Posts filed under ‘The “I’m Glad I’m Not Their PR Guy” List’

Apple vs. Android Lawsuits: PR Should Be Part of the Strategy

Apple has filed a lawsuit against several of its Android-using competitors, claiming the Android devices violate certain patents. Earlier this week, a court issued an important first decision in the case. There will be lots of appeals and companion cases.

 

Apple vs. Android

Is that Apple going to diminish the effectiveness of my Android tools? Where's the customer engagement?

I have no clue who will ultimately prevail in this battle. I hope we, the users, will, but I’ve seen no evidence that Apple is concerned about that. I’m an Android user, and I won’t forgive Apple easily if they take away or diminish my HTC Thunderbolt and my new Samsung Galaxy 10.1 (I love toys).

While the Apple vs. Android debate is great stuff for barbecues and water-cooler debates, these legal actions can impact reputations, sales and investor confidence. For that reason, lawyers should include public relations people when they undertake or defend against an action like the one launched by Apple. While the lawyers are worried about the fine points of the law and how to sell them to judges and juries, someone has to worry about the reputations of the companies involved in the lawsuits.

Whatever the legal arguments, public relations people need to:

  1. Explain in simple terms why the highly technical infringements are so important that they threaten the company and – equally important – its customers and employees;
  2. Head off those who will say the company is turning to the courts because it can’t compete in the marketplace through innovation;
  3. Assure customers that they will be protected, no matter what the outcome.

I’m not seeing much of that from Apple or any of the Android manufacturers.

Innovators should profit from their innovation. But high-tech, pharma and other innovating companies know they can’t protect innovations from competitors for long. While innovators certainly have a right to protect their intellectual properties, they should also consider that their defensive actions impact their reputation and the confidence of their customers, employees and others on whom their success depends. Similarly, those accused of violating intellectual property laws also have their reputation and consumer confidence on the line.

PR needs to be part of the intellectual properties strategy for both sides of these controversies. Apple, HTC and Samsung PR folks…where are you on this?

July 20, 2011 at 12:48 pm

A New List: Glad I’m Not Their PR Guy!

I think I’m going to start a new list. It’s the I’m Glad I’m Not Their P.R. Guy list. Naturally, this week, that designation goes to BP. I’m glad I don’t have to explain the fouling of the Gulf of Mexico.

Although the act may have been terrible, I have to give BP credit for the crisis communications job they’re doing. They’ve been on top of the situation, they’ve been concerned and they’ve been accessible. From what I understand, they’re in the towns on the Gulf Coast with people and money. You can see the hands of the Legal Department at times, but I have to say that, to me, they’re doing a good job handling something much bigger than they ever could have anticipated. I’m sure many of my colleagues will pick the job apart, but the “Glad I’m Not Their PR Guy” list makes me look at these challenges as if they were mine, not as a distant critic who isn’t living the crisis.

BP’s problem also has proven something else I’ve learned handling crisis  communications: The best tactic for managing the media relations aspect of the crisis is to have a bigger crisis come along. Example? As much as the legal and public relations teams from Toyota would probably love to take credit for putting the damper on Toyota’s bad publicity, that credit really belongs to BP. And I’m sure the media relations folks at BP are secretly hoping for another volcanic cloud from Iceland or some story bigger than than their oil blowout.

So…who would you like to put on this list?

May 11, 2010 at 11:36 pm


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