Managing the cat ﬁght
Observing Trelise Cooper of late, she has really been building up her personal brand once more after it took a knock on the (still pending) intellectual property lawsuit against fellow fashion designer Tamsin Cooper. Interviews with magazines, Holmes, Breakfast and others have ensured her image is rebuilding—it helps that she is one of the few New Zealand designers to sell in any quantity in the US and the media would be foolish to ignore her. There’s little mention of the lawsuit at present, since it has become old news, at least till it gets to the High Court at the end of the year. And the media have been rather polite in not pushing the question, for now.
An article not too long ago in the Herald on Sunday on the lawsuit quoted yours truly, and was generally more pro-Tamsin—showing that in a David v. Goliath case, the public will side with David. I should make it clear that I was very balanced, and the journalist can conﬁrm this—though mostly my pro-Tamsin quotations made it through into the newspaper.
It has been interesting observing this case, and how each designer’s public perception has changed. Tamsin Cooper is more successful in written articles and seems to have received a great deal of public sympathy. Trelise Cooper’s star went down for a bit but she has managed to generate enough new lines (lingerie, children’s wear) and buzz to rebuild her personal image.
Both are useful promotional tactics at times of conﬂict. The smaller party can use the underdog image to get its point across: it lacks the budget of the larger one in promoting its way in the media. There is a lot to say about taking a business-as-usual approach, too—if it is genuine.
The larger party is probably doing just what it should: take a business-as-usual approach in the hope that that business will be more compelling an item in the media than their interest in fashion-industry cat ﬁghts. It can work, but it does come with some risks—conﬂict will still sell news.
Fortunately for both parties, the High Court will be unmoved by most of this, as the case seems reasonably clear. But at least neither side will be entering the court room believing there to be any media-created disadvantage now. Posted by Jack Yan, 19:05
Hi Amy! The case got adjourned till the end of the year at the Auckland High Court. As things rev up again there, it will be interesting to see how the two brand go.
Something similar has just occured in the games industry.
Red Octane - a company which used to sell 3rd party peripherals for other company's games scored a huge success with their own game Guitar Hero and accompanying peripheral.
Well, now they are sueing a smaller company that sells a wireless 3rd party peripheral for Guitar Hero.
For a company that could do no wrong, almost immediately in gamer forums, their image and fan trust is gone.
"Weak on RedOctane's part"
"RedOctane can go kiss my boycotting ass"
It seems inevitable in these situations that the underdog will gather popular support. Google's "dont be evil" moto springs to mind.
You have to wonder whether the lost sales will really outweigh the damaging PR. Perhaps in the billion dollar games industry it is warranted, but how many people really were confusing Trelise Cooper with Tamsin Cooper - especially in the lucrative export markets.
# posted by Jos: 9/21/2006 03:51:00 AM
Jos, thank you. Yes, it goes to show that very little can topple a brand, especially in an age of consumer power: we expect corporations to be corporate citizens, and exhibit a sense of citizenship. Red Octane sounds like it had not, and that was what hurt Trelise Cooper—who used the Intellectual Property Ofﬁce as a ﬁrst resort—to begin with.Post a Comment
Tamsin Cooper’s turnover is reportedly 2 per cent of Trelise Cooper’s—so one has to wonder how many people were affected, or were confused, in those export markets.
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