Sony’s main PR focus seems to be based around apologetics.The latest PR flub in the Sony company “showcase of apologies” comes with the news story in MediaBuyerPlanner that ran today. Sony had to take down billboards in the Netherlands for its new white Playstation and issued an apology.
This news story prompted me to do a Google search with two words – Sony Apologizes and I was somewhat shocked to see what I’ve termed a “showcase of apologies” in the last several months the company has had to create.
What can be learned from this lesson of bottom-line sorrowfulness? Don’t get greedy, and work congruently with your team of PR folks and marketing folks at the same table. Literally!
Someone on the Sony PR team at some point must be feeling as though they’re not being heard. Who is keeping the internal and rather large spreadsheet at this point of “apologies” and has not yet pointed out to Sony that the long-term PR damage for numerous apologies is often irreversible.?
The key to not spending all your time apologizing comes in being smart enough to not execute marketing or advertising initiatives that are going to be repellant to your potential customers or the masses overall.
While it’s good to step up to the plate and apologize. Don’t count on people being too accepting of these apologies when it becomes a regular thing. Don’t let it be a part of your long-term PR strategy that you will engender goodwill by apologizing once weekly about something stupid that your company has done.
Journalists follow national headlines, so any time your company consistently is covered with headlines that start out “Company Apologizes” then you can be certain those kind of news stories will become destructive to your long-term PR initiatives.
My advice is to make certain at your company no matter what the size that everyone is working together for the greater good of PR. I had a very close PR guru friend, Ian Gertler of Symplegades who recently reminded me that PR is not only about gaining awareness but also to “ideally to target potential areas of new business.”
It’s hard to attract new business if your consistently apologizing. After all, how many of you are attracted to people or companies who start out every story with, “I’m sorry but…”.