The Art of the Corporate Apology Video

By now we are all familiar with the apology video—we can likely even recall apologies that seemed heartfelt and others that completely missed the mark.

There are great examples of how an apology video went well, like Australia’s Qantas airlines apology from a new CEO that included steps forward. It was received well by the press and customers.

And there are bad examples like the Kyte Baby CEO having to issue two apology videos because the first one was very scripted and came off as insincere.

From a crisis communications strategy standpoint there are a few reasons why we have seen an increase in these types of videos:

  1. Brands, organizations, and individuals are being more transparent around issues and are willing to acknowledge when they’ve made a mistake.
  2. Customers and followers expect a response and likely won’t be satisfied until they receive one. Just recently, Kellogg’s felt the heat intensify in a crisis situation by going radio silent after their CEO said in an interview that individuals and families struggling with rising food costs should eat cereal for dinner. Press coverage and negative social media chatter has only increased with the lack of response.
  3. The tactic of recording a video strikes the balance between control and sincerity. There are a lot of different avenues for delivering a message—at one end of the control spectrum is a written statement and the other is a live press conference/media interview. A pre-recorded video sits in the middle of the control spectrum and hits that sweet spot of perceived sincerity. It can be re-recorded if the individual in the video makes a mistake, and it is more personable than a statement.

With these benefits, the apology video has increasingly become a tool of choice in the communicator’s toolbox when a crisis arises. However, not all apology videos are equal. At Padilla, we’ve worked with clients to record video apologies/statements that deliver the right message in the right way to the audiences negatively impacted. Here are some thoughts and observations from our Crisis Communications and Critical Issues team:

If you’re looking for more insights and best practices from media interviews to presentation coaching to recording an apology video, our PadillaPrep coaching program has you covered. Feel free to reach out and I would be happy to discuss.

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