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Despite Scandal, There Are Brands That Can’t Be Broken

In the world of public perception, a scandal can knock a brand down for weeks. But Wal-Mart, which is currently facing a public relations problem with a bribery scandal in Mexico, has fared better than other brands like Taco Bell and Target, according to data from YouGov BrandIndex, which measures “buzz score” on a point index.

YouGov BrandIndex measurement scores range from 100 to -100 and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.

Since The New York Times broke the Mexico bribery story, Wal-Mart’s buzz score has declined 15 points. This  crisis appears to be less severe than Target’s donation to a controversial charity and Taco Bell’s charges of serving un-meat in its entrees.

Recently in Forbes, Kwittken & Company’s CEO Aaron Kwittken wrote on the issue of brands that seem to deflect the most brutal of scandals. His story added Apple to the list of brands. Apple is so impenetrable that its unfair factory labor scandal – which its demographic would usually be all over – wasn’t even a blip on the radar screen.

Another survey from BrandIndex shows that the NBA is suffering from a public perception problem, a residual effect of the lockout, and the NFL’s reputation has taken a hit due to the New Orleans Saints’ cash-for-hits controversy. Still, the ratings for NBA games stayed up even while people said they have a negative view of the league. We’ll have to see what sort damage has been done to the football association or, more specifically, to the Saints, when that season starts again.

In the case of Wal-Mart, it’s a brand that can take a lot more damage before getting knocked out. It’s huge, it’s everywhere, and in many rural areas, it has a monopoly on the retail businesses. People just aren’t going to pay more for shampoo and socks elsewhere because they suspect unethical international business dealings.

Are there any other brands that you think can withstand the toughest of scandals?

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