Damn. I had the inside scoop two months ago about what REALLY happened last year when bike lockmaker Kryptonite had its fabled run-in with the blogosphere. I decided not to publish my “tell-all” interview with Kryptonite’s PR
manager, Donna Tocci, and instead save it for my book. Ouch. Bad timing.
Fellow blogging expert Dave Taylor interviewed Donna about a week ago and published the Q & A to his blog. Thus, er, “scooping” me. [Update: see comments below. Neither Dave nor I were the “first” to debunk the blogosphere legend that Kryptonite was “clueless.” I was being a bit tongue in cheek by using the term “scooped.” Heck it’s a blog. I gotta have some fun, right?]
The by-now apocryphal tale goes like this: bloggers revealed that one of Kryptonite’s popular U-shaped bike locks could be picked with a bic pen.[Update: to be precise, it was first revealed on a bike forum. Update
to update: the bic pen/lock connection was first revealed back in 1992 o
n a UK bike discussion in a British bicycling magazine. [via] See links below in the comments.]
The story raced through the blogosphere. It was picked up by The New York Times and other big media.
Still, the lockmaker appeared to be oblivious.
The result, according to blogolore? By failing to listen and to respond to bloggers, Kryptonite’s brand suffered permanent damage.
Turns out that’s not really true, nor is it what really happened.
Donna Tocci knew about the buzz in the blogosphere from day #1. She made a conscious decision NOT to respond because she was too busy organizing the logistics of an international lock exchange. As well as granting interviews with the mainstream press.
Oh, and a minor detail. Not one single blogger contacted her to find out what she knew or didn’t.
Kryptonite’s side of the story, as revealed by Dave Taylor, is in today’s CNN story: The rise and rise of corporate blogs.
What does it all mean? It’s still early days in the corposphere. Most companies are just beginning to grapple with how to engage with bloggers vs. MSM. As well as how to handle employee blogging – and whether to allow it. Not to mention what the role of a CEO blogger is.
Be sure to check out the results of the QuickVote survey when you click through to the article. They’re interesting. When I last checked, 58 percent of the respondents said their company did not allow employee blogs.
New PR & the Kryptonite Situation by Tom Biro
[Long thoughtful post on crisis communications, the new maxim “you don’t own your brand” and more.]
Bloggers did not humble Kryptonite on BikeBiz.com
[See BikeBiz.com’s archive of bic / lock articles, going back to September 2004.]