Can This Brand Be Saved?

Photo credit: Annie Leibowitz

In a recent Substack post in her newsletter Back Row, journalist Amy Odell dropped a bomb of a post about how Jennifer Lopez’s brand has taken some serious hits over the years. The post, “J.Lo’s Brand Has Been Damaged for Years,” is a think piece on the larger issue of personal and organizational brands gone wrong

But this isn’t just about J.Lo. It’s a much bigger conversation on what happens when brands — big names or the ones behind your favorite soda — slip, fall, and can’t seem to get up. 

The crux of brand management lies in perception — how consumers interpret and feel about the brand. When perception starts to slump, the brand faces a daunting uphill battle to reclaim its former glory. This journey is arduous and fraught with skepticism from the public and stakeholders alike, underscoring the notion that rebuilding trust is far more challenging than building it.

Odell’s dissection of J.Lo’s brand is a case study about the cumulative effects prolonged periods of negative press, strategic misalignments, and personal controversies have on a brand, slowly eroding its foundational strengths. In the broader context, when a brand — personal like J.Lo’s or organizational — starts to veer off course, the ramifications can be tough to turn around.

We have the internet’s unrelenting memory to thank for much of this. Every action, statement, or misstep is recorded, scrutinized, and remembered in social media and instant news. It’s hard, if not close to impossible, for brands to escape their past, requiring them to manage current perceptions and past narratives simultaneously.

Moreover, the authenticity crisis poses another significant hurdle. In the quest to rectify their image, brands often overcorrect, launching campaigns or initiatives that may seem disingenuous or performative to a skeptical public. 

Authenticity, once lost, is incredibly hard to regain, as audiences have become adept at discerning genuine efforts from marketing ploys.

However, all is not lost. 

We’ve seen some epic comebacks. Remember when everyone thought Apple was a goner? Or when Lego was about to crumble like a stack of poorly assembled bricks? They turned their ships around by going back to the drawing board and coming back stronger. Turnarounds like that prove that it’s possible to not only recover but thrive, transforming potential brand sinkholes into compelling stories of resilience and revival.

At the end of the day, the journey of brand redemption requires a blend of introspection, strategic repositioning, and authentic engagement with stakeholders. This is a testament to the brand’s resolve to address its shortcomings and evolve beyond them.

Jenny on the Block is not “just” a superstar. She’s a full-blown brand that’s weathered its share of storms. And we do love our comebacks. I, for one, will be watching and rooting for JLo. as she rewrites her new narrative. 

Her comeback may turn out to be even more legendary than her brand’s first act.