Why buying forgiveness doesn’t work

Samsung, Under Armour and Deutsch Bank responded to crises by printing apology ads in major publications. This communicator says the tactic is a ‘Brand Aid,’ not good PR.

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Over the last year, Samsung, Under Armour and Deutsche Bank have all issued full-page mea culpas in prestigious publications. Reasons include missteps by a spokesperson, an attempt to control the narrative and choosing to avoid a social media dialogue with consumers.

Though one-way communication might seem like a good short-term solution, long-term brand perception shows otherwise.

In late 2016, Samsung recalled its defective Galaxy Note 7 phones. The company ran a full-page apology letter, signed by its chief executive, inThe Wall Street Journal, New York Times and The Washington Post.

Samsung seemed sincere and appropriately contrite, but consumer confidence remains shaken. A Branding Brand survey of 1,000 U.S. Samsung phone owners revealed that 40 percent would not buy another phone from the company.

In Under Armour’s case, the CNBC interview in which Kevin Plank voiced his support for President Donald Trump deflected attention from negative fourth-quarter earnings and a pending shareholder lawsuit.

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