You may recall at least the first few lines of Eliot’s spirited essay on Neil Boorman’s brand-burning rebirth. Mr. Boorman, loosely described, felt saddled with an unhealthy brand attachment. This brand attachment had, in his personal assessment, tossed his priorities askew, isolated him from authentic human connections, and befouled what should have been a generally fulfilling life of unicorns and pillow fights.
Sure, Mr. Boorman’s melodramatic, fiery response may be best performed by moody, avant-garde artists named terrancE. And in some circles, his reputation may even suffer because of it. But for the nefarious cable providers, an earnest effort to confront and purge their faults and transgressions may be the only thing that can save their reputation from the unretractable rectal skewer of public opinion.
When the situation has grown dire enough — as often precedes revelation — and if enough havoc has been sown, the response is naturally as dramatic. The humbled alcoholic pours out the last of his bottles, the introspective few burn their what-have-I-become selves in sooty penance. In the case of the former, those closest to them (ideally) become a supportive component of this transformation. After all, humans are faulty, fragile creatures, and surely understanding and forgiveness will soon require reciprocation.
The cable providers already know the color of their cardinal sin. It’s customer service chartreuse. [Witness their newish, industry-wide "We're Great, Really" campaign, wherein they extol the job-creating prowess of the communications megaliths. That the campaign is both self-fellating and utterly unrelated to the reason people hate their cable providers is both insulting and incompetent.]
So, could a corporation effectively write their transgression on a piece of paper and throw it into the fire? Could a personal, authentic apology from cable providers elicit forgiveness and support — or at least, patience as the rehabilitation process commences? This blog post suspects so. Consider the effect of a brief, handwritten apology from a CableCo. CSR, a free month of service and a promise to make things better. That sounds to this blog post like a downright human way of handling a(n almost laughable series of) major-league corporate f*ckup(s). At least, it’d be a fine first of twelve steps.
One of the advantages of humanizing a company is the willingness of people to accept and forgive human imperfection. This of course has its limits. The litigious legions pounce upon acknowledgement of fault like truckers on late-night flapjacks. And a maltreated lot will forever see reparations as too-little-too-late. But for PR benefit alone, little would rival this public display of humility: “I’m your Cable Provider, and I have a problem with customer service.”