I still maintain Kryptonite handled his terribly. Any crisis can be mitigated through effective communication. The vacuum of silence will be filled by misrepresentation, drivel and poison (I think Schopenhauer said that).
All the interviews reinforce for me is that as a business they responded well (except it turns out the problem had been flagged years before and they did nothing then). As communicators, they did lousy. If they knew about the commentary, but didn’t respond, it’s pretty much the same as not knowing and not responding. No response is no response.
And for the record, about that time I bought a neat new mountain bike. I needed a lock. The blog coverage specifically caused me not to buy their product. If they had communicated what they are communicating now, I might have done so. To answer the question posed by Kryptonite: "here are millions of blogs, but what are the audiences of these blogs?" – it’s me, the bike owner. The interview gets worse, reinforcing further cluelessness about the blogosphere: "We know that lots of teens and college students have blogs and, mainly use them to communicate with friends and family. These are our customers, but are they going to corporate blogs? Not so sure about that."
And then, worse still, they correct the misperception that they only found out about the problem in last year when bloggers started getting into it. Oh no, they knew about it in 1992 – and it would appear they did nothing? That’s meant to inspire confidence?
I had the privilege of working around some of the best crisis communicators in my agency days. I once asked why there were so few case studies on this type of thing. I got an interesting response – post crisis, all you want the focus to be on is how the business is moving forward – you don’t want to get into the mechanics of the crisis, it just casts further light on your problems. A pretty good idea in my book. Seems like Kryptonite is determined to teach us what not to do pre, during and post crisis.