It’s amazing to me how many times I pull up my Twitter or Facebook account and see links to stories about an organization, athlete, or celebrity in a public image crisis. Whether it is due to something that was said or an action that was taken by the company or employees, there are several strategies that can be used, from denial, justification, corrective action, to apologies.
What baffles me is how so many times an apology is given, without sincerity and clear indication that the only reason “sorry” is being stated, is because they believe that will help their reputation, not because they actually feel bad for their words/actions. If they do not actually feel bad for what was said or done, more than likely, it will happen again. When that repeat incident occurs, the public will just be more upset and notice the pattern of behavior.
At the same time, I witness corporations doing and saying anything to justify their behavior, or stating who else is to blame, but not apologizing and stating how they are correcting the issue. I believe many times this is due to legal reasons, and not wanting to seem liable and at fault due to being scared of lawsuits, when in reality, admitting fault and saying sorry could be the exact response needed to reduce the number of lawsuits. Sometimes, all the victims or publics need to hear is “I/We are at fault, we’re sorry, and this is what we are doing to make sure it won’t happen again.”
Take the time to evaluate why your audience is upset and whether or not you are sincerely sorry about what happened. If you feel justified, stick by your values and explain why you don’t feel guilty. If you are sorry, take the time to deliver an apology that is honest and heartfelt, and exactly what is being done to correct the misdeeds.