Paula Deen hasn't handled her public relations nightmare very well. But I'm not joining the chorus dissecting her every move and motivation. Instead, I'm sharing a great example of how to respond to a crisis, and apologize and be accountable effectively.
Erik Lars Myers owns Mystery Brewing Company just up the road. Awesome guy who makes awesome beer. But there's been a problem with some of the growlers (those nifty bottles) exploding. Yeah. You can imagine what a buzz kill that would be, and how potentially dangerous, too. Last night, a note arrived in my inbox and was posted on his website. It's a case study in crisis communications because it:
- Clearly and concisely explains the situation and its causes
- Takes responsibility right up front
- Provides a straightforward solution
- Apologizes in an authentic and concise way, not overwrought or forced
- Sounds like a person, not a "statement"
- Builds trust and confidence that Erik's taking the necessary steps
- Makes me proud to have been a Kickstarter supporter, and to buy more Mystery brew
- (Bonus points for the awesome "hotline" email address: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Keep this letter in your files. Some day, you're going to have to write a letter about something that failed and you're going to want to use this as a model. Click the image to see the full text.
Update: Erik has since closed the brewery, but not because of this issue. He's still making terrific beer for another local brewer.