Marketing Doctor John Tantillo’s Winner and Loser of The Week
Winner: Spirit Airlines
Loser: Yahoo (CEO)
Folks, the worst thing a brand can do is refuse to apologize.
Your Target Market will forgive many things but a persistent inability or unwillingness to say sorry can be fatal to a brand.
Spirit Airline’s CEO, Ben Baldanza, was reminded of this after a week of refusing to apologize and refund money to a dying Vietnam War vet.
Why is he the winner?
Because after a week, Baldanza did the right thing and not only that he apologized robustly –no half-hearted sorry for the Spirit CEO.
His statement didn’t pull any punches:
“Sometimes we make mistakes. In my statements regarding
Mr. Meekins’ request for a refund, I failed to explain why our policy
on refunds makes Spirit Airlines the only affordable choice for so many
travelers, and I did not demonstrate the respect or the compassion that I
should have, given his medical condition and his service to our
The bottom line is that it is never too late to apologize and the bigger and bolder and more sincere your apology, the better.
Don’t only say sorry; really mean it and in meaning it, your brand will become better.
Everybody probably takes some liberties with their resumes, trying to cast their experience (or lack of it) in the best light.
But folks, what Scott Thompson, CEO of Yahoo, seems to have done goes well beyond the pale: apparently he never received a degree his resume, SEC filings and official company bio have claimed that he did.
He says he’s sorry that this issue has prevented the company from moviing forward, but so far no one has been fired and Yahoo seems to be muddying the water with a lengthy review.
This is a case, if the allegations are true, that sorry won’t fix. Thompson will have to go and Yahoo will have to explain how he was hired in the first place and why the person they will replace him with and the policies they institute are worthy of trust and will restore the brand.
Perhaps there are some people out there who think it doesn’t matter that he might have lied about his resume –but my position is that brands –personal or corporate– must be solid. Lying isn’t the way to get there.
And remember, it’s always easier when you keep marketing and branding in mind.
TODAY’S TANTILLO TAKEAWAY: It is never too late to apologize.