When it comes to public relations some aspects are common sense, although sadly not always commonly applied. We can all think of past disasters after which the corporate leadership did very little to handle with finesse and sensitivity. That is why it is refreshing when a company takes ownership for its mistakes and genuinely expresses an apology to its customers. That is exactly what Samsung did recently concerning the unsafe batteries in its Galaxy Note7, and they did it well.
Gregory Lee (president and CEO) published in major newspapers, a full-page apology letter that included all the right components. Lee directly addressed the defective, unsafe batteries in the Galaxy Note7. He clearly apologized for the situation. He reaffirmed the company’s commitment to quality, reliability, and safety, and he explained what was being done to ensure that this kind of a problem does not reoccur.
Yes, I realize that it is easy to be cynical about these sorts of communications. However, what I cannot deny is the way I felt after I read his letter. His letter definitely comes across as genuine. Now anyone can choose to judge the man’s soul. I’m afraid that is above my pay grade. I am willing to take Mr. Lee at his word unless and until someone can prove my trust is misplaced.
In a world in which we are always mentoring the next generation, I offer the thought that Samsung has given us a great example of the right way to manage our mistakes. The more we can demonstrate that individually and corporately, the better off we will all be.