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You add various phrases to your self-narrative almost every day. The phrases vary from professional to other common words that we use in our day-to-day conversations. But there is a sentence “I am sorry” that doesn’t fit your narrative easily. No one likes to be exposed and when you say you are sorry to someone you feel embarrassed, feel threatened that you will lose the respect, you had earlier in that person's eyes.
Now, for individuals, the stakes are not that high, but for the brand it is. In the world of social media, things slide down from trending to offensive more often than you think.
I understand as a brand you have to keep creating content regularly for maintaining the reputation of your personal brand and sometimes you face a backlash in this process. Content creation is already challenging in the upcoming days, sometimes your creativity will not be appreciated and sometimes you just need to accept that you created something against the ethics.
The minute you decide to apologize, it all begins to fall back in place, maybe it takes some time but you can make your audience understand with your thoughtful gestures. But before that let’s understand the system you will adopt for the apology.
Time is an important factor while you prepare yourself for the apology. You need to understand that the sooner you apologize, the better it is for your personal brand. For building your personal brand on social media you have gone through sleepless nights, it is crucial to understand that you need to choose the right time for seeking an apology. But there’s another factor as well, Frank Partnoy, author of Wait: The Art and Science of Delay firmly state that your apology is dependent on the fact how your audience's reaction is, Is it still aggressive? Is it subsiding? So depending on the kind of responses you are getting, choose your time for an apology.
Fortunately, the answer to this question is simpler than the above. Observing the past mistakes committed by various brands I would suggest that if you have caused an offense or a minor issue, then a social media post is more likely the remedy. If you still doubt this you can read the conflict that happened between Apple and Taylor swift. She called out Apple for not paying the independent artists on Itune even when their customers were on the free trial period. What did Apple do? They immediately corrected this by tweeting an apology. Eventually, Apple collaborated with Taylor Swift.
The role of apology in building a trustworthy personal brand is the most effective way to reconnect with your audience. It is said that there are three components to a good apology - sincerity, remorse and change. Ironically most brands get trapped in the first step. What brands need to focus on is it’s completely okay to commit a mistake but then it is also normal to accept your mistake in front of your customers, and what you did either intentionally/unintentionally you genuinely need to show that with your thoughts and actions and the final step is to assure your customers that you are going to work on the issue and change the things that are not aligned with the brand.
In late 2010, OB tampons a product of Johnson and Johnson faced a crisis and the women were in distress, it was becoming a problem for the brand, what they did next, was unexpected. They created a personal Apology video song in which they said sorry in different ways. That video was shared and viewed million times on social media. That crisis was handled most creatively so far.
What I want to say is that you as a brand are experimenting with your content, why not do the same with your apology? Before that do check the degree of inconvenience you have caused to your loyal customers and according to that plan your next strategy.
You are a personal brand but that is under the constant scrutiny of millions of people worldwide.
So when your brand is facing a crisis or something offensive to your consumers, just remember these 3 important things -
1)You are sorry and mean it. Don’t use words like ‘if’ or ‘but’ that will just look like you are making an excuse.
2)It is important to listen to the pain that you caused your consumers and listen to them. They have come a long way with you so show that loyalty to them.
3)Just don’t repeat that mistake, keep the data with you and next time you are in a similar situation go through that information. You are a human who tends to forget easily so make sure you do not repeat the same mistakes.
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