Good news! Consumers are forgiving.

According to the 2019 Aflac CSR Survey 72% of consumers are willing to forgive a company’s bad behavior, defined as knowingly selling defective products, tolerating sexual harassment, and/or issuing fraudulent financial information

Whether unethical or illegal behavior, consumers understand that mistakes happen. Be cautious as consumer forgiveness should not be taken for granted. 

Your business is being watched. More consumers and investors research companies prior to making a purchase. 41% of millennials and 27% of Gen X put significant effort into researching a company’s role in improving our communities.

Be sure there isn’t a pattern of bad behavior to be found when consumers research your business. Follow any missteps with a sincere effort to improve and invest in your community.

One or two incidents of bad behavior may be overlooked. Consumers will not overlook repeated transgressions. 

If your business hasn’t yet experienced any public wrongdoings, consider yourself lucky. This is an opportunity to implement a preemptive social impact program with corporate philanthropy, employee volunteer days, or sustainability efforts to build good will.  Think of it as a way to inoculate your business. When the community associates your brand with social good, forgiveness comes easier.

Accidents happen. We can’t control for every variable, but if  there has been a recent discovery of bad behavior within the ranks, employ a strategic social impact program to improve any resulting negative perceptions among stakeholders. Convey to consumers, employees, investors, and the community that the misstep was a one-time incident and explain your corrective course of action. 

Consumers’ willingness to forgive is great news in today’s cancel culture. It is also an opportunity to build a reputation to protect your business while also aiding in the process of forgiveness should you need it. 

Mistakes are bound to happen. Get ahead of negative perceptions. Start your good works now.