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Apple Salvages Reputation With IPhone...

By: Andy Beal

...Consolation. When Steve Jobs announced the $200 price reduction of the 2-month old iPhone, many of Apples early adopters cried foul.

Having shown their loyalty to Apple by standing in line for hours"for a chance to be one of the first to buy the revolutionary phone"they now felt betrayed at such a quick and dramatic price drop.

Fortunately, the Apple CEO quickly sensed the swell of bitterness"growing among its loyal customers"and jumped in to offer a $100 Apple credit to those that had previously coughed up $599 for the iPhone. In addition, those that had purchased an iPhone in the past 2 weeks would get a $200 refund.

Jobs actions appear to have calmed the reputation storm"although some customers still feel slighted"and demonstrate that not even a company that executes as smoothly as Apple, can avoid a reputation crisis. In fact, no company is ever able to fully predict and avoid a PR crisis"you just never know what customers will rebel against (just ask Facebook)"but how a company reacts is key to keeping your brand in a positive light.

Heres what Apple did right

A quick response - Steve Jobs announced the $100 credit within 24 hours, even though Apple hadnt yet figured out how it would implement the credit.

An authentic message - Apples message came from its highest executive and was honest and transparent"Jobs admitted the screw-up while explaining that price reductions happen when buying new gadgets.

A decisive action - Steve Jobs didnt waste precious time trying to negotiate with Apples customers. He listened to their complaints, assessed what their common concerns were, then made a decisive offer to those it had offended.

A reasonable concession - Apple managed to find a fair compromise between giving $200"which is what many customers wanted"and not giving anything at all"which was their original plan.

As a business, you cant always predict a crisis"although you could argue that Apple should have seen this one coming"but you can prevent a ripple of discontent becoming a tidal wave of consumer revolt.

What do you think? Could Apple have done more? Was Steve Jobs response appropriate?


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About the Author:
Andy Beal is an internet marketing consultant and considered one of the world's most respected and interactive search engine marketing experts. Andy has worked with many Fortune 1000 companies such as Motorola, CitiFinancial, Lowes, Alaska Air, DeWALT, NBC and Experian.

You can read his internet marketing blog at Marketing Pilgrim and reach him at [email protected].

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