Apple has announced a press conference for tomorrow and the rumours are that the company will use it to respond to criticism of the iPhone 4’s reception issues. Some are even suggesting that it could announce a full recall of the product. This speculation in particular has sent the technology company’s share-price rocketing south.
I’m amazed it has taken Apple so long to get to this stage.
I blogged at the end of June about this growing PR disaster and said that if Apple failed to do something about this quickly, it would be facing an unprecedented public backlash. The company didn’t follow this route (maybe Mr Jobs should subscribe to the Wildfire blog!) and is now in a very tricky position.
Apple is a much loved brand and so, if public reaction to date has seemed muted, then this brand loyalty (and, in some cases, obsession) could be the reason. But brand loyalty only gets you so far and, for many people, it is quickly running out. When this happens, public opinion will quickly turn to anger and the damage to the brand then could be catastrophic.
Apple’s cloak and dagger technique might work for product launches, but when it comes to crisis communications, it’s a very dangerous path.