The following is a guest post by Philip via MarketingToChina.com, edited by Key.
Apple and VW appeared on CCTV on Mar.15, not in advertising, but on consumers’ rights protection party. And obviously, they are big PR trouble.
Apple Ostrich PR
Apple was reported to treat Chinese consumers at a different standard in terms of after service. Chinese consumers can’t get a brand-new back cover as claimed in the Apple ads and even the warranty is much shorter than that in the US.
However, Apple has taken no reaction against the crisis?!!! I can’t understand how such a successful brand can forget to defend their brand reputation?!!! As an employee from Apple revealed, “the solution that Apple’s headquarter takes is to keep silent and let their PR office in Beijing handle it”. Let’s see what their Beijing office is doing:
Over 2 million posts on Sina Weibo, no reaction from Apple’s PR
Thousands of media are criticizing the behavior of Apple, still no reaction from Apple’s PR
news criticizing apple’s announcement
Until now, the most significant reaction from Apple is a superficial announcement saying that Apple is dedicated to producing the world’s first class product and bringing consumers unique experience.
It’s not a good idea to bury head at this moment
Since when, Apple adopted ostrich PR strategy? It will not help solve the problem, but showing competitors more weaknesses to attack. No doubt the announcement arouses a new wave of criticism. The government media, Renmin; the most popular portal, Sina and the influential IT site: Saidi publish their news blaming the arrogant attitude of Apple.
Netizens also show their anger to this announcement, what makes things worse is that the reaction of Apple even hurt some people’s patriotism.
Apple’s announcement is even less than 200 words, classic example of “empty wordsbogus speech”.
Stupid Apple, only change no reparation. What the fucking change! I only damage a button within the warranty and it cost me over 1800 RMB to repair it. Stupid Apple, screw you…
Why back cover replace service is not available only in China? Why all the other countries can enjoy this term?
VW wishy-washy PR
VW’s reputation of German quality simply crushed over one night. DSG became its Achilles heel.
Different from Apple, the defect of VW comes from a long term solid investigation led by the government. With the statistics from 10 000 cases, 3 000 feedback from users and 12 on-site investigations, AQSIQ (General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine) published result that DSG is vulnerable to the safety problems.
And AQSIQ forces VW to recall half a million cars in China.
VW cannot solve the problem in this way
What’s interesting for the case is that VW publish an announcement, promising to solve the problems for consumers as soon as possible. And this piece of news has been published by around 1000 media. At almost the same time, a journalist dialed number of VW’s after service and gets the answer that “only a small part of the cars will be recalled”. And this has also attracted dozens of online media to report.
The key opinion leaders are also playing important roles in the case. The founder of “auto family” site, Li Xiang also complained the problem of VW DSG, as a victim of the defect. Obviously, consumers are not satisfied with VW’s products and PR crisis control.
I agree. The problem is even if VW replace a brand new DSG, I still can’t feel safe. I will always worry about losing speed on highway, with my family.
According to the habit of VW, they won’t sacrifice the knights in order to save the queen, but keep the existing DSG unless they discover a new technology. As for the people who have already owned one, lay more hope on preys instead of recall.
Source: CCTV, Sina Weibo, AQSIQ