Sorry is the Hardest Word


In recent weeks, celebrities like Giuliana Rancic and Benedict Cumberbatch have found themselves in the wrong kind of spotlight for remarks that the public found to be in poor taste. While the history of the public mea culpa has long been documented, it is not solely reserved for celebrities and public figures.  At times, brands will find themselves in situations where a public apology is all but required. Whether it is the result of a customer service blunder, a product launch delay, an error in product manufacturing or simply a misguided tweet, there are moments when brands are faced with the decision of having and how to apologize to customers.

Should one find themselves in the situation where an apology is required, there are a few tactics that should always be kept top of mind. The apology must be authentically remorseful. Take responsibility for what you have done and provide acknowledgment that a mistake has been made. Transparency is a word often tossed around in the PR world, but in this scenario it is truly important for brands to be honest with consumers about the situation – what really happened, how do you plan to fix the problem and how do you plan to make sure the same problem doesn’t happen again.  An effective apology ensures that the same mistake won’t be repeated.

At the end of the day, every brand will have to consider their own unique circumstances to determine the best course of action. Not every situation calls for a public apology. However, with every mistake, there is always an opportunity for brands to learn and grow. They can and should use these opportunities to reconnect with consumers and show them why they became loyal to the brand in the first place.