How To Correctly Apologize Online as a Brand

Ronn Torossian
3 min readMar 17, 2024

During a time of amplified voices and instant virality, companies tend to walk a fine line between PR disasters and triumphs. Even a single misstep can be meticulously captured and then dissected in the court of public opinion, which can spiral into a full-blown PR crisis that shatters reputations.

These days, during a time of hyper-connected scrutiny, the art of the online apology is more than just a damage control tool. Apologizing to the public online is the cornerstone of brand survival. The recent controversy surrounding Kyte Baby can serve as an example that shows both the pitfalls of corporate insensitivity, as well as the potential for genuine remorse to pave the road to redemption for this brand.

Lack of empathy

At the heart of the Kyte Baby story is a very simple request. One of the company’s employees, Marissa Hughes, was looking to work remotely while caring for her adopted premature baby. However, the brand denied the request, which was perceived as inflexible and devoid of empathy by the public, which in turn, triggered a backlash.

Social media platforms erupted with accusations of the company prioritizing profit over its people and highlighted the increased social demand for companies to champion family-friendly policies.

The company’s initial response was a scripted video apology. However, this video apology was devoid of any genuine empathy, which only served to fuel the fire further and amplify the image of a brand that’s out of touch with its own values, and the needs of its own employees. To navigate the minefield of online apologies and emerge with their reputations intact, companies can learn a few different things from the brand.

Acknowledging and owning up

The cornerstone of any effective apology is owning up to the mistake, without resorting to excuses or justifications. Dancing around the issue only breeds distrust and fuels criticism. Kyte Baby’s initial attempts at deflection backfired, highlighting the importance of direct and transparent acknowledgment of wrongdoing.


True remorse requires stepping outside the corporate bubble and understanding the impact of the company’s actions on the individuals and communities affected. Kyte Baby’s initial failure to empathize with Hughes’ situation alienated customers and employees, demonstrating the critical need to put human connections at the forefront of crisis communication.


Apologies without tangible action are useless in times like this. Kyte Baby’s initial focus on PR optics without outlining concrete steps to rectify the situation and prevent future occurrences left the public unconvinced. Offering solutions, such as revising parental leave policies and implementing flexible work arrangements, demonstrates a commitment to meaningful change, not just empty promises.


The medium is as important as the message. A heartfelt video message on social media might resonate better than a formal press release, while traditional media channels might be more appropriate for wider public announcements. Understanding the audience and choosing the platform that fosters genuine connection is crucial.


In the digital age, audiences can sniff out insincerity from a mile away. Scripted apologies and corporate jargon ring hollow. Embracing genuine remorse, even if imperfectly expressed, resonates far better than polished but inauthentic pronouncements. Owning up to mistakes with vulnerability and a human touch fosters trust and paves the way for forgiveness.



Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is Chairman & Founder of 5WPR, one of America’s leading & largest PR Agencies and the Author of the best-selling PR book: "For Immediate Release"