Tag Archives: apology

Sorry! We Want Your Business!

6 May
Artist: Banksy. Photo by Duncan Hull via Flickr. Used with permission.

Artist: Banksy. Photo by Duncan Hull via Flickr.
Used with permission.

Does a corporate apology for marketing really mean anything?

There’s been a lot of apologizing going on lately. The most recent example I’ve noticed is JC Penny, doing a whopping 180-degree about-face on the actions of their former CEO Ron Johnson, having to do with their new approach to marketing (no sales, just fair prices). That CEO’s former company? Apple.

Apple also did an apology for its Maps product a while back. This would have been unthinkable with Steve Jobs at the helm, but those days are over. For what it’s worth, I’ve used Apple maps in NYC, Los Angeles, and many U.S. cities in between without fail. But I can’t remember the last time I purchased anything from a JC Penny. And it’s one of the anchor stores at the local mall.

The Verdict? Yawn.

My thinking on apologies from large companies is, “ho-hum.” My heart goes out to the PR teams and corporate communicators who are charged with carrying these out, but I’m far more interested in hearing what’s going to be done about the situation, and getting on with that. At least in the case of Makers’s Mark, it resulted in something (though I still wonder if this was a stunt). Sure, it’s nice to hear an apology, and in these days of greater corporate accessibility via social media, it isn’t altogether inappropriate. But I think what really matters is getting back to business.

What do you think? Do the actions of JC Penny or Apple or any company’s apology for their missteps get your attention? Are there any examples of this being extremely effective? Let us hear from you in the comments.

 

Apple Apologizes for Maps. Incredible.

28 Sep

Apparently, Apple isn’t completely deaf to the chorus of boos over its new Maps application. This morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook issued a formal apology letter to customers for the disappointing performance of the company’s iOS Maps app, the replacement for the highly-functional-yet-made-by-the-enemy Google Maps. PR done right, I say. See what you think:

Letter from Apple CEO Tim Cook apologizing for Apple Maps app.

I’m impressed with Cook’s candor and the fact that this letter even exists at all. As the letter itself notes, world-class products are the company’s focus – not recommending the competition (!!!). I’m not an Apple fanboy, but given the company’s monolithic, top-down communication style, secrecy of product development, and oft-stated focus on being the best, this is truly remarkable, even becoming a trending topic on Twitter.

Maybe the company has learned its lessons from the iPhone 4 antennagate debacle and China manufacturing coverage? As the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones noted earlier this year, “Perhaps a subtle shift in Apple’s PR strategy under its new leader is already under way.” Now it seems there’s more evidence of this being the case.

Let’s hope they’re as swift to actually improve the Maps app. Given this sensible PR move and the other obvious improvements of the iPhone5 and iOS6, I’m optimistic.

What do you think? Was Apple right to recommend the competition and come clean? Or is it too little too late? Have you used the new Maps app successfully, or has it left you directionally baffled? Let us hear from you in the comments.
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