31st August 2012
Good old Prince Harry, always perpetuating the (misconceived?) girl in every town image of a carefree privileged Royal, gallivanting with naked girls when not piloting his £10m Apache helicopter.
Its a romantic notion which continues to win the hearts of our adoring American cousins who just love those cute English and their funny, eccentric ways.
Not so across the pond, where the seemingly unshakable growth of Brand UK, groomed further by the Queens Jubilee and the stunning London Olympics, has been wobbled by those grainy mobile phone images from a Las Vegas hotel room.
The ensuing should we or shouldnt we debate over whether to show Harrys toned derrière to those who actually still buy a newspaper, when a trillion people had already seen the images online, also became a timely foil to the idea that the UK press needs to be dumbed down.
But have Harrys exploits, reported in every corner of the globe, really dented the worlds new love affair withBritain, still effervescing in the bottom of the metaphorical glass that is the Olympic Park.
Has his over-exposure even dented the rebirth of the Royal Family, respectable once more thanks to pin-up couple Kate and Wills and the seemingly bionic Queen?
On balance, I think the answer is absolutely not. Most of us, I am sure, fall into the camp which believes Harry was just having a bit of fun, an off-duty soldier letting his hair (and trousers) down before returning to the front line.
Yes, it was an annoying indiscretion, and one which has left the Royals red-faced and Harry doomed to an even tighter security regime that will see his every move scrutinised by the Palaces PR team.
But so strong is the tide of adoration for Britain right now that it will take a lot more than a flamboyant Prince to do any long-lasting harm.
And there lies the point. Established brands are robust. They can survive what initially appear to be massive knocks to their reputation and bounce back. How many of us avoid BP petrol stations? Quite.
But smaller brands beware. Without that long-established brand, losing customers can be easy. I recently abandoned a new branch of an upmarket patisserie chain when I had to point out to the hapless person who served me which was the almond croissant in his window display. He had not the slightest clue. (And the croissant was lousy.)
Here at Cobb PR, we help dozens of local firms manage their reputation by communicating the great work they do precisely because they dont take their customers for granted.
Maybe Harry should follow the same advice.