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Trust is "huge for brands" according to Sir John Hegarty

Published:  08 June, 2015

The FIFA scandal that has shaken the global game of football is an important reminder that "trust is the very foundation that brands are built on" according to brand guru Sir John Hegarty.

In this month's edition of Harper's Smith Report, it is critical that brands know who they are partnering with, particularly as more drink brands adopt corporate sponsorships. "You are in a way attaching your brand to these organisations. They are essentially leveraging each other's reputations," said Hegarty.

With any scandal the mere suspicion of wrong doing could potentially damaging.

"I would have thought that with serious charges, true or not, a brand couldn't possibly be associated with an [apparently] corrupt organisation," said Hegarty.

Hegarty explained that the concept of brands came about out of necessity, but also out of trust.  As society evolved and consumers moved away from buying all things from the local butcher or baker, for example, brands began to develop.  Consumers no longer bought goods just from eachothers' neighbours, they began buying from unknown people which helped to increase the importance of trust and brands.

Further Hegarty said that should a brand do anything that "damages" that trust "you are destroying whatever reputation you have built."

And once that happens in the court of public opinion, if no where else, it could be quite hard to get back. "Once trust is gone it is very difficult to rebuild," said Hegarty.

Despite the risks brand sponsorship are highly lucrative and very successful business endeavours. For example,  Concho Y Toro UK has two sports sponsorships within its portfolio. Trivento's sponsorship of Premiership Rugby saw sales for the brand increase 300%, according to Clare Griffiths, marketing director for CyT UK.  "We have had some great success," she said.

Equally, the company also saw a massive jump with CyT UK's Cono Sur brand Bicicleta, which sponsored  Grand Départ portion of the Tour de France last year. Following that partnership sales value increased 100% for the brand, while the category overall was relatively flat.