In praise of a brilliant apology strategy: Saying all in three words


No one likes to apologize for mistakes, especially for particularly public, smelly, embarrassing errors already flaunted and publicized by others who flog it into a full-blown crisis.

But praise to The Atlantic magazine for reaching the height of brevity and speed — keys to superior crisis management.

“We screwed up,” is what the editors wrote, mere hours after the error. Classic.

The magazine’s website yesterday posted a “sponsored” entry about the Church of Scientology, which some people accuse of not being a church at all, but a scam and fraud — and worse. The entry, although marked as an ad, looked like a story.

Readers of the web site could easily think the story represented Atlantic’s thorough journalism and been scammed as a result.

The post was gone a few hours later and the apology followed. But how fast in our social media world do these mistakes gain traction? Look what the Onion did with it, thanks to my EMA colleague John Lacey:

SPONSORED: The Taliban Is A Vibrant And Thriving Political Movement

The Atlantic maintains its reputation for being a smart publication and does what too few other organization

The content of this blog is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It originates with Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and in four top editor positions at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower + Associates, one of the nation’s largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agencies, with seven offices in the Northeast and Southeast. Learn more about EMA at http://www.mower.com. Steve’s blog is based on his own opinions and does not represent the views or positions of Eric Mower + Associates.

s seem to able to bring themselves to: They quickly apologized.

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About steveoncrisis

The content is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It comes from Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and as managing editor and editorial page editor at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower and Associates, one of the nation's largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agency with six offices in the Northeast and Southeast.
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