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The Other Side of Kryptonite

Slowly but surely the other side of the Kryptonite lock picking story is coming out. OK, some of the bloggers got it wrong – nothing new there.

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.

One Response

  1. By Donna Tocci on December 22nd, 2005 at 10:05 am

    Andrew – while you are certainly entitled to your opinion I’d just ask you to do one thing – please reread my first response to Rebecca on Dave’s site. It clearly states that we did not know about the article in 1992, and gives some pretty good business examples of why you might want to believe that. Again, I probably can not sway your opinion about our communication, but I can defend true facts.
    Also, I ask you this – as I asked over on Naked Conversations this summer. You might not buy a Kryptonite lock because of how we communicated this issue. That is your right. However, shouldn’t you buy a lock based on the effectiveness of the lock? Thieves don’t care how we communicate an issue, they care about whether or not they can defeat a lock on the street. Since we replaced 380,000 locks worldwide, we’re pretty confident that we are still frustrating those thieves. That’s one of the most important factors for us.

    I’m with you, I’d like for us to get past this, but with people still writing about it, like you, it seems that time hasn’t come yet.

    Happy riding, Andrew. Whatever brand of lock you bought remember to always use it and use it properly, that is more than half the battle when defeating thieves. I truly hope your bike is with you forever!

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