I really liked Ellen. I truly thought she was funny and kind and brave. Little did I or the world know that she was sometimes the queen of ‘not-so-nice’. As a consumer, I was disappointed. But as a marketer, I’m fascinated by what’s happening to one of the most powerful brands in America as her story unfolds.
Not An Overnight Thing
The most fascinating part of the abuse and racism allegations are that they don’t transpire overnight. An HR thing totally becomes a marketing brand reputation management thing. If I sold anything related to HR services, I would make Ellen’s case my leading argument while selling to corporations right now. Look at how her multi-Billion-Dollar brand is going to be losing sponsors and audiences. But the internal unrest was there for years. Proper review structures and true transparency could have prevented this branding disaster way before it became public fodder.
The Mismanagement Of A Disaster
The fact that Ellen’s management team took the blame for the heat left even a more bitter taste in the public’s mouth. One PR analyst said that it was “brand suicide” to not take ownership of a sinking ship. True leadership is taking responsibility and saying you’ll do better. She didn’t do any of that as of yet.
Billions of Advertising Dollars At Stake
A ton of speculation surrounds Ellen’s brand’s future now. Namely how the sponsors for her show will react to the negative publicity. You know, all the great prizes that she hands out like candy to deserving citizens? Well, they all come from a sponsor. And most are family-friendly, middle-America targeted goods and products. As a marketer, I can’t stop watching the wreckage. As a fan, my heart goes out to her for not stopping this train from derailing when she first heard the squeaky wheels.