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Protecting from brand burn during times of crisis: Mumbai 26/11: a case of the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel

Melodena Stephens Balakrishnan (Faculty of Business and Management, University of Wollongong in Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Management Research Review

ISSN: 2040-8269

Article publication date: 1 November 2011




Managing brands during crisis (in the context of terrorism) does not have much historical research and the studies that exist focus on communication. Terrorism is more frequent; not easily prevented; and rarely a top management priority for risk management. The purpose of this paper is to use exiting theory on brand components and architecture to prevent brand burn. Brand burn is defined as the accidental negative impact formed on a brand due to a crisis outside the control of an organization, which may not be perceived as directly related to the organization's product or management.


Crises are characterized by an overload of information. The exploratory study uses a case study methodology to get insights on how to manage a brand through a crisis. To validate findings, triangulation using independent reviewers, theory and secondary reports is used.


First, a conceptual framework to manage brand burn is presented. Second, from the practitioner's point of view, the paper provides a checklist that gives strategic tips for preparing for and managing brand crisis. The findings show that both brand components and brand architecture can be used to manage brands through crisis.

Research limitations/implications

The findings contribute to theory by adding to the evolving literature on brand architecture, brand components and crisis management. Key challenges were organizing and prioritizing the vast amount of data from secondary sources, including social media sites; time was an issue as memories fade; and another limitation was getting official confirmation since perceptions play a key role.


This is the first study looking at a terrorist crisis from a brand management point of view. This paper contributes to theory by adding to the research in brand architecture and brand components and crisis management. Future studies can look at the model robustness in other crisis situations and the impact of managing social media.



Stephens Balakrishnan, M. (2011), "Protecting from brand burn during times of crisis: Mumbai 26/11: a case of the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel", Management Research Review, Vol. 34 No. 12, pp. 1309-1334.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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