Friday, June 26, 2009

FUMBLE: GETTING TO APPLE'S CORE

International espionage at times has nothing on corporate espionage! While there may not be any James Bonds hunting down blueprints of the next great widget stolen by megalomaniacs, there can be plenty of snooping around in an effort to get a jump on the competition. Apple is one of the most secretive companies when it comes to guarding its information. While they’re within their rights to protect information, things have gotten somewhat dodgy when it comes to communicating what’s going on with the company – and in particular its CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs whose health has been subject of much rumour. Considering his importance to the company, and by extension its financial well being since an ailing leader could create hesitation among investors, you can see why Apple would want to control messaging fairly tightly. But there is such a thing as providing ‘too little’ information. ‘Be prepared to give as much information as you can’ we counsel clients during our media coaching sessions. The caution we add is that if you aren’t addressing the situation adequately, you leave the door open for others to formulate their own suppositions and conclusions. Where Apple has failed has been to forthrightly address Jobs’ health. The recent admission of his liver transplant now makes earlier claims of a ‘hormonal imbalance’ look like a deliberate mistruth. The company now faces the prospect of losing the faith of investors because the information the company is conveying appears to be tainted. Had Apple at least chosen a path of cautious, but open, communication right from the start of this situation, they would not have been forced into a defensive mode. Their own ‘cone of silence’ is causing them to lose the ability to control their own messages.

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