Send 10,000 eyebrow pencils. Why does Hua Xizi get more angry when he apologizes?

Hua Xizi finally appeared.

On September 10th, Li Jiaqi’s phrase "What’s so expensive about 79 yuan" caused a heated discussion among netizens about the price of Hua Xizi’s eyebrow pencil. Nine days after the incident, Hua Xizi’s official Weibo account issued an "apology statement" and launched a prize collection in Weibo, planning to send out 100 beauty gift boxes and 10,000 eyebrow pencils.

Source: Hua Xizi official Weibo

However, for this belated letter, many netizens did not buy it. The words "Hua Xizi’s apology is not sincere enough" and "Hua Xizi’s apology letter does not need to repeatedly emphasize that he is a domestic product" were searched in turn, and the public relations department of Hua Xizi also reported the news of collective resignation …

What exactly does Hua Xizi’s "apology statement" mean? Can Hua Xizi win the "forgiveness" of consumers by sending 10,000 eyebrow pencils?

The more you apologize, the angrier you get?

Let’s disassemble and analyze Hua Xizi’s response letter first.

"Thank you for your attention to Hua Xizi" and "Hua Xizi received great attention from the whole network in the past week". These words show that Hua Xizi knew about the "eyebrow pencil incident in 79 yuan", but the brand choice was "silent" at the forefront, but "fearful and at a loss".

Now I’m sorry, but I didn’t say it in time because I was concerned, not for anything else.

As Hua Xizi said, during this time, they "constantly absorbed everyone’s criticisms, opinions and suggestions". Theoretically, the next paragraph should talk about how to put these suggestions into action.

However, I didn’t say.

Hua Xizi is still apologizing for taking up too many public resources. Thank you for your attention. He said that the team has fully recorded, compared, revised and improved the relevant opinions, but did not say a word about how to do it. It is not very clear what the initial heart is when you read it.

The last few paragraphs tell our own brand story, and the core point can be summarized as five words: We are made in China. This part accounts for almost half of the whole letter.

The full text did not mention the eyebrow pencil price incident, did not explain the eyebrow pencil price, and did not say how to improve it in the future. It just said sorry for occupying public resources and not making a sound in time, and emphasized its domestic identity.

Netizen’s Interpretation of Hua Xizi’s A Letter | Source: Xiaohongshu @ Berby 888 Video Screenshot

No wonder netizens don’t buy it, because the whole apology statement seems to imply a logic: I’m sorry, but I’m Chinese.

And this logic of "I’m sorry, but …" will, without exaggeration, ruin the whole apology.

Psychologically, this kind of sentence is called "fuzzy message". In the same sentence, there are two contradictory contents: I am wrong, but the reason is … This kind of description will make it difficult for the listener to understand and even misunderstand what you really want to express. After all, it is like trying to shift the responsibility to other reasons.

So some netizens asked Hua Xizi, "Can it be so expensive to sell domestic products?" Of course, domestic products can also be expensive, but the focus of this eyebrow pencil price storm is not whether the brand is domestic products.

Correct apology posture

So, what should an appropriate apology look like?

The Intercultural Speech Act Realization Project (CCSARP) has analyzed apologies in five countries and extracted five components of apologies:

(1) Acknowledge (sorry, sorry, embarrassed in language)

(2) explanation

(3) bear

(4) compensation

(5) Commitment

Other scholars have also put forward different apology models, all of which are similar to CCSARP model, with three basic components: recognition (mistake), commitment (responsibility) and commitment (compensation).

Admitting (mistakes) is easy to understand, focusing on "taking responsibility". Taking responsibility is the core of the apology model. Apologists should pay special attention to the artistry of words, and people should feel that they are willing to take the initiative to take this responsibility after self-reflection. Taking the principle of no excuse and no argument will play a icing on the cake.

In view of this, Sean Mala Tang’s response to the incident of selling "fake mutton" in its own franchise stores is a negative example.

In July this year, a consumer bought mutton in a store in Mala Tang, Sean. At that time, the clerk said it was pure mutton, but after the consumer sent the mutton for inspection, the ingredients of pork and duck were detected. For this matter, the customer service staff of Sean Mala Tang Headquarters responded that "after verification, it was found that the store involved had privately purchased the mutton rolls, and the mutton rolls tested in the video were not the products uniformly distributed by our headquarters".

On August 7th, the official micro-announcement of Sean Mala Tang announced the progress of incident tracking and subsequent rectification measures, but netizens did not buy it. It turned out that Sean Mala Tang simply said, "We are mainly responsible for lax supervision …", but in actual operation, it only deducted the deposit of the stores involved, and did not deal with the lax supervision of the headquarters.

There is no attitude of "taking the initiative to take responsibility, no excuses, no arguments", and there is no corresponding action. Just saying "we take the main responsibility" can’t fool consumers.

Not to mention Hua Xizi’s "A Letter" this time, he didn’t say anything wrong at all, let alone what responsibility he had to bear …

Finally, let’s talk about commitment (compensation). Whether an apology is sincere or not can be reflected at this point.

As far as apology is concerned, if you only say "I’m sorry" and "I’m sorry", without telling the cause and effect, and without proposing any punishment or remedy, then in the other party’s view, it is also a insincere apology.

For example, if you are late for a weekly meeting and say "I’m sorry, I forgot to attend the meeting" when you enter the meeting room, you will make everyone feel that you are a dereliction of duty and don’t pay attention to this meeting at all. When a fault occurs, no matter how small it seems to you, you need to take some remedial measures to make up for it, show your sincerity, and think of a solution after a good thing, so that the other party can feel your apology.

Hua Xizi’s approach is to send out 100 beauty gift boxes and 10,000 eyebrow pencils.

Not to mention the final cost of these gifts, Hua Xizi’s behavior is not sincere enough: it did not write this "gift-giving activity" in a Letter, but sent a Weibo alone, and characterized this behavior as a prize collection. If you want to have a chance to get a gift, you have to forward its lucky draw Weibo.

In this regard, the prizes are not released at one time. At present, only 200 eyebrow pencils have been released, and the rest, in Hua Xizi’s words, "will be drawn one after another from September 23 to September 24".

Source: Hua Xizi Weibo screenshot

It’s hard to say whether Hua Xizi’s operation is compensating consumers or taking the opportunity to promote his own brand … No wonder some netizens said that this prize collection activity was "insincere and full of scheming".

Beyond the three cores, whether an apology should include an explanation is also an easy point for an apology statement.

There are two views on this. Some people think that explanation is cover-up, and cover-up is unwilling to take responsibility and want to find excuses, and the offender should not have any excuses. Others think that explanation is to show that it is not intentional to offend, which can eliminate misunderstanding and guilt.

In fact, we can change our thinking. Besides the three basic components of apology, explanation can be used as an auxiliary means of apology.

This means that it can’t independently express the apology intention, can’t independently constitute an apology act, and doesn’t have to appear, but it can form an auxiliary part of the apology speech act to help express the apology intention more completely and achieve better communication effect. More importantly, it can’t account for too much. An apology letter, half of which is an explanation, is suspected of shirking responsibility.

Another thing to note is that it is better to apologize sooner than later.

Many people (brands) will feel that apologizing = admitting mistakes = admitting that I (brands) suck = being rejected by society. For this reason, many people don’t apologize when they should apologize, but hide in order to avoid the accusations of public opinion. However, no matter how long they hide, when they show up again, what should come will still come, criticizing and accusing, even with interest.

If I had known this, I might as well apologize.

Give an apology "model"

Some time ago, the mutton rolls of Banu’s sub-brand Chaodao Store were reported to contain duck meat, which attracted attention. For this matter, Banu responded quickly, apologizing, introspection, compensation and commitment were all done. To tell the truth, it is difficult for consumers to know whether the measures taken by relevant responsible persons and external partners are really implemented, but judging from this apology statement alone, it is indeed full of sincerity.

Source: Weibo @ Banu beef omasum hotpot

However, even if you apologize and apologize "perfectly", it does not mean that others must choose to forgive.

Some people will put pressure on each other after apologizing: "I have already apologized, but what if you don’t forgive me?" There is a logical fallacy here-not all apologies can bring forgiveness, and apologies are not an emotional kidnapping.

American psychologist Harriet Lerner pointed out that forgiveness is not a yes or no mechanism, but a "degree". You can forgive someone 10%, 50% or 90%, and more often, forgiveness is a process rather than a decision, which is why it often takes us a while to forgive someone. If the other party doesn’t forgive you this time, apologize a few times more and give the other party a little time, maybe it can promote the progress of the progress bar.

That is to say, if you want to apologize, you should recognize all the mistakes from beginning to end, and don’t always think about "I apologized, why don’t you forgive me?"

Besides, Hua Xizi’s "A Letter" response is not a successful apology statement from any angle.

But from the perspective of overall public relations, the effect of this letter is not bad. You see, now people are paying attention to its public relations team, and "Hua Xizi’s public relations department or collective resignation" and "Hua Xizi’s annual salary of 630,000 strokes of public relations" are hot searches in turn.

The starting point of the whole thing, Hua Xizi 79 yuan’s eyebrow pencil, seems to have been forgotten.