By Geoff De Weaver, CEO + Founder Touchpoint Entertainment Inc.


It was not very long ago, that the brands mentioned in this post were considered to be ‘rolled gold’ icons. BUT Digital Disruption has changed all that AND created a whole new reality…

When Kodak didn’t jump into the digital age and insisted Polaroid was about ‘instant gratification’ and ignored digital cameras and insisted film was the better visual format. It was the beginning of the end for them.

Nokia was once the dominant player in the ‘early days’ of mobile telephony (circa 2009) but, they also failed to ‘disrupt and innovate’ their technologies and marketing strategies. Nokia simply did NOT keep up with consumer trends AND demands because they failed to understand the importance of accessing the internet via the growing mobile marketplace. They clearly failed to understand the importance of better ‘customer experience’ for today’s mobile users who want to use cameras, listen to music, download apps, use social media and more!

It’s very disappointing to see major global brands demonstrating brand ignorance, by not listening to their customers and ignoring the transparency that social media demands. Today’s other failed brands, have consistently ignored the impact of targeting ‘touchpoints’ in their customer’s journeys while at the same time setting overly ambitious sales goals. It’s almost pathetic to see behemoths like VW and FIFA pleading for their customers and fans for their continued patience and loyalty.

Unfortunately, both FIFA & VW have ‘showcased’ the massive impacts of unethical and deceptive behavior in the Age of Digital Disruption.

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(A number of big-name sponsors have already expressed their alarm at FIFA’s ongoing scandals)

With Sepp Blatter (President FIFA) and Michel Platini (President of the Union of European Football Associations) facing suspension as world football’s governing body (FIFA) has been brought to its knees via all the corruption scandals that have played out almost daily in mainstream and social media.

The World football’s governing body’s ethics committee is reacting too slowly to the charges of ‘criminal mismanagement’ and ‘disloyal payments’. Time is of the essence when social media and global transparency are critical. They must lead from the top and communicate openly and honestly like other major Fortune 500 Boards and Global Sporting Organizations. Speed is of the essence in today’s digital world. Then there’s the ongoing saga of VW…

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VW brand is heading for a ‘Dieselgate’ and ‘Carmageddon’

More than 11 million plus VW diesel vehicles were fitted with a software program designed to deceive emissions testers. This has sent shock waves through the automotive marketplace and dealt a hammer blow not just to Volkswagen’s reputation but potentially to the entire German nation brand. In the US alone, VW sales fell 25% in November alone, and they are still in decline. Even the Volkswagen subsidiary, Audi, was impacted by the unfolding emissions scandal.

The VW shockwaves caused by the ‘cheating scandal’ have also reverberated around the world and billions of dollars have evaporated from their global revenues. German marquee brands, including Audi and Porsche have also been severely impacted and only time will tell is they can regain the lost trust and loyalty of their customers and lose the ’cheating tag’.

Surely the VW Board must have learned something from watching the Toyota scandal unravel in 2009 and should have known better. While Toyota is regarded as the world’s most valuable auto brand, they also suffered significant reputational and brand damage following a series of recalls over mechanical issues from 2009 to 2011.

Until recently VW was considered to be the third most valuable automotive brand in the world. However, it has already been estimated that VW have lost US$10 billion in brand value since emissions scandal emerged. It will be very interesting to see how VW will handle this emissions scandal. Automotive buyers around the world are watching with great interest.

The sock puppet has become synonymous with the bust.

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I learned many lessons about Digital Branding during the halcyon days of the ‘dot com boom’ (circa 1999) while living and working in San Francisco. I also remember the fate of:, Blockbuster,,, Napster,,,,, Flooz, and many other digital startups who failed to respond to disruptive and innovative brands over the past two decades.

The best approach for CEOs to take in a time of crisis is to engage with their staff, stakeholders, suppliers, fans and customers as much as possible; whether it’s good news or bad news, all your stakeholders need to hear from you. People and Fans often become frustrated and worried when they don’t know what is going on. The more open you are with them, the more you will protect your brand and reputation in the long run.

Bottom-line: All brands today must learn from history so they don’t repeat past mistakes in judgement, honesty, integrity, transparency and TRUST.

You can learn many lessons from failed business models, so don’t try to expand too fast without the network, processes and teams in place. Other key points to ensure you don’t follow VW or FIFA today are:

  1. Understand your brand e.g. what it stands for, core values are still relevant, how your competitors are positioned, what your tangible benefits are, what emotional benefits does your brand have, etc. Do a new Brand Audit
  2. Understand the fundamental principle that lies at the heart of all great brands: the concept of essence. For example, the essence of the Nike brand is authentic athletic performance. So if everyone in your company or organization understands what the essence of your brand means, marketing and PR staffers can unleash innovation in every quarter — from advertising to product design to promotions
  3. Smart brands and companies recognize that great products and services can deliver more than profits; they deliver customer experiences that make life better in some small way. For example, Starbucks was less about engineering a great cup of coffee than it was about providing a great coffee
  4. What VW and FIFA must now do now is to revive themselves and/or completely reinvent themselves. Both brands must immediately make believable improvements during their transformation if they are to survive.

Bottom-line, as Confucius said: ‘Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall’

Sure hope VW and FIFA understand history and learn from the past now.


Stay Passionate and win the day!



More About Geoff De Weaver:


Hailing originally from New York; Geoff De Weaver is the globally experienced entrepreneur, technology disruptor, trend hunter and keynote speaker behind Touchpoint Entertainment Inc. Geoff is an international business executive with 25+ years experience on five continents in the rapidly-changing media, digital, telecommunications, communications and entertainment industries.

Geoff has a global 25-year background of representing some of the world’s most iconic worldwide brands including: Coca Cola, IBM, IMG, P&G, Microsoft, Nike, British Airways, Wells Fargo, EA Sports, MasterCard,,, E*Trade, Nestle, Air France, AT&T, VISA, Unilever,, Ferrari, American Express, P&G, Trend Micro, Acer Computers, BMW,, Mars, Pfizer, TiVo, EarthLink Internet, American Express, Telstra, Weight Watchers and others.

As CEO + Founder of Touchpoint Entertainment Inc., the ‘next-generation’ Social Media Marketing, Big Data and Live Event Company – streams live to over 1.55 Billion  fans globally and delivers authentic brand experiences worldwide.  I help brands bridge the gap between CONTENT, COMMUNITY + COMMERCE and delivers authentic brand experiences worldwide. Geoff also has comfort in operating in truly globalized markets.

C-Level, Marketing Strategy, Digital and Communications Leader with Global Experience – including: US (New York City + San Francisco), Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Italy, Germany, Brazil, South Korea, Columbia, Finland, Hong Kong, Mexico, Netherlands, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, China, Indonesia and Canada. Geoff has served as a non-executive director, director and advisory boards.

  • Geoff has served as a non-executive director, director and advisory boards
  • Top 0.5% Worldwide on Twitter Globally
  • Top 1% Influencer on LinkedIn and 32+ million network on LinkedIn worldwide
  • Top 1% Most Viewed Profiles on LinkedIn (400+ million members)
  • Geoff is a Digital Pioneer, Data-Driven, Entrepreneur, Business Coach + Innovator.
  • Transformative, Innovation & Digital Disruption – CONTENT, COMMUNITY + COMMERCE


Feel free to get in touch with Geoff for further information:


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