Why sorry seems to be the hardest word: the art of apology


In the new novel, “A Thousand Pardons,” the protagonist (stay-at-home mom turned professional crisis communicator) urges her clients to apologize honestly and sincerely for their misdeeds. No dancing around the subject, no past passive exonerative (“mistakes were made”), nothing too clever by half.  Just a humble “I’m sorry. I did a bad thing. I will make up for it.”  They listen—because they have no choice—and surprisingly it works. For their careers and hers.

In a parallel universe, JC Penney has come forward and admitted the error of its ways (pricing, merchandising, shopping ambiance) with a new campaign that urges its consumers to give them another chance. “Come back to JCPenney. We heard you. Now, we’d love to see you.” The appeals are heartfelt, the commercials are lovely to look at and they appear to be rebuilding their business (the recent Michael Graves tea kettle misfortune notwithstanding).

An apology articulately stated and artfully delivered can go a long way in repairing a  brand’s damaged interest or restoring consumer confidence. On the other hand, there are just some predicaments that not even an apology, however authentic, can overcome. Anthony Weiner, comes to mind. As Frank Bruni wondered in his June 2 opinion column in the NYT, “are voters ready for a mayor whose assets have been as visible as yours?”

The candidate and his apologists will soon find out.

10 Responses to Why sorry seems to be the hardest word: the art of apology

senior pictures dallas says: February 13, 2014 at 2:36 am

Hey! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog.
Is it very hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast.
I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to begin.
Do you have any tips or suggestions? Thanks

sbod says: February 13, 2014 at 9:37 am

It’s easy and hard–how’s that for an unhelpful answer! The easy part is the actual setting up. WordPress and Tumblr are two widely used blogging platforms that don’t require coding knowledge to launch. The hard part is having something to say and finding your voice. Who do you want to reach? What do they find compelling/useful/relevant? What can you tell them that they can’t find anywhere else? It’s important to articulate a strategy (if only in your head) before you start writing. That will help you with content development/curation and also marketing. You have a nice platform with your film. Think about what ancillary tips and information you can provide that will be appropriate for your readers. Good luck!

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sbod says: March 7, 2014 at 9:28 am

@djnaples, thanks for the kind words. Pls send me a link to your blog so I can look it over before I commit. That work?


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