America's 9 Most Damaged Brands

Broken Brands

A company's reputation is one of its most valuable assets. And while a reputation can take years to build, it can be battered or ruined in an instant. Consider what happened to JPMorgan Chase after the London Whale trading debacle, or Hyundai after it overstated the gas mileage for many of its cars.

Ethical lapses like those can be a major cause of a brand's collapse -- the consequence of a breach of trust between a company and the public. So can flawed product design (the burning battery in Boeing's Dreamliner) or failure to meet a challenge from the competition (Apple's iPhone, rapidly losing ground to Samsung's Galaxy line).

More commonly, though, a company's reputation erodes because of a failure in its core strategy. Take Blackberry, for example. Time after time it created products that led the global smartphone industry, but it never managed to move its reputation from being a successful manufacturer of smartphones for business to one for consumers.

The nine companies on this list severely damaged their brands in one of two ways: by aggressively promoting a product or a business strategy and failing badly; or being involved in a corporate or personal scandal. Click through the gallery to see America's nine most damaged brands.


Methodology: To identify the most damaged brands, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed large, publicly traded companies that offer products or services in the United States. These companies had to be among the largest brands in the world, as measured by Corebrand, or command an especially large amount of media attention in their industry.

24/7 Wall St.: