Along with Gillette and Kraft Heinz, Facebook made Forrester’s “Lowlights Of 2019” list, which highlights the worst brand performances of the year.
In large part, the dishonorable mention was due to Facebook’s continued unwillingness to take responsibility for its misuse of user data following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
This massive shirking of responsibility has “hemorrhaged the brand’s public trust,” in the words of Dipanjan Chatterjee, principal analyst at Forrester and lead author of the annual brand review.
“The biggest miss was empathy,” Chatterjee said of Facebook. “This is a brand that’s been out of touch and uncaring and has lacked the ability and willingness to listen.”
Putting Facebook’s problems in the starkest terms, Chatterjee adds in the review: “There’s no long-term path forward unless customers stop feeling used."
Struggling last year for very different reasons, Forrester skewered Gillette’s “toxic masculinity” campaign for failing to address business fundamentals.
“Fewer people are shaving, and insurgents like Billie and Dollar Shave Club (DSC) offer far more convenient and emotionally engaging options,” Chatterjee reasoned.
“While P&G’s intent to promote ‘positive, attainable, inclusive and healthy versions of what it means to be a man’ was a laudable gesture, doing so without addressing the shifting fundamentals of the business doomed the brand.”
Kraft Heinz, for its part, was simply unwilling to spend enough money to maintain brand relevance, in Forrester’s estimation.
In Chatterjee’s words: “The Kraft Heinz story is a cautionary tale of brand demolition by way of cost-cutting.”
On a brighter note, Disney, Gucci, and Mastercard all made Forrester’s “Highlights of 2019” list, although their respective efforts didn’t come cheap.
For Disney, it took a $71 billion acquisition of Fox and the launch of a new themed area called “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.” This was followed by the debut of Disney+, which now boasts more than 10 million subscribers.
In 2019, Gucci’s genius was maintaining its relevance among younger shoppers, which was partially achieved by adopting new technologies.
For example, the luxury label gave young fashionistas the ability to dress up digital avatars in Gucci’s product line and share them with friends via social media.
Finally, Mastercard made Forrester’s list by making some bold moves in 2019, like removing the Mastercard name from its logo, creating a sonic branding program, and launching several initiatives with significant implications for inclusivity, such as offering cards that allow transgender and nonbinary customers to use their chosen names.