How often do you say the ‘S’ word? To your partner at home or to your boss or to your team, or to your customer? Sorry can go a long way. If - that's a big IF - it's heartfelt it can mean a lot and go a long way to address a long queue or slow service. If it doesn't feel genuine, it's worth zero.
London's ‘Evening Standard’ newspaper has been accused of being out of touch with this great city for some time. It's one reason I had not picked it up for years, it had become negative and cynical. So when the title recently got bought by Alexander Lebedev I was pleased to hear the new owner and editor designate acknowledge this fact and declare that under new ownership it would change its style. Today it is re-launching, after a brave ad campaign from McCann Erickson.
Ads saying ‘Sorry For Being Negative’, ‘for losing touch’, ‘for being complacent’ have appeared in tube and train stations around town. Is it just a creative ad campaign or is it a genuine re-engineering of a brand? That is the $6m question but the honesty of a brand that says sorry on a huge billboard at a train station feels pretty serious to me.
Like any marketing campaign or brand promise, the challenge is whether they will live up to that claim and only time will tell in the pages of the newspaper. I’ll tell you that when I pick a copy up this evening...