Thursday, November 17, 2011

Protecting the Brand at any Cost

The Penn State story is a great illustration of how people will protect the brand of the company at any cost. Having worked most of my life in corporate America, I know how often it is done. This week's Community Blog ask students how they would handle protecting the brand,even if what was occurring was illegal.
As graduate of Penn State, I know the machine power of Penn State Football and the MILLIONS and MILLIONS of dollars it brings to the University. 100,000 people paying upwards to 200 dollars a ticket on a weekend to attend a game generates a lot of cash for the school. Brand protection is important and here is the assignment I ask them to consider.

The Penn State Football incident is a good perspective on how the real issue are getting lost in the chatter of lost jobs and people being fired who have had long careers.

In time you will all go to work for an company or organization and you may be ask to defend the image of your company in violation of the law. I don’t want you to address that situation because I think it is hard for you to answer that question at this time.
However, I want you to look at the Penn State scandal as an outsider and then answer there questions.

  1. Why do think the Coach Sandusky was never arrested and brought up on charges even though witnesses has seen him molest a 10 year old boy in 2002?.
  2. Do you think Coach Paterno should have been fired because he did the correct think legally but not morally?
  3. Why do you think the President of the University participated in the coverup?
  4. Who are the real victims here, the staff or the ten boys molested or even the football players or a combination?
  5. Do you think an organization such as Penn State has the right to do what it take to protect its name even if a crime as been committed? Be aware there are many documented cases of this occurring both nationally and globally. Many hundreds of jobs have been saved by companies who have done at any costs what it takes to protect their image.


  1. This is a great topic. For years, the law will not pertain to private campuses and a lot of violations remain unsolved. In the name of the economy and this uncertain times our morals are being tested more than ever, I think. I would love to read and see your students' discussions. A discussion of this nature cannot be missed--so many different opinions and values thrown into a conversation that challenges the acceptable yet morally and unconceibable wrong.

    This assignment ranks as one of my favorites on your blog thus far!

  2. This is a great topic to work with, and I like your questions. Do students do research to answer, and do they have to cite it at any point? Is there a follow-up activity to answering the questions?