Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Fri, 05 Jul 2002 13:17:35 GMT

An open letter to the PR people at Apple: Think Different…
When it comes to scoring own goals, no company is more accomplished than Apple Computer.

I have always had a soft spot for Apple and their brilliantly designed hardware and software and of course their carefully cultivated and managed ‘wacky’ image. I have in previous lives been an Apple user and still think their laptops are second to none – though I’m a Windows user by profession.

So why is it that Apple continually chose to alienate the very people who have kept the company alive through the dark and miserable Scully, Spindler and Amelio years? Why do they upset the very people who have bought into their ‘Think Different’ theme?

Whilst other companies spend huge amounts of time and money on building, nurturing and protecting their customer relationships, Apple seems happy to screw the very people who fight hardest on their behalf.

Communications and PR seems to be at the root of a number of their problems. The company for some reason dislikes the Apple rumor sites on the Internet. I’m from the school that believes no (or very little) news is bad news. These passionate people create and maintain these sites ’cause they love Apple. Their readers read these sites because they want to find out more about Apple and ahead of time. Now maybe I’m missing the point, but from where I’m standing any company in the world would give their right arm for that kind of passionate following. But not Apple.

Apple continues to try and strangle these sites – rather than maximize their appeal and reach – that’s a major mistake. Let’s cut to the chase, Apple is a very small player in the PC world. Any assistance, third party or otherwise should be embraced.

There is a furore on at the moment over the purported Apple-sponsored move to revoke or refuse press passes to the authors of many ‘amatuer’ Mac-sites to MacWorld as reported in Wired.

This is only the latest in a series of PR mishaps. Matthew Rothernberg has a very interesting piece on EWeek on this subject.

Only last year Apple’s PR firm was in the midst of a famous Weblog row which could have been resolved both quickly and easily but instead grew into a major firefight.

It seems Apple’s PR people aren’t thinking differently at all. Rather than harness the goodwill and entusiasm of all these online users, they set out to frustrate them. Has no-one at Apple heard that good communications is essential with all your audiences? Have they missed the Internet, newsgroups and weblogs?

Apple, accept some free PR counsel. Work with these people, harness the goodwill that’s out there and make the Mac platform relevant once more. Kicking your own people has never worked for dictators in the past, learn from history, think different – or the switch you’ve been promoting recently might be quickening in the opposite direction. [Comment]

Written by Tom Murphy

July 5, 2002 at 2:17 pm

Posted in General

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