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How Does a Brand Regain Consumer Trust After a Crisis?

How Does a Brand Regain Consumer Trust After a Crisis?

David Aaker

regain trust

What can be done to regain brand trust when it has been damaged by a real or perceived misstep? What preventative measures can be taken to create an organization where such errors are less likely, and customer understanding and forgiveness is more likely? Many brands have faced this challenge, some very recently, such as Volkswagen, Wells Fargo, Toshiba and Samsung.

There are many tactical prescriptions for dealing with a trust-damaging crisis, but there should also be an effort to change the conversation, to have something to talk about besides the crisis. Toward that end, there are three courses of action brands should take to address or prevent a crisis:

  1. Create a higher-purpose mission, value set or culture that will enable the organization to have meaning apart from generating sales and profits.
  2. Develop a higher-purpose program that not only engenders trust but can redirect the discussion during a crisis incident. This should be branded and leverage the organization’s people and assets toward social good.
  3. Distribute messages about the brand’s higher purpose using stories of real people.

A case study written by Tom Roach of BBH London describes Barclays’ response to its brand crisis following the 2009 financial crash.


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David Aaker, sometimes called the Father of Modern Branding, is the author of 18 books and over 100 articles on branding and business strategy. He is the Vice-Chair of Prophet, a branding, growth, and transformation consulting company.