“A little less than two weeks ago, when I visited Apple, I was surprised at the access I received to air my grievances about my experience as a customer,” David Weidner writes for MarketWatch. “I was also surprised at the candor with which many at the company spoke. Some very senior people had some very reassuring, positive and honest things to say about how Cook was shaping the company. My impression was, they wanted people to know they still had the same old passion for their products, but they wanted to have a softer, more collaborative relationship with the media and public.”
“And then they sort of did, and kind of didn’t. I asked them to go on the record with some statements I believe would have shed some light on the company. They declined,” Weidner writes. “Frankly, I was surprised that Apple isn’t being more direct, if in fact my assessment is true. Perhaps there is a belief that since Jobs and [former Apple vice president of worldwide communications Katie] Cotton were in charge during one of the greatest runs in American corporate history, why fix something that’s not broken?”
“On the other hand, if it’s such a winning strategy, why did Apple get absolutely creamed with viral social media reports about its new iPhone model bending?” Weidner writes. “If you ask me, that’s not the Apple way. It may be the Steve Jobs way, but it doesn’t seem to fit the company Cook wants or should want to be known for.”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s idea of crisis management is silence. That didn’t work very well before widespread use of the Internet in the late 1990s. It doesn’t work at all today. In fact, that deadly silence actually ratchets up the crisis levels in this viral social media age since wild theories and accusations will fill the Apple-created vacuum in an instant.
When you’re accused of something that isn’t true, classic cases of FUD, the proper response is immediately tell your story, take control of the narrative, and capitalize on the moment to promote positives about your company. Apple’s usual response or lack thereof, days or weeks of slack-jawed silence, seemingly surprised that FUD is coming their way, is entirely the wrong “response.” (Get ready for the Apple Watch FUD deluge now, Apple!)
The silence initially makes Apple look guilty and, even though they eventually make some half-hearted moves to douse the bonfire, they’re too late, so the burn marks remain. That is why random people still ask, “does is bend?” when they see our iPhone 6 Plus units in public, instead of asking about any of its myriad positive attributes or features. When you allow competitors to spread lies unchecked, you deserve it when they invariably stick.
Crisis management is public relations’ most important job and Apple PR fails at even the very basics each and every time. Apple sucks at crisis management.
Most everything else Apple PR does is magic. Apple PR is often the best in the business; the best in any business. They just don’t get crisis management.
Silence works spectacularly for creating intrigue about the company and upcoming products. It fails totally when the inevitable, adversary-concocted FUD campaign hits. You’d think Apple would learn. Here’s hoping that someday they finally will.
Mark our words, the Apple Watch FUD is coming, especially if it looks like a big hit, with big launch sales numbers, and Apple’s response to it should be as much a part of the company’s launch preparations as the hardware, the software, and the packaging.