When should a brand apologize?

The author offers the pros and cons of saying you’re sorry as soon as a crisis strikes. Do you agree with her assertions?

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When I interviewed Frederic Gonzalo, vice president of marketing for Quebec-based resort Le Massif, he said that one of the biggest things Le Massif learned from its social media crisis in 2011 was:

“The power of an apology—we realized it, and we also realized that it should have come earlier.”

The “it should have come earlier” part is a lesson that many brands learn the hard way. Too often it takes brands much too long to realize this simple truth.

So what’s stopping them?

If apologizing and owning up to the mistake has a track record of helping brands overcome a social media crisis, why wait so long and resist so hard in so many cases?

The lawyer’s point of view

Many lawyers will tell you that flat out saying you’re sorry is a legal risk. Instead, they’ll advice you to say something more along the lines of “it’s regrettable,” allowing you to sound sincere while not putting you at legal risk.

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