Recovering trust? Can you do it?

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Google swag

Some swag I received from Google staff for helping out on a product quality/spam team summit. The Three Stooges are on YouTube.

This morning, sales training guru Jeffrey Gitomer distributed a mass email promoting his latest webinar:  “Win trust — make sales for life?”  The program includes information on “Rules of Trust Recovery.”

I’m sure the Webinar will be worth every cent of the $29.00 fee, and you can be confident that Gitomer’s organization will refund your money or otherwise make good if you aren’t satisfied.

(No, Gitomer hasn’t paid me any sort of affiliate fee or commission for this unsolicited observation. That’s trust — or branding success — at work.)

“Trust recovery” is an intriguing concept — and it touches on the fundamental correlation between branding, sales and business success.  You can blow trust by unethical practices, sloppiness, overly-aggressive selling techniques, or any number of other marketing or sales blunders or, worse, the general ethical or business practices of your business once you’ve completed the sale. You can also be victims of mistrust of competitors who sully the entire industry category (wanna buy a time share, anyone?) Challenge is, do your blunders (or those of your competitors) create so much damage that bridges are burned and cannot be repaired? And, if that happens, is it worth trying to build brand new bridges to recover from the mess?

Hard to say — the cost of recovering a truly damaged brand may be so great that you may be better off just shutting up shop for good. (You can’t really restart under a new ‘brand’ unless you are truly careful and have exceptional controls — because former clients will sooner-or-later link the old with the new. This is why “rebranding” initiatives are so challenging.)

I think the best way to restore trust is to simply do things right going forward, and without fawning or sucking up to your former clients who may have grown to distrust you, to show them through your deeds rather than your words that you’ve really changed your ways.

This can be a long and potentially expensive process (think of BP and the gulf oil spill).

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