Owning a Mistake Can Protect a Brand and Make Consumers Happy

Have you ever sent an e-mail to the wrong person?

Have you ever sent an e-mail to the right contact, but forgot to change the name from the last time you copied and pasted the e-mail (PR 101 mistake)?

For the community managers out there, how about sending a tweet from the wrong account? Ouch!

All of those things take your breath away and turn your face ghostly white the moment you’ve realized what you’ve done. After the mistake happens you could go on about your way and ignore it, or, you could own up to the mistake and apologize.
 
That’s exactly what Brooks Brothers recently did and, as a customer, it made me very happy. Take a look at the screen shot of an apology e-mail I recently received. 



 


I saw the e-mail they are referring to, but wrote it off as another retailer not using a targeted e-mail system. I’m constantly amazed at how many times Brand X tries to sell me bras or cute skirts . . . seriously, not my thing.

Anyway, I’ve always known Brooks Brothers to be a classy brand, and for me, owning up to this small mistake really seemed to verify exactly that.

Customers are people, and they not only know mistakes happen, but very much appreciate when you (a business) take the time to own up to something and let them know you are sorry.

In addition to knowing they made a mistake, Brooks Brothers likely also knows the value of having access to a consumer’s e-mail address, and that all it takes is a simple click of the unsubscribe link to lose this point of contact.
 
Own the mistake, apologize for it and rectify it – core PR principles that, in this case, prove to be valuable even if we’re talking about e-mail marketing.

Ryan is Senior Manager, Online Communications, for Ketchum. He’s an avid cyclist and blogger, and is proud of his Southern roots. Feel free to check out his personal website, or connect with him on Twitter – @RyanShell.