Lessons from iPhone4 Applegate: social media augmentation of consumer voices and the need to listen


A few days ago I was interviewed by ABC’s Newsline program for a segment they did on Apple’s response to the iPhone4 ‘Antennagate’ problem.

Here is the second part of the segment including my thoughts. To see the full piece go to the Newsline archives and click on ‘Bad Press’ dated 21/7.

Despite the way the piece was edited, I was not scathing about Apple’s response. I think their solution of a free Bumper case is, so far, reasonable. However there are two important points.

The first is that Jobs’ attitude was really poor – the begrudging, laid-upon tone of the response show a person – and by extension a company – that is very bad at taking and responding to valid feedback.

The second is that Apple only responded at all because consumers’ voices are more powerful than they have ever been. What might have been an angry murmur before is now a force that cannot be ignored. Consumers are becoming more vocal, not least because their voices are now being heard loud and clear.

In the interview I made the point that companies are gradually realizing that they no longer have a choice. The power of consumer voices, augmented by social media, can readily lay companies low. Companies must listen, and they must be good at responding. These are essential capabilities for success in a world of augmented voices.