As a follow up to my last post about “branding,” I wanted to mention a conversation that Valeria Maltoni at Conversation Agent had with Gerry Lantz, a very successful marketing, advertising and communications executive (and now consultant). In this conversation about branding, Lantz tells a couple of stories about how two expensive branding campaigns failed. 

One involved BP’s brand overhaul in its attempt to come across as more “green” by seeking “alternative energies and be(ing) environmentally friendly.” They changed their logo, colors and slogan to “(B)eyond (P)etroleum” in that effort. Then, they experienced a major oil spill and a refinery explosion causing death and injury. Both events were attributed to ignored warnings and the lack of inspections, according to Lantz. The consensus as to why the campaign failed: BP didn’t push its brand story all the way down to the operational level.”

The other involved an ad that invited the public to generate their own ads about Chevy’s 2007 Tahoe SUV. Apparently, a number of ads where extremely critical of the vehicle, and the campaign was a “bloody fiasco,” according to Lantz, and lead to Chevy pulling their ads. Some of the public ads can still be found on As Lantz says: “Don’t invite a conversation if you don’t want to listen.”

Tying this back to my post on seeking feedback from clients on what “word” best describes the firm’s brand, not only should your firm be prepared to listen intently to what the clients’ have to say, but make sure that all the attorneys and staff at the “operational level" are aware and buy-in to the firm’s intended brand.