When an organization is blasted with criticism, it has three choices:
1. Decide the criticism is justified, make amends, and communicate changes with a sense of humility. This allows an organization to turn a negative into a positive by showing it is responsive and willing to do the right thing.
2. Bury its collective head in the sand. Controversy moves lightning-fast these days, and folks will eventually move onto the next scandal involving Lindsay Lohan or pit bulls or Pitbull. The brand takes a hit, but it may not be too detrimental depending on the scale of the issue and the outrage.
3. Double down and push forward against the criticism. Extend the controversial position to demonstrate that the organization clearly believes its position and direction is correct.
Enterprise Florida, the official economic development organization for the State of Florida, is doubling down.
In early February, Enterprise Florida rolled out a new brand campaign with the tag line, "The Perfect Climate for Business."
Fine. But the new logo? It has many people tied up in knots:
Susan Stackhouse, chief executive of Stellar Partners of Tampa, which runs retail concessions at airports, told the Tampa Bay Business Journal:
"Isn't that special? It's clearly a strong visual that business and men go together."
Wait, building a state's business logo around a man's tie doesn't convey a progressive and forward-thinking image? News to Enterprise Florida. The organization has now invited participants to print out a picture of the tie, wear it and share photos via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #floridabiz.
The logo sends a terrible message about Florida's business climate, reinforcing damaging stereotypes that the state's culture is far behind the times.
I am glad, however, that Enterprise Florida is progressive enough to embrace social media. Here's my contribution to their tie-centric #floridabiz campaign: