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Ooops…Handling Shame.

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If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will have realized by now that if I had to make a living through my typing skills, I would be chronically unemployed. And, autocorrect—so not my friend—is like a ninja, lurking in the dark, waiting to jump out and punish me with errors more heinous than my own.

I used to be mortified when someone pointed out my errors. It’s not like I don’t strive for perfection—in fact, it’s probably because I do—that I find the typos so frustrating. However, I decided that it was time to put on my big girl panties, own up to my humanity, warts and all, let it go and move on. I’ll just keep trying to do better next time.

How companies and brands handle errors and the attendant shame is key to the brand experience. And, of course, the severity of the mistake shapes the response. Here’s an example of something that caught my attention while I was posting a link to my Pinterest for Business page. A technological glitch interfered with me completing my post. Instead of just leaving me wondering what was happening, I got a friendly mea culpa: “Oops, sorry…something went wrong on our end.” That simple communication made me feel good. It wasn’t my fault. It was theirs. And they owned it! Sometimes, it’s little things that have big impact.

As companies run by and interacting with humans, we are ripe with opportunities for the unexpected and undesirable to happen. How we respond colors the opinion constituents form about our brand. Here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind:

People do business with people, warts and all. Be upfront about your shame. Show remorse. Make it right. Show some love. Your brand will survive with flying colors.

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Touching a Nerve: Tapping into the unmet need

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