When facing a reputation crisis, don’t just apologize continually, instead demonstrate a continual change
Kevin Hart recently did an interview where he was once again asked about his previous actions. Here’s a good summary of his reply:
“I’m done with it,” Hart told host Michael Strahan. “It gets no more energy from me. … There’s no more conversation about it. I’m literally over that. I’m over the moment. And I’m about today.”
He continued: “I have explained how I’ve evolved, which makes me say, ‘I’m over it.’ I’m not saying how I’ve changed any more. … I’m not giving no more explanation of who I am. I’ve done it. … You will not hear me saying anything else about it.”
That raises an important reputation strategy: when you face a reputation crisis, apologize sincerely but then turn your efforts to demonstrate that you have changed.
It can be easy to get caught in an “apology-loop” where you are profusely apologizing over and over again. Now, there are certainly some situations where that is needed, but for most reputation roadkill incidents, you should find a platform and audience that will best receive and amplify your apology.
After that, you should spend your time learning from what went wrong. You should spend your resources to re-build your services, products, or character so that it will affirm that you did not merely pay lip-service.
Then you should continue to demonstrate why your stakeholders (customers, media, investors, etc) should once again place their faith and trust in whatever it is you are selling–products, services, or simply “who you are.”
For Kevin Hart, we now wait and watch to see if he’s merely “over it” or has truly “evolved.”