Brands come with a reputation, everyone wants their brand to be loved. However, sometimes a brand has trouble. There are several reasons, be it acquiring an unsuccessful brand, personal failings allowing a brand to gain a negative reputation, or other owners causing issues that you may end up with a negative brand image. A negative brand image is not a good thing, and will eventually kill your brand if not fixed. Fixing a negative brand image is hard work and it is better to prevent a brand from gaining a negative reputation in the first place, but ultimately it is possible to fix the damage. Here are six steps in fixing a negative brand image:

1) Fix the problem that caused the negative reputation.

The biggest and most important part, in the process of gaining back a positive reputation for a brand, is to fix the problem that caused the negative reputation in the first place. Without doing this, rebuilding your brand will ultimately be futile as you will be treating the symptom, not the disease. You can’t provide a poor product or service and expect to maintain goodwill.

2) Have a definite plan for what you want your new reputation to be. In the place of your old negative brand image, there needs to be a new positive. Know what image you want to put in place of the ashes of your current image. Plan for that, base your new marketing around that. Know the image that you want to mold to lead your brand into a bright new future. Admit your mistakes, and if necessary give a genuine apology. Being honest, about what mistakes your brand has made, shows a willingness to make changes and a sincerity in becoming better. If your service was poor, admit it. If someone was wronged, admit the wrongdoing, apologize and make amends. It associates your brand with accountability and honesty. Often this is the first step to regaining customer trust.

3) Change branding to indicate a fresh start.

Your brand is your image. Changing the branding indicates a new start, often for both the corporate and the general public. It can be seen as a deemphasising of the previous, unpopular business model.

4) Show that your brand has changed.

Base advertising on what you have changed to.  Emphasize that your brand has changed, possibly drastically. If your brand had service issues, put out ads emphasizing good service. Get customer testimonials. Promise a good brand experience and a willingness to make amends if your brand does not deliver.

5) Get your new corporate face out in the community.

This will take effort. However you must prove to your community that you are worth their time and energy.  Make sure your brand is first time mind in a good light.

6) Build a new reputation.

Do so by becoming part of the community. Hold events, sponsor groups and take part in charitable enterprises.  Make positive contributions to the community in which you do business Build relationships with the people your brand serves. It’s a way to rebuild brand image.