By Jerry Mooney
When Elon Musk admitted that Tesla has shown hubris, he further grew his cult status and reinforced Tesla Motor's Reputation. Nothing is more authentic than admitting you screwed up. It can be an amazing opportunity to revive and grow your business. Too many firms talk about how great they are, how amazing the experience is, how excellent their product is over another; but what happens when they fail to deliver? Well they are perceived as inauthentic.
Tesla Motor's Model X was revealed last year and has been quickly perceived as the best car ever made, regardless of fuel source. Despite this amazing accomplishment, Elon Musk admitted that Tesla probably had too much hubris while creating the Model X. It was amazing! How many CEO’s do that. Can you tell that Elon is a man crush at zenruption yet?
Redemption can and does come with public announcement that maybe you didn't do right for your customers. Just look at Netflix stock now. Yes, they have a great product and yes they botched big time back in 2012 with their announcements of price increases and spinning off their DVD business. While their retraction and reduction of the CEO's pay that fall and winter were not necessarily the extent most would have liked to seefrom them. There was still an impact, though. Subscriber growth and a massive valuation now are a testament to that. Investors would have made hundreds of percent if stock were bought back in 2012 when they admitted mistakes.
Another company that has turned failure into success would include Domino's Pizza with their outstanding ad campaign and redesign of their pizza recipe that they initiated back in 2010. They actually admitted they sucked! Dominos said their pizza tasted like cardboard. Who does that? Now they are one of the top of national pizza chains and growing like crazy.
How many local restaurants do you hear advertising how wonderful and authentic they are only to have a friend or family member tell you how awful the experience or food was? You certainly won’t go see for yourself after you hear that. Believe it or not, actually seeing an add that admits mistakes and shows a change enhances your trust in that company because it is so rarely seen.
We know consumers want authenticity. They want it in the businesses they frequent, the charities they support, the politicians they vote for. The surest path to ruination of perceived authenticity is in denying you have lost your way and refusing to announce it to the world. The flip side is dramatic success and customer appreciation if you do.
The hardest thing to do as you walk this path is in realizing and admitting to where your firm went wrong in the first place. It is easy to attribute sales declines to the economy or a change in consumer preferences, much harder to see where processes or products have failed to deliver. Thus the critical look at your business should always be the first avenue to explain negative change.
Once you do, confront both internally and in your external marketing for the greatest effect.
Jerry Mooney is co-founder and managing editor of Zenruption and the author of History Yoghurt and the Moon. He studied at the University of Munich and Lewis and Clark College where he received his BA in International Affairs and West European Studies. He has taught Language and Communications at a small, private college recently and has owned various businesses, including an investment company that made him a millionaire before the age of 40. Jerry is committed to raising the floor of our world economically and zenrupting the forces that block social and economic justice. He can also be found on Twitter @JerryMooney