When can an apology hurt you?

October 26, 2006

I’ve been a strong advocate of being quick to apologize when you have done something wrong–both personally and as a company. I believe people are very willing to forgive when there is a sincere expression of regret and clear communication about how you are changing.

This headline from the Bulldog Reporter (a PR Industry publication) suggests that Sony’s apology over bad batteries has hurt them:

Sony’s Public Apology For Massive Battery Recall Only Amplifies Widespread Impact—And Company’s Ongoing Economic and Technological Crisis

 Read the article, though, and you will see that this headline (like many of us in PR complain about) is badly misleading. It was not the apology that created the problem, it was the fact that it was so late in coming according to the writer.

Messages: late apologies are almost as bad as no apologies at all and 2) bad headline writing even occurs in PR industry publications. (All they would have had to do is say “Sony’s late apology…”

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