When company bloggers aren’t enough

The beating Microsoft is taking in the blogosphere and elsewhere over a patent filing leads me to wonder whether this isn’t an instance where some solid, formal communication might be in order. Leaving it to Microsoft’s employee blogging force doesn’t seem to be doing much good.

The kerfuffle erupted when the patent filings from June 2005 became public on Christmas Day when a year-and-a-half privacy window expired. Quickly, the web and blogosophere began proclaiming headlines like this one, from All Headline News:

“Microsoft Reportedly Tries to Patent RSS”

A Technorati search for Microsoft, RSS, and patent turns up 2,391 posts.… Read More »

Dow, Bhopal, and Corporate Social Responsibility

Dow‘s view of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) is pretty easy to find on the company’s website, only two clicks from the home page. There, the company covers charitable giving, education, community involvement, and worldwide social investments. On the social responsibility landing page, the company points with justifiable pride to its foundation, which contributes more than $18 million each year to education and charitable institutions in the communities where the company does business.

A search of the entire Dow site for the term “Bhopal,” however, produces only a single result, the 2003 Global Public Report, available in… Read More »

Edelman-WalMart Update: Richard speaks up

On his blog, Richard Edelman has responded to the flurry of conversation about the Wal-Marting Across America flog. To his great credit, he has apologized, acknowledged that the tactic was wrong, and indicated the company is going through an education process. He has replied to comments posted to his item, and has even posted a comment among those left to my original post on this blog.

Edelman has also noted that the company refrained from comment until all the facts were in; Steve Rubel has also posted an item explaining this reason for the prolonged silence.

Comments posted to both Rubel’s and Edelman’s blogs run the gamut from… Read More »

Newsmaker, commenter, it’s all the same

I was just on the phone speaking with Gerald Baron, who blogs as Crisisblogger. Nobody’s better qualified to write about crisis communication. Gerald wrote the book “Now is Too Late” (about to come out in a second edition that addresses blogs, among other new topics) and started the PIER System, owned by Audience Central, of which Baron is CEO.

Gerald regaled me with the tale of of Michael De Kort, the Lockheed Martin whistleblower who, after failing to get anyone to pay attention using traditional channels, uploaded a video to YouTube to tell his story. De Kort’s viral video appraoach was covered by The Washington Post and Time… Read More »

First-rate cruise line practices third-rate PR

For years you’ve been dreaming of a luxury cruise. Exotic locales, balmy sea breezes, tropical drinks with umbrellas in them. You’ve read about some of the problems with Carnival and other cruise lines, so you opt to go first class. You book a cruise on the Queen Mary 2, a Cunard ship. A top-shelf experience awaits, and for what it costs, you have every right to expect nothing but the best.

But your cruise ship hits the side of a shipping channel in Florida, damaging one of its four propulsion motors. As a result, Cunard cancels three of your planned ports of call. But this is Cunard, an organization that protects its reputation, so… Read More »

Microsoft’s PR blunder

Microsoft has been doing a pretty good job over the last year or so rehabilitating its image as The Evil Empire. Notably through blogging, the company has created the perception that it shares information, listens, and gives a damn about what customers care about. All of that may go right out the window, though, as a result of the company’s cavalier attitude toward malicious attacks on computers using a recently-discovered vulnerability in the Windows Meta File (WMF).

Despite urgent warnings of the danger the flaw presents, Microsoft has announced that a fix will be distributed on Patch Tuesday, January 10. In a statement on the… Read More »

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