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And the Oscar goes to … the wrong film

PwC, the global accounting powerhouse that has been counting the Academy Award ballots since the 1930s, made a pretty big mistake when a company executive handed Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway the wrong envelope at the end of the telecast Sunday night. But they atoned pretty darn well from that point forward, and quickly turned the page by simply taking responsibility and apologizing – something rare in this day and age.

When the story blew up on social, PwC acted quickly to apologize in the same venue. With 164,000 Twitter followers and a full night of live tweets from the Red Carpet already posted, PwC couldn’t hide. Instead, they promptly posted an apology and took responsibility. Many companies would have waited until all the facts were known, an understandable position to take when chaos ensues. But PwC acted quickly, and that went a long way to protecting their brand as the story went viral overnight and into Monday.

PwC continued to be active on Twitter later the same day even after that initial apology, pinning this Tweet atop their feed that offered elaboration on what happened and an enhanced apology. In short, they weren’t going to run and hide after one apologetic tweet that was going to get pushed down quickly by other activity. The need for a sincere apology and acceptance of responsibility is something they took seriously, and these actions demonstrate it.

While I don’t think PwC was going to lose any significant business over this snafu, it would have been easy to downplay it as they were suddenly in a very public venue (prime time TV, international media, a story gone viral on social) that they normally wouldn’t be in and were certainly wary of. Instead, they acted decisively in alignment with their brand of integrity and trust, and may dodge long-term brand and business damage as a result.

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