This post is a result of an insight from a post by Randy Brasche. What I liked most in this post is on how the blogger has vividly demonstrated on the power of modern communication technology to fuel a crisis to unpredictable level and how the same technology can act as a solution to the crisis itself. This is a call to companies and organizations to remain alert and modernize their crisis communications plans. However, this post has left much to be desired especially when it comes to other means which can be applied to find a solution to a crisis. Depending on the nature of the crisis, a combination of various strategies can bear more fruits rather than relying on one strategy.
I therefore put forth “Public apology” as one of the effective antidotes, which can be applied in managing a crisis.
Public apology is an act of acknowledging failures resulting from a public scandal by a company or organization, which affects the public interest. It is a sincere sorry to what happened, a sign of concern and accountability to the effects of the scandalous action or event.
What is to consider most is to be honest enough and avoid covering up the truth behind the cause of the crisis. In some instances, attempts to conceal the evidence of the error and wrong done to the public by the company or organization end up in being interpreted by the public as spinning, thus making the issue more complicated.
However, public apology requires natural skills in addition to Public relations skills. So, the right choice of a right speaker is also an important aspect. If not well done, it worsens the situation and thus causes more harm to the company or organization. A well planned public apology includes among other things, some key aspects such as sincerity, transparency, responsibility on the harm caused by the company or organization, humility and readiness to make restitution to alleviate the virulence of the crisis to the public.
Apology helps to rebuild the name of the company and regain its reputation. It should be timely and wholeheartedly. Superficial public apology can create more crises and can hardly revive the lost trust of the public towards the company or organization. If the harm was so devastating, rebuilding of the company by changing its name, its logo and by restructuring of its leadership, etc can be, in some extreme cases, a good resort. It is always the role of Public relations department to be proactive in screening any potential blunder which can create a crisis.
In short, since any crisis is harmful to the well-being of the company or organization and can lead to its downfall, it is good to keep in mind that, the costs for prevention are affordable compared to the costs for remedy.