Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Not Good PR 

This column about Best Buy, the major electronics retail chain, is a PR embarrassment. The company only acknowledged it uses a separate intranet under pressure from authorities, and it admitted prices on its intranet may differ from prices on its web site. The company's assurances sound hollow and its slowness to admit to its intranet makes it appear devious.

Having worked on more than a few crises, this incident smacks of a lawyer's hand. "Don't tell them anything unless you have to." If that is true, it is the wrong way to go about it. The reporter found out anyhow and in his eyes, the company has lied. It will be hard to convince the reporter in the future that Best Buy has its customers' welfare in mind.

The result is a blow to the company's reputation that was and is unnecessary. What harm would it have caused to let the reporter know in the first place that Best Buy has an intranet? Most companies do. The result is that Best Buy made what should have been a little story into a big one.

I would like to think that the Best Buy's PR practitioners would have handled this differently. I hope I'm right.


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