For companies, controversy and/or bad news and bad press can be dangerous, yet many brands are surprisingly resilient, and many even benefit from dynamite exploding in their hands. A short-term media or social media reaction, pro or con or both, to a company or its owner, CEO, celebrity endorser, or other “face” taking a controversial position or otherwise getting into troubled waters often has little or no lasting negative impact and can, instead, have positive impact, in making a larger population aware of the brand or at least rallying the loyalists. Some entrepreneurs who own valuable personal or corporate brands even intentionally, repeatedly court controversy.
Anytime you personally take a potentially controversial position or attach your company or brand to one, you do take risks. However, if you’re going to court controversy, you should do it consciously and deliberately, not casually or impulsively.
The Trump Technique of picking a fight with a villain or enemy can be an effective way to use controversy with little or no risk if you choose carefully, attack broadly and know your brand loyalists and target market well.