J.C. Penney launched a 30-second apology advertisement. This is rare. I give them credit for offering a mea culpa. However, they have much more work to do going forward. Our research showed that in order to convey sincerity to all types of listeners, public apologies should include these 5 parts:
1. Expressing regret- Saying “I’m sorry for the hurt I’ve caused”
2. Accepting responsibility- Saying “I was wrong.”
3. Making restitution- Asking, “What can I do to make things right?
4. Genuinely repenting- Stating how you will change so you will not do it again.
5. Requesting forgiveness- Asking, “Will you please forgive me?”
What did J.C. Penney say in their ad?
“’It’s no secret, recently JC Penney changed. Some changes you liked, and some you didn’t. But, what matters with mistakes is what we learn. We learned a very simple thing: to listen to you, to hear what you need to make your life more beautiful. Come back to JC Penney. We heard you. Now we’d love to see you.”
They admitted to making mistakes, our 2nd language of apology, but they were too vague. We are left wondering:
- Are you really sorry for your ads that were too risque?
- How will you make it up to your customers?
- How will things be different?
- How much does J.C. Penney really care?