Microsoft Wisely Reboots PR Strategy on Kinect

November 29th, 2010

Talk about walking itself back off the pier!  As Black Friday continues to ride the media, shopping, and economic wave until Christmas, tech toys continue to be all the rageMicrosoft certainly stands to benefit with the recent introduction of the Kinect, the motion-based videogame system that takes home entertainment to new interactive levels.

The interesting thing is that the Microsoft Kinect is actually a highly sophisticated component, and hackers, computer scientists, and other tech enthusiasts are modifying the machine for use in 3-D graphics and video production.  In this sense, the Kinect joins other products with versatility beyond their anticipated use.  For example, something as simple as baking soda has significant utility beyond being a food ingredient.

When a company creates such a hit, the smart thing to do is ride the wave of positive attention and integrate consumer satisfaction into the public relations and marketing strategy, similar to what Arm & Hammer did with its respective product.  You’d think that Microsoft would follow that philosophy.  And they did, but that stance is a significant change of heart from the company’s initial public position on the Kinect modifications.

At first, Microsoft made the ominous statement that it will “work closely with law enforcement and product safety groups to keep Kinect tamper-resistant.”  Yikes!  After seeing the amazing amount of great press to be had, the company quickly reversed course and gave glowing assessments – “Anytime there is engagement and excitement around our technology, we see that as a good thing.”

That’s the PR attitude Microsoft sorely needs, especially since much of its product line lacks the sizzle that a certain rival generates regularly.  The PR lesson here is to embrace sensible consumer satisfaction, something that’s hard to generate in the first place!

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