Running (Branding) With The Wrong Crowd


Mama always said…

“Don’t you be runnin’ round with the wrong crowd, ya hear. If you do, you just might land yourself in a big ‘ole mess of trouble.”

Mama might need to get into the business of consulting companies on this very principle, because there are quite a few entities out there who are associating themselves with the wrong crowd, and butchering their brand’s value because of it.

Once you become linked to a corrupt individual or business (or one that is perceived to be corrupt), other people begin to label you as an equal evil. Your business could have the purest of intentions, and have a 100 year history of admirable operations, but the moment you start playin’ with the devil you can just about guarantee that your company’s brand value is about to pull an Enron.

Just recently, Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers fled Ameriquest Mortgage’s scene of sin when it decided to terminate its relationship with the sub-prime lending company. In 2004, the Rangers inked a deal with Ameriquest Mortgage that gave Ameriquest rights to their ballpark’s name. The Texas Rangers stadium would then be called “Ameriquest Field In Arlington.”

Back in 2004 you could not make it through the day without seeing an ad or message from Ameriquest Mortgage. Instead of welcoming their new customers with loans that they could afford, they took advantage of their newfound flood of customers and made every effort to take as much money from them as they could. I’m sure some individuals received loans that didn’t go bust, but many of them did. So many in fact, that in January of 2006, Ameriquest reached a $325,000,000 (Yes, that’s $325 MILLION DOLLARS) settlement over predatory lending throughout 49 states.

So you have the Texas Rangers who have always stood for family, fun, and everything wholesome / And then you have Ameriquest Mortgage who suddenly defines the meaning of greed… Does it make sense for these two entities to be married to one another? The Rangers didn’t think so.

The Rangers appreciate the value of a respected brand, and could no longer be associated with the “wrong crowd” that is Ameriquest Mortgage. On April 6th, at the Rangers home opener (I’ll be there in the nosebleed seats. Come say “Hi!”), they will formerly introduce the stadium as “Rangers Ballpark In Arlington.” As a lifelong fan of the Texas Rangers, and a total marketing dork, it’s hard for me to adequately express how happy I am to hear that the ball club has now divorced itself from what could have been a very abusive relationship towards the Rangers brand.

Oh, and P.S. Here’s a random thought for ya…

Ameriquest Mortgage is a perfect example of a company that tries to build instant respectablity by simply associating itself with “America.” …They didn’t turn out to be very respectable did they? Think about that the next time you do business with a company that has a variation of the word “America” built within its brand name. Could they possibly be trying to sneak a roofie into your patriotism, with intentions to eventually violate you?

…Say it ain’t so Captain America!

Wishing you continued success…

Brad Williamson

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