When President Mubarak formally stepped down on Friday, the world breathed a sigh of relief. After days of agonizing images, a country living in the tension of a dictatorship, the world watched and waited for hope and freedom. People dying in the streets, all in an effort to secure a better Egypt for the next generation. In the midst of this terrible time, the mega fashion brand, Kenneth Cole sent the following tweet on February 4th:
Suddenly I was embarrassed to be wearing Kenneth Cole flats. I considered going barefoot. In a matter of seconds, the social media world exploded in rage. Seriously?! I cannot even fathom ever, ever, in my most self-centered, self-absorbed mind ever conceive of thinking, let alone saying or publicly publishing such a comment. As I read this, I had to re-read it multiple times because I couldn’t believe it.
Umm… I don’t think you do. If you did you wouldn’t have even tweeted it to begin with. Additionally, I don’t really care what your intentions were. That’s like saying, “I’m sorry you were offended.” The problem with this apology is that it doesn’t take ownership of wrong. They should have said something like, “We apologize for our previous comment and take full responsibility for the situation. It was disrespectful and completely unacceptable.” In short, own it.
Needless to say, this apology was not accepted and no surprise to anyone, a parody Twitter account was created.
Finally, by the end of the day, KC issued yet another apology. Was it sincere? Was it too little to late?
My solution: Issue a sincere apology immediately claiming full responsibility. Announce that a percentage of all proceeds from the spring line will be donated to Amnesty International in an effort to further global human rights (which they appeared to take lightly in an effort to promote your spring line.)
The two edged sword of social media is that it is instant. You have to think before you tweet.
Public relations isn’t much different than our personal relationships. Think of the last time you were in a disagreement, dare I say argument with someone. When you are on the receiving end of an apology, what do you like to hear? What makes it seem sincere? For me, actions speak louder than words. SHOW me you are sorry, don’t just say it.