Lance Armstrong’s conniving selfishness left Livestrong—his cancer-fighting charity and only redeeming legacy—in an uphill struggle for survival. We don’t expect everyone to be perfect — stuff happens. But we expect people — particularly heroes and leaders — to be authentic and honest. It’s fundamental to human social interaction. Our very survival hinges on trust in others.
As if helping people battle cancer wasn’t enough of a challenge, now Livestrong, because of its close association to Armstrong, has to pedal harder and faster in a fight for its own life, striving to redeem its otherwise sterling brand.
The charity’s latest moves—designed to distance them from their namesake—include a refreshed logo and a tweak of their name to Livestrong Foundation. Although Livestrong couldn’t end their association as quickly as Armstrong’s commercial sponsors, let’s hope this move helps the organization gain separation from the disgrace sure to stalk Armstrong forever.
Brands are about trust. Superstar brands gain real loyalty with customers when they are authentic with people—both in what they say and what they actually do.
Nike probably stood by their Armstrong sponsorship longer than they should have but finally dropped him last fall. Yet, through that relationship, Nike became a staunch supporter of Livestrong, helping to create the iconic yellow wristband, worn around the world, and raising over $100 million.
We’re sure Nike intends to continue supporting Livestrong but, in order to remain the iconic, trustworthy brand we’ve come to love, we want to propose they step up even more.
Our idea is that Nike redirect the millions they spent on Armstrong’s sponsorship directly to the charity. Especially because Livestrong turns out to be the real hero. And we think it would be great if Nike renamed the former Lance Armstrong Fitness Center on their campus to the Livestrong Building.
It would certainly help the charity top the hill and make the Nike brand even stronger (if that’s possible). So come on Nike—Just do it.
Would you agree? Tell us how you think both Nike and Livestrong could breathe new life into their brands in the wake of the Armstrong scandal.