3 Brands that Recovered their Reputations after Disasters

In the course of a business operation, there are many small hills to traverse and a heap of problems to solve. But, when facing mountains, see how these three companies worked to redeem their reputations after a large setback.


burberry logo

Burberry Limited was established in 1856 by Thomas Burberry as a luxury fashion company. It gained popularity for its trench coats that covered the backs of countless people during World War l. But it is probably best known for its black, tan, and red tartan pattern that lines every item of its clothing.

Unfortunately, in the 1970s, the brand gained some unwanted attention that hurt its reputation when hooligans began to use a comparable pattern for counterfeit “gang wear.” As a result, Burberry brand reputation began to suffer when consumers no longer perceived it as exclusive, luxurious, or high-end.

In the 2000s, however, Burberry rehabilitated its brand image as a high-end fashion company through celebrity endorsements such as Kate Moss and Emma Watson. It remains one of the most well-known high-end fashion brands to this day.


bp logo

Turn the clock back to April 20, 2010. After an oil well integrity failure, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig working for BP oil company leaked nearly 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, contaminating thousands of miles of the shoreline and creating an environmental disaster.

According to its website, immediately after the disaster, BP worked relentlessly to “restore its brand image” while “[taking] responsibility” for the lives, the environment, and the economy that was affected by this accident.

Recovering their reputation

After the worst oil spill in U.S. history, the company was charged with numerous business crimes and received a multitude of business restrictions due to their “lack of business integrity.” In order to make reparations and expunge their destructive past, the company claims it spent $14 billion and 70 million personnel hours in clean-up activities.

Did the public forgive them?

The brand may have survived the catastrophe, but it is unknown if it will ever return to its pre-spill reputation. However, some critics claim this is simply irrelevant. Just as today’s generation doesn’t know much about the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, the BP incident may soon be forgotten as well. The fact remains that, at the end of the day, fuel remains a driver’s necessity and it is not likely that a desperate consumer will pass a BP station, “because they caused that huge spill.”


tylenol logo

If a brand ever needed to re-establish its credibility and trust from the public, it’s Tylenol. In 1982, a string of seven deaths occurred in the Chicago area within a short period of time. In a bizarre set of circumstances, investigators discovered the common link among them was Extra Strength Tylenol. Extensive investigation revealed that the capsules were laced with potassium cyanide. The police never identified a perpetrator and the case remains unsolved. Not surprisingly, Tylenol’s market share dropped from 37% to 7% that year.

How did the makers of Tylenol react?

Johnson and Johnson immediately warned consumers and conducted a product recall. Unfortunately, they had to remove 31 million bottles of Tylenol capsules from the shelves, resulting in a $100 million loss. They also ceased advertising the product, pending further investigation.

Was their reputation salvaged?

Johnson and Johnson knew they were in for some trouble after this (literally) poisonous disaster. The public lost trust in the company and therefore, was not willing to buy Tylenol products. In response, Johnson and Johnson developed a re-launch campaign that included customer incentives and presentations to the medical community to help reinstate consumer and distributor confidence. As a part of this campaign, they also implemented triple-seal tamper resistant packaging. Johnson and Johnson was showing their customers that they took this problem seriously and that they were taking every precaution to prevent this from occurring in the future.

After this crisis occurred, the Tylenol brand had to dig its way out of a very deep hole. With creative rebranding and a strong public relations effort to restore brand trust, Johnson and Johnson restored the Tylenol brand image as a respected pain medication.