PR expert gives a fascinating insider breakdown of what goes into a celebrity public apology
"The words that you use need to rebuild and not create more agitation online."
At this point in time we're all pretty familiar with celebrity public apologies. Some big name makes a misstep, people ensure the celebrity sees their outrage and within a few days there's a public apology that feels sincere...sort of.
Then there are those that clearly either didn't listen to their PR people or decided to side step them. Those particular PR-less apologies feel disastrous and typically makes things much worse.
The truth of the matter is, people generally aren't taught how to apologize appropriately. Sure as little kids our grown-ups would say things like, "tell your brother you're sorry," sometimes guiding us to name what we are sorry for but that's about it. As you age your infractions evolve from apologizing for hitting your sibling with a toy to something more egregious like accidentally offending an entire community.
But with social media making viral celebrities every day, regular people are given the same opportunity to need to apologize publicly - minus the PR team. That's where Molly McPherson steps in.
Nothing about issuing a public apology sounds in any way delightful. It sounds terrifying, nausea inducing and honestly a bit humiliating to have messed up in such a public way that calls for public atonement. Since most regular folks on social media don't have PR people whispering in their ear, McPherson uses the recent public apology of an influencer to breakdown where they went wrong and how you should handle it. The video should probably be saved on every influencers phone, sort of like a "break in case of emergency" type of thing.
Lunden and Olivia who had been deemed #RelationshipGoals by their social media followers recently got into hot water after Lunden's old tweets surfaced showing frequent use of a racial slur. The firestorm swirled while they were on their honeymoon leaving them a PR disaster to return to. McPherson had a lot to say about what it's like to be in the room with the person needing to apologize before diving into the apology video the duo released.
"There's going to be a lot of denial and a lot of anger." McPherson says before pointing to Olivia's face on a green screen behind her. "This face, that's the face of anger. They're angry and they should be because someone curiously timed the drop on Reddit, those tweets, to hit the algorithm just as they were headed off to their honeymoon."
She goes on to explain that in many cases, the people she's working with either know who leaked the information or have a good idea of who leaked it. This is likely why there seems to be a disconnect between visible emotions and what's being said.
How to Craft a Social Media Apology: Lessons from Lunden + Olivia. Ever wonder how to gracefully deliver an online apology? A brief masterclass breaking down the do’s and dont’s of crafting an apology that works. Mistakes happen, but knowing how to correct them helps with the bounce back. #lundenandolivia #lundenstallings #tweets #crisiscommunication #prlady #pr #prcrisis #socialmedia #fyp #socialmediacrisis #influencer #greenscreen #masterclass
"It's not just understanding what you're going through but also understanding what the aggrieved parties are going through," McPherson states.
The purpose of understanding these initial parts of the apology process and implementing them is to set yourself up to regain trust later. McPherson then goes further in breaking down Lunden's apology step-by-step and providing further expert feedback on what to do differently. The entire video is eye opening on the behind the scenes dissection of the "perfect apology."