Posts Tagged ‘blackberry’

UAE Blackberry Ban Will Hurt Its Business and Travel PR and Promotional Efforts

August 1st, 2010

(Disclaimer: Praecere principals have represented The Executive Office of Dubai in prior positions.)

The media universe is abuzz today with the UAE’s intention to block BlackBerry digital communications in October.  The emirates’ telecommunications authority says that BlackBerry has the potential to allow “users to act without any legal accountability, causing judicial, social and national security concerns” — though the “legal accountability” standard is likely to be UAE’s insistence on allowing government surveillance of all communications.

This move stands to be a public relations disaster for the UAE, particularly in light of the emirates’ continued push to be a business-friendly oasis in an otherwise politically and economically volatile region.  The ban will also create negative perceptions for travelers and tourists, which Dubai has worked very hard to attract over the years.  Indeed, how can travel and tourism writers even produce content for their stories if their phones are blacklisted?

Should the ban take place as scheduled, the UAE is in a very weak position to promote itself as a growing hub of transparency and capital markets in the Middle East, something that part of the world desperately needs.

At the same time, BlackBerry has been handed a golden-PR opportunity to develop a thought leadership campaign on privacy and global regulatory issues, one where other technology companies have repeatedly failed to take the lead.  With its market share dwindling, BlackBerry can’t afford to pass on openings like this to press its brand as the gold standard in free communication.

If the iPhone 4 Drops a Call in the Forest, Will Anyone Notice?

July 12th, 2010

In the wake of Consumer Report’s recommendation to not buy the iPhone 4, Apple is in a rare predicament – backed into a corner by a trusted product-review entity.  Instead of repeated cycles of fawning tech-relevant press, Apple has played defense to the massive chorus of complaints about the iPhone 4’s antenna woes.

Who knows what miracle Apple will attempt to pull when it releases the much-anticipated iPhone 4 software update.  No doubt Apple’s stakeholders desperately want the update to fix the reception problem – or, at a minimum, stems the tidal wave of bad PR.

With the strongest rumors yet of the iPhone leaving its GSM cage, other wireless providers are understandably loathe to disturb the beast, given that they may have the chance to carry Apple’s products in the future.

That being said… to Apple’s hardware competitors, we’re wondering – where the hell are you?

Why aren’t Motorola, Google, and RIM, which all manufacture alternative smartphones, running 24/7 PR and media operations to reinforce the bad reaction to the iPhone 4’s (current) fatal flaw?  Can you imagine the viral buzz that would generate from an aggressive campaign with a smart and witty ad at its core, one that pokes fun at the iPhone 4’s problematic reception?  Maybe a twist on the “I’m a Mac” ads, where the iPhone 4 keeps dropping calls while the rival Droid/Nexus One/Blackberry works just fine?

Simply put, a reliable tech behemoth like Apple is rarely going to have a product fail on this scale.  When it does, the competition must jump fast and go for the kill.  And, that’s effectively what a PR strategy is all about.

If you think that doesn’t matter, consider the recent obituary of the Microsoft Kin.  Had Apple stumbled closer to the death knell of the Kin, who knows what, ahem, reception that phone would be getting now?