Tuesday, April 14, 2009

When You’re Dealing with a “Toxic” Brand

Gawker recently published a memo from AIG Corporate Security outlining “certain protective measures all employees can take in order to increase their overall safety and security.” The #1 measure? Don’t showcase the AIG logo.

A few days later, the insurance giant removed its corporate logo from one of its New York buildings, replacing AIG with AIU. In Nashville, an AIG subsidiary was renamed American General Life and Accident (AGLA).

"Moving to a brand that the company built its reputation on and that doesn't immediately bring to mind AIG certainly helps with new business sales," said Shayna Schulz, an AIG spokesperson.


A strong brand — including the corporate name and logo — is an essential element of a company’s public face. Lots of brands weighed down with negative attributes reinvented themselves, including Enron (renamed CrossCountry), Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), WorldCom (MCI) and Philip Morris (Altria). The time has come for AIG to begin to distance its insurance businesses from the financial products unit that helped tank the company and the economy. It’s time for AIG to shape its new corporate identity.

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