Sunday, December 23, 2007

British Monarchy launches Youtube Channel

Just in time for the Queen's yearly televised Christmas message, Buckingham Palace today launched its own Youtube channel to broadcast this year's royal Christmas wishes. The Queen is hopeful that the new medium will make her Christmas message "more personal and direct" and reach younger audiences.

A nice PR move to make the royal family more attractive in the eyes of the younger generation.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Facebook tries to save face with Beacon apology

Seems like it finally dawned on Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, that he needed to join the Beacon conversation! He posted an official apology on the Facebook blog today, acknowledging that his company was wrong in the way it handled the Beacon problem. Note that he directly addressed one of the hot-button issues in his post - his choice to make Beacon an opt-out instead of an opt-in program - thereby showing that his company is listening to user concerns.

Zuckerberg's blog post is structured like a textbook example of a crisis PR response:
  • Paragraph 1: Apologize for the specific problem

  • Paragraph 2 & 3: Explain what happened/what let to the mistake

  • End of paragraph 3: Condemn the mistake

  • Paragraph 4: Explain what needs to be done to fix the problem. In my opinion he would have been better off addressing Facebook users directly here instead of referring to them as "people" (not very personal)

  • Paragraph 5: Explain what has been done to fix the problem and tell users about it

  • Paragraph 6: Thank users for sharing their concerns, thereby validating them. The only thing he didn't do at the end was discuss how Facebook plans to "make up" for their mistake (such as Apple offering in-store credit to early iPhone adopters, or JetBlue issuing vouchers after the Valentine's Day disaster). But then again, Facebook is a free service which sets it apart from those examples.
Zuckerberg's apology is similar to Steve Jobs' open letter to iPhone users after Apple upset its fan base by dropping the price of the iPhone after only a few months on the market. The apology is not the only similarity though. Facebook and Apple both managed to anger an otherwise ultra-loyal public - the people who love their service/product. Apple's iPhone faux-pas and Facebook's Beacon dilemma also act as a good reminder to companies not to underestimate the power of their key publics to organize online and pressure for change.