There are many reasons why a brand might ‘break.’
A disconnect in a brand’s identity between past and present, alienating the brand’s audience. A shift in a brand’s values to the point that it’s no longer appealing to its audience – something common in small brands that experience massive short-term growth and become profit-obsessed. A misstep by someone affiliated with the brand, resulting in extreme reputational damage.
Whatever the cause, a broken brand is one in which its audience has lost faith. A business whose image is tarnished to the point that people no longer want to support it. An organization whose relationship with its customers has fractured, leading them directly into the arms of the competition.
The first step in fixing a broken brand is to understand what broke it in the first place. You need to know what went wrong, why it went wrong, and what you can do to not only mitigate the problem but also prevent it from happening again in the future. Armed with that understanding, the next step is simple – apologize.
Demonstrate to your audience that you are aware of your mistake, and more importantly, that you are willing to make amends. Work to rebuild their trust in you by demonstrating that you are committed to bettering your business.
What this involves depends entirely on the nature of what caused your brand to fracture in the first place. If it was a small, singular incident, a simple apology and press release may be enough to smooth things over. If it’s something more complex, however, like a values disconnect, a lawsuit, or a data breach, you’re going to need to chart things out a bit more extensively.
Regardless of what route you ultimately decide to take, it’s important that you include everyone affiliated with your brand and the incident. You need to account for not just your customers, but also your employees, investors, and business partners. Engage with them to determine the best path forward – the best way to fix the problems your brand has created for itself.
Listen, learn, and do better.
From there, it’s simply a matter of time. Of allowing the wounds from your missteps to heal, and the rift created by your errors to mend. Provided you’ve properly grasped the core of your error and made the necessary changes, your brand should be back to where it was before it broke – perhaps even better than ever.