It was certainly well intended, but the results were disastrous when Starbucks employees collectively wrote “Race Together” on cups of java given to loyal customers.

For most, Starbucks is a place of consistency, where their morning indulgence is replicated day after day, steeped in the tradition of the flavor of dark roast, steamed milk and calming tea. So, customers asked themselves, “Why are they marking my cup with a statement about race?” This is a brand mishap that has led to a mark on a stellar business reputation and according to recent news reports, the impact may be ongoing.

Don’t risk your brand reputation by reacting to what’s trending in the news. Think twice before you move towards making a move or a statement that could put your reputation at risk. The residual effects of these moves have the potential to tarnish your brand reputation.

A well thought out and vetted brand and marketing strategy is a valuable investment. Plan and implement your marketing and public relations tactics based on your brand promise. It’s okay to be creative and push the envelope once in a while with edgy, attention-getting messaging, as long as it speaks to your target market and aligns with your core values, without being offensive or making people uncomfortable. Owning and running a business is full of risk, but never risk your brand reputation.