It's a Social Media World

A Discussion on Digital Media & Communication Trends

In Crisis Comm the Answer is Always Classy – Just Look at Apple

On the crisis communication front, this was not a great week for Apple. They launched their iphone 4S. Although it received amazing reviews, there were definitely disappointed consumers and tech fans who felt their expectations had been mismanaged. “Where was the iphone 5?”

The day after the iphone launched, Apple’s iconic founder, Steve Job’s, died. Just hours after his death news outlets were asking the question, “Can Apple Survive Without Steve?”

So the quandary becomes, how does a company address the launch of a new product, and the death of an icon that is synonymous with their brand in the same week?

The answer is: with grace. Apple handled Job’s death with a grace and beauty rarely seen in the corporate world today. Despite the iphone 4S launch, there is no mention of the iphone 4S on their website home page. Instead they simply pay homage to their Founder & former CEO.

In the area of crisis communication, I give this strategy and A++. It has endeared me to Apple. It makes me proud to own a product made by a company who cares more about its people than promotion or the bottom line. I may not buy the iphone 4S right away, but I am definitely a bigger Apple fan.

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4 comments on “In Crisis Comm the Answer is Always Classy – Just Look at Apple

  1. David Owens-Hill
    October 8, 2011

    You’re right on every count.

    Apple’s secretive culture makes it incredibly difficult to manage expectations, so the iPhone 4S launch felt like a bit of a letdown. But a manageable letdown. Jobs’ death was a different beast all together.

    The level of class Apple exercised in messaging the death of their iconic founder is unrivaled. I would argue that it will be, for years to come, one of the organizational culture case studies we turn to when we’re questioning how to handle a crisis of corporate faith.

    • kbconway
      October 11, 2011

      David – I agree. It will be an amazing case study. You should write it!

  2. Kenyon Stanley
    October 11, 2011

    I agree KBC. I think Apple was aware that Steve was living his final days and had a plan. I thought it was very classy move to remove their promotions off of their front page and simply place a picture of the man who got Apple to where it is today. I too, am endeared to Apple more after seeing how they handled this crisis.

  3. Pingback: What Apple Should Learn from Wendy’s Regarding Identity Crisis « It's a Social Media World

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