Can You Win Back A Scorned Evangelist?

We all know how important brand evangelists are to the success of our company. An enthused evangelist will defend your brand to the death, talk about you to their friends, support you in blog entries and deep inside comments, and let their excitement for you spill over into everything they do and get others excited by association. But what happens when you lose these people? Can you ever really win them back?

I’m in a bit of an emotional pit this afternoon as I brand that I loved and bid farewell to now wants to make amends. It’s been more than two months since we parted ways, and the new face running the ship wants to reach out. I’m hearing words like “re-engage,” “our history,” and “trust,” and I’m wondering if it can be done. Suppose it’s really possible to win back someone who put all their trust in you and then watched as you threw it away.

To be honest, I’m not sure it’s possible, but given the power evangelists hold, wise companies will at least try. Here are some tips from a scorned brand evangelist about working your way back into the heart of someone who loved you.

  • Own Up To Your Mistake: You did something to make that dedicated brand evangelist turn away and denounce your company. What was it? If you don’t know, make sure you find out directly from them what it was. Don’t insult them by assuming. Once you know, apologize. And mean it. Explain how the situation occurred, how sorry you are that they felt hurt/betrayed/lied to/abandoned and then explain why it will never happen again. If you don’t know how to keep similar situations from occurring, recruit them to help you. Show them that they’re a valuable part of your organization.
  • Create An Honest Dialogue: Sure, the goal is to win the evangelist back but you’re only going to be able to accomplish that with complete honesty. This isn’t some fair-weather fan you isolated; this was someone who trusted your brand and put their faith in you. This is someone who spoke out on your behalf to others and caused people to give you a second glance. You owe it to them to be completely transparent. If you’re not, they’ll be able to tell and they’ll feel even more insulted and irate than before. They’ll probably also be less likely to stop talking about how much they hate you. There’s really nothing worse than a pissed off former brand evangelist, is there?
  • Calm Their Fears: Now that the initial trust has been broken, you’re going to have to work ten times as hard to get it back. It’s not going to be accomplished in a single phone call or even through several email strings. It’s going to take time and a lot of effort on your part. It’s up to you to calm their fears and answer any question they may have. You may find that several heart-to-heart phone calls may do the trick or, if it makes sense, maybe it’s a better idea to fly the person out to headquarters and let them get a taste of the brand they loved. Remind them what they were fighting for.
  • Get them Excited Again: You need your brand evangelists to support you, but what are you giving them? Why should they take you back and invest their energy in you? Give them a reason to believe. Show them why they’ll be proud to be on your team.

Winning back a lost brand evangelist is really about earning their trust and proving that you’re still a company worth believing in.

Would you be able to take back a brand that betrayed your trust the first time around? What lengths would they have to go to in order to prove how important you were to them? I don’t know if the brand that let me down will ever be able to win me back, but it’s something I continue to think about.

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FAQ: Can I win back a brand that betrayed my trust?

Trust is the foundation upon which success is built. But what happens when that trust is betrayed? Is it possible to rebuild and regain customers’ loyalty who have felt let down by a brand? In this article, we’ll explore the intricate dynamics of trust in the context of branding and provide insightful tips on how you can win back a brand that has betrayed your trust.

Understanding the Trust Dynamic

Trust can be hard won and difficult to regain once lost, which often occurs as a result of broken promises, service or product failures, or scandals. To restore it quickly and successfully, brands must acknowledge what went wrong and learn where things have gone awry.

The Road to Redemption

  1. Apologize Sincerely: A sincere apology is the first step. Acknowledge the wrongdoings, express genuine remorse, and assure customers that you are committed to making amends.
  2. Transparency is Key: Rebuild trust through transparency. Share your plans for change, improvements, and how to prevent future issues.
  3. Deliver Consistent Quality: To rebuild trust, ensure your products or services meet or exceed customer expectations. Demonstrating this commitment over time is essential.
  4. Open Communication Channels: Create a feedback loop that allows customers to voice their concerns and opinions. Act on their feedback to show you value their input.
  5. Rebuild Your Brand Image: A rebranding strategy may be necessary to distance your brand from past mistakes and create a fresh, trustworthy image.

Regaining Customer Confidence

  1. Offer Incentives: Provide special offers, discounts, or exclusive deals to loyal customers to show appreciation for their continued support.
  2. Educate and Inform: Show that your brand is dedicated to educating customers. Share informative content, guides, and expert insights relevant to your industry.
  3. Community Engagement: Get involved in community projects or support a cause that aligns with your brand’s values. Demonstrate your commitment to social responsibility.

Long-Term Trust Building

  1. Consistency Over Time: Rebuilding trust takes time. Stay consistent in your efforts to maintain the trust you’ve regained.
  2. Monitor and Adapt: Continuously monitor customer sentiment and feedback. Be prepared to adapt your strategy based on changing perceptions.
  3. Leverage Influencers: Partner with trusted influencers who can vouch for your brand’s credibility.
  4. Tell Success Stories: Share stories of how your brand has positively impacted customers’ lives, highlighting the positive change your brand can bring.

Regaining trust after it has been betrayed is a complex process, but it is possible with dedication and transparency. Regaining trust can be challenging after losing it, but not impossible. Follow these steps and demonstrate dedication to correcting things if they have been violated. Trust is one of the most valued aspects of a brand’s value proposition, so its restoration can increase customer brand loyalty.

Step-by-Step Procedure for Winning Back Trust

  1. Apologize sincerely for past mistakes.
  2. Be transparent about your intentions to make amends.
  3. Ensure consistent quality in your products or services.
  4. Open communication channels for customer feedback.
  5. Consider a rebranding strategy if necessary.
  6. Offer incentives to loyal customers.
  7. Share informative content relevant to your industry.
  8. Engage in community projects or support a cause.
  9. Maintain consistency in your efforts.
  10. Monitor customer sentiment and adapt your strategy.
  11. Leverage influencers to rebuild credibility.
  12. Share success stories to highlight the positive impact of your brand on customers’ lives.

By following these steps, you can effectively rebuild trust with a brand that has betrayed your trust, creating a more robust and loyal customer base in the long run.

This article was updated on December 5, 2023. 

Lisa Barone is a writer, content marketer & VP of strategy at Overit Media. She's also a very active Twitterer, much to the dismay of the rest of the world.

See Lisa's author page for links to connect on social media.

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One Reply to “Can You Win Back A Scorned Evangelist?”

Lisa, might you have summed up your first bullet point as follows?

Just “Ask!”

Sorry, couldn’t resist.


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