Marconi, who penned a book “Crisis Marketing: When Bad Things Happen to Good Companies” told AP that Apple should have responded much sooner to concerns about location data stored on its iPhones.
Apple did not comment officially during the fiasco and then admitted it stored the data but did not track users. It also added that it would issue a software patch to fix the bug.
Marconi said that Apple is dealing with a fiercely loyal user base, but with that power comes a responsibility.
Apple could have made the whole thing a non-problem with some form of privacy statement about how it uses, or doesn’t use, location data.
Larry Smith, president of the Institute for Crisis Management, a public relations company, said Apple should have said something sooner in some form, even if it didn’t have all the details right away.
Apple’s approach to stonewall and put off facing your customers, your partners, your shareholders, your employees was bad.
Job’s Mob’s approach of putting off responding to problems was counterproductive, he said.
Even a response of “I don’t know, I will get back to you” is better than none, he said. “You are not always going to have immediate answers.”
This is the second time Apple’s approach of dealing with problems by telling the media and users nothing has backfired seriously. Apple sat on the information that its iPhone 4 was badly designed and needed a rubber band to deal with dropped calls. It did this until the media attention was so huge it had to do something.
Even then, as CEO Steve Jobs apologised to people who bought the expensive turkey he denied there was an antenna problem that needed fixing. Even so, the company gave out free rubber bands.
The fact that Apple gets away with it in the long term is thanks to people having the attention span of gnats, Smith said.
Besides, many Apple users love the idea of Steve Jobs knowing where they are 24/7. It makes them feel significant. However Jobs’ Mob seems to have a business model that relies on the stupidity of users to ignore its imperfections. What is scary is that so far it works.