How soon should you apologize after making a mistake? Today, tomorrow, or just forget about it because the other party did not even notice your mistake? The fair response would be: as soon as you understand your mistake. It should be prompt, without dillydally, fairly quickly, so that the other party should feel that you really mean it. Any delay could mean that you are apologizing probably because of pressure from the aggrieved party, or you are not honest about your apology.
This applies fairly well in branding and communication. How many times have you seen that strong brands delaying their apology after something went wrong in them? Learn from Tylenol, Similac – just to name a few, on how to apologize and act.
Take the example of Tylenol deaths in 1980s in Chicago, when seven people died after taking Tylenol (a painkiller capsule) that was mysteriously tainted with cyanide! The company figured that, somebody tempered its bottles and sabotaged its reputation by placing those tainted bottles back to the shelf space. The company, which had been a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, recalled all Tylenol capsules from the market. The recall consisted of about 31 million (31×10,00,000) bottles of Tylenol, with a retail value of more than 100 million dollars! This was so because none knew which bottles were tempered and tainted and which ones were not. The company also alerted nationwide for not consuming Tylenol until it clears the investigation. Once cleared, along with re-branding campaign for Tylenol, the brand recovered from this crisis in less than a year, by gaining a big chunk of market share that was lost due to the disaster. Indeed, an amazing story of apology and action. Click to read another story like this. We hope others would apologize for their mistakes, even though this is not the case always (click here).