July 28, 2005

Kryptonite locks – a year on

Writing about web page http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/2891540

Anybody following the debate about PR and the blogosphere can't help but have noticed the case of the Kryptonote bike locks. The company became the centre of a blog swarm after a video was posted to the web showing how to open one of their more expensive locks with a bic pen.

A lot of blog posts have been made about the issue with much written about the companies failure to engage with the blogging community and thus perpetuating the crisis.

Naked Conversations is carrying a very interesting post and comments thread about the kryptonite case study including an interview with the company's head of PR, Donna M. Tocci. The discussion in the comments raises some interesting debates:

1. The role and status of PR as a profession and the need for transparency in the execution of its activities
2. The approach companies need to take when speaking to a) It's customers, b) the blogosphere, c) traditional media
3. Balancing the management of a crisis and developing effective repsonses and how much of that you communicate and when
4. The potential of the blogosphere to perpetuate misunderstanding and rumour

I think what is interesting about the interview is the tension the company faced between communicating to paying customers and communicating to bloggers – who are not necessarily one and the same thing. There is also a tension between the demand for information from the blogosphere and the company's ability to actually provide an answer that was achievable or manageable. Issues management theory suggests that the best approach is to keep communicating, so perhaps the say nothing until we are ready approach was misguided.

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