand’s commitments. No matter how many posters, newspaper ads, or TV commercials Allstate deploys, the brand will suffer damage if the company doesn’t keep its promises. How much brand damage will Allstate suffer? How much will the Red Cross brand sustain because of another article in today’s paper about the organization’s apparent failure to help a small town?

I think Allstate, among others, is too busy to measure this. My suspicion is that the brand itself will not sustain damage; but like the economic saying goes, “Bad money drives out good.” I’ll watch the activity around this subject and see what happens. Many thanks to Farout Man for making the extra point.

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