Two wrongs may not make a right, but a right can often undo a wrong – as is the case with the recent brand recovery of Optus.
The Australian Financial Review has reported that the success of the Matildas and the Women’s World Cup has added $1 billion to the brand value of Optus, nearly erasing the impact of last year’s cyberattack.
Numbers from Brand Finance Australia quoted in the AFR show that Optus’s brand value grew to $4.14 billion in August, which was up from $3.88 billion in March. Optus said the increase was largely due to the Matildas.
This shows a change in fortunes from when Brand Finance Australia first published the 2023 brand value list.
The list showed that Optus’ brand value nosedived by $1.2 billion following the cyber attack it suffered in September last year.
A hacker was able to obtain the personal information of nearly 10 million former and current customers, grabbing details such as driver’s licenses, Medicare numbers, and passport info. Rather than growing to $4.5 billion, the brand value instead dropped to $3.3 billion.
Optus’ response to the data breach was heavily criticised by many in the weeks and months that followed. Mark Forbes, director of corporate PR and crisis comms agency Icon Reputation, told B&T in September last year that customer comms had been “poor and slow.”
“We took a huge knock,” Matt Williams, Optus’ managing director for marketing and revenue is quoted as saying. “The Brand Finance valuation occurred exactly at the time of [the cyberattack], in October … But we went all out to engage Australia. The Matildas and Women’s World Cup captured the imagination of the whole of Australia.”
Thankfully, consumers have relatively short memories and the exceptional success of the Matildas seems to have reversed the brand damage done by the attack.
“Optus has added 27 per cent in brand value for the eight months ending August 2023, which exceeds the brand’s value prior to the cyberattack,” Brand Finance Australia’s managing director Mark Crowe is quoted as saying.
“Compared with other brands who suffered similar pernicious attacks around the world, this is a strong result for the Optus brand.”