So you’ve looked long and hard at how your brand is managed, and it’s clear that the truth has been allowed to slip. If you no longer want to be managing a deceitful brand, how do you find a way back?
Start by setting new rules. Articulate “new rules of brand” that set out in a clear manifesto form what you will do and won’t do going forward. If necessary, revisit the values and behaviours that have condoned how your brand has been managed in the past.
Look for quick wins. What are the immediate things that you can do to turn around how your brand is managed? If you’re making claims you can’t back up, for example, either alter the claims to make them realistic or seek further substantiation. Quick wins do two things. They establish momentum, and they signal that you are serious about the changing of the guard.
Change what you reward. Oftentimes, brands are managed in ways that directly mirror the priorities and attitudes that are prized internally. By shifting the emphasis to integrity for example (not just what happens, but how), you can motivate people to rethink the actions they will accept from themselves and from those around them.
Monitor/feed back results. Your team need to see that these changes are worth pursuing. Establish clear metrics to monitor the moral health of your brand and loop everyone in on the results.
Take your commitments public. You don’t have to talk about why you’ve changed or what was wrong, but by going public with what you will accept from now on, you can make the culture accountable not just aware.
Hold your competitors accountable to new standards. If the ways you were working are widespread across your industry, get your own house in order and then call out your competitors. Make it clear why the ways that were cannot be the ways going forward. Take the moral high ground.
Do this right and you will get another bite at the truth cherry but be aware this level and scope of change is never easy. Far better though that you undertake such change whilst you are in control and away from the public gaze. Otherwise there’s a very good chance you will find yourself trying to make these repairs under the unerring scrutiny of the media and with your trust status in serious review.