We all know an insincere apology when we hear one. While a misstep like this can perpetuate an argument or cold shoulder in someone’s personal life, such insincerity in the public sphere can take a billion-dollar corporation out at the knees. A genuine apology, on the other hand, can not only mitigate reputational damage, but actually strengthen a brand.
Alex Kingcott is the president and founder of Shareworthy PR and Communications (and a member of Avenue’s Top 40 Under 40 Class of 2022), who helps companies put out fires and put things right. Kingcott says the key to a successful rebrand is to already have a plan in place.
“When it comes to corporate reputation-repair, everything from PR to legal to HR and investor relations has to be considered,” she says. “Companies need to have a process and a response team ready in case a mistake is made.” She points to YouTube’s The Try Guys’ response to their recent kerfuffle — an unseemly workplace affair — as a watermark of authenticity resulting in widespread empathy and an increased fan base. “They were fast, they were transparent and they showed humility,” she says. “Their videotaped apology reminded their longtime fans why they trusted them and endeared them to new audiences.”
“Rather than take three days to workshop a perfectly crafted apology, see your mistake as an immediate opportunity to show who you really are, even if it means asking for a minute to assess the damage.”