A Rash of Brand Apologies – Or Are They?

brand apologies

Brands mess up all the time. That’s nothing new. But in the light of Wells Fargo, Uber, Starbucks, and Facebook creating massive marketing campaigns to do what….ask for our forgiveness? Should we “forgive” such indiscretions or will our “forgiveness” just lead to repeating of bad behavior?

Let’s first get one thing clear, none of the current brands (Wells Fargo, Facebook, or Uber) are actually asking for our forgiveness in their brand apologies, statements, and campaigns. They aren’t even really admitting that they did wrong. And nor are they saying two simple words “I’m sorry.”

Brand Forgiveness?

This idea of “brand forgiveness” is a trend just like having brands push their social causes even if it isn’t smart for their bottom lines. These are marketing strategies first and foremost. Similar to your dog wanting to cuddle after they got caught shredding your favorite silk blouse, these brands want your love, not your forgiveness.

A few years ago, Chipotle did something similar by offering free food after their numerous supply line contamination scares. These brands want you to get back to what you were doing before and forget about all this stuff because it really wasn’t “THAT” big of a deal.

All of these brands are trying to use your biology and subconscious patterns against you and to their advantage. Because they know the sooner you keep using Facebook, keep using Uber, and keep depositing your money at Wells Fargo that in the end the negative press will die down and life will go back to normal for the businesses. These brands are betting on the fact that their service is ingrained in your life. They are using your natural biology to change and our natural desire for consistency to their bottom line advantage. These brands are hoping you don’t have the willpower or time to change your ways.

No Accidents Here . . .

And then there is the elephant in the room with the regards to these scandals. None of them was a surprise to the companies. The practices that came into question were known and approved by numerous people within each organization. They just got caught. That is what the surprise is.

This is why you see these marketing campaigns, not apology campaigns. And if you listen closely, they only say that are going to “do things differently” which is marketing code for “not get caught the next time.” Their words are quite intentional.

So what are you to do as a consumer?

As consumers, we have to be just as intentional with our actions, words, and money as these brands are with theirs. If we find nothing wrong with the actions of a company then choose to keep doing business with them. If you think their malice was wrong and it isn’t in alignment with what you stand far – then choose to stop doing business with them. Choose with how you spend your free time. Choose with how and where you spend and invest your money. But choose.

Don’t fall for the tactics these brands are trying to play. Don’t let these companies manipulate your biology and subconscious programming to their advantage. Make a choice just like these brands did when they put their bottom lines before their “beloved” audiences – you.

This guest post was authored by Ali Craig

Ali Craig is an international consultant, speaker, 3x best-selling author, television host, and brand strategist. Having worked with everyone from industry titans to underdogs, Ali has found that her passion lies in helping small brands take action to make large ideas doable and create an influential brand that shines.

With 20 years of branding experience, Ali shares her knowledge across international stages, with national media audiences, and on her television show, Fix My Brand With Ali Craig™. Her Neuro Human Branding™ method weaves science, psychology, design, and human nature into an easy to apply system that any brand can use to grow their audience’s connections, conversions, and community. Ali’s energy and expertise shine through in her monthly articles in EmpiHER™ Magazine, and guest contributions in the Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post, and The New York Daily News.

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