It’s been nearly 40 years since the introduction of New Coke. Remember that? It was introduced with big hopes because New Coke had actually beaten both Pepsi and Classic Coke in head to head taste tests. But once it hit the market, it crashed. Sales spiked at first because it was something novel, and people were willing to give it a shot, but the nose dive soon began.
But kudos to the company. Once they realized they had made a mistake, they quickly turned the ship. In only 77 days, they re-stocked stores across the country with Coke Classic, and then company President Donald Keough even followed up with an actual appearance on national TV admitting they were wrong.
People were so happy with Coke’s quick response, sales and market share increased dramatically.
The lesson? Mistakes happen, even when all the research and planning looks positive. But when for whatever reason you realize the error, fix it fast. Assure your customers or donors you realize what happened, and are working to make a change. The worst thing you can do is hide, be vague, or pretend it never happened.
When it comes to integrity and credibility, there’s nothing quite as reassuring to the public as admitting the mistake, making corrections, and taking responsibility.
I just wish politicians understood that principle.