As part of my presentation on Blogs, I usually drop in that infamous video of a Kryptonite bike lock that gets picked by a Bic Pen in about five seconds. I then go on to rant and rave about how Kryptonite was slow to respond and the damage that was done to their brand and business. It turns out I may have to remove that Kryptonite bike lock pickage from my presentation.
I recently came across this post: Debunking The Myth Of Kryptonite Locks And The Blogosphere from The Intuitive Life Business Blog. The post is an interview with Donna Tocci, Public Relations Manager for Kryptonite and breaks down the timeline and chain of events. I especially like the comments section of this Blog posting and how Tocci continues to pipe in and answer more questions.
But, I have one additional comment and question: I saw that initial Blog posting of the Kryptonite bike lock on Engadget. I then hustled my butt over to the Kryptonite website and saw nothing changed or acknowledged.
I know it takes time to get a lock exchange program in place or a press release approved, but how long does it take to put a banner on every page of your website that says: we are very concerned with a video that is making its way around the Internet (you can view it here). As we establish the best course of action, lease let us know if you own a Kryptonite bike lock and we will notify you promptly (and first) with the best course of action.
Instead, I went to the product page of the specific Kryptonite lock that was picked and saw this:
- Our toughest bicycle security for moderate to high crime areas.
- 1/2" (13 mm) Through-hardened Kryptonium (TM) Steel shackle resists bolt cutters and leverage attacks.
- Patented deadbolt locking mechanism for extensive holding power.
- Pik-Safe(TM) disc-style cylinder with a disc-style key.
I'm not dumping on Kryptonite or Tocci - nobody likes to deal with crisis, but the web was the one (and probably best) place where Kryptonite could have responded (or at least acknowledged the issue) in a matter of minutes... and they did not.
That's the world we now live in and public relations specialists have to deal with consumer generated content just like the rest of us. Corporations' biggest challenge is that they don't want to move that fast. I don't blame them - everyone wants all of the facts and the time to strategize on the best course of action. It's just getting much harder to do that in a world of instant personal publishing where the consumer is in (and sometimes out of) control of your brand.