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August 9th, 2013

Why crisis PR can improve more than just your company’s reputation

Why crisis PR can improve more than just your company’s reputation

Crisis PR is often associated with one thing – a major screw up and a subsequent clean up. And as many of us have learned, the best crisis PR can actually land the company that screwed up in a better position than it was beforehand (the Tylenol crisis of 1982, anyone?).

Well, now it seems crisis PR must live up to another standard: increasing revenue. And the recent announcement of Apple’s trade-in program, targeted at customers using third party or counterfeit iPhone, iPad and iPod chargers, may be doing just that.

An Apple charger, courtesy of Apple.com

An Apple charger, courtesy of Apple.com

The program, which was launched in response to the electrocution and coma of two individuals in China, allows all Apple customers to trade in their existing USB power adapters for an Apple-certified adapter for only $10 (or local currency equivalent) – almost 50 percent less than the adapter’s regular retail cost. The usually mum tech company said in a statement: “Recent reports have suggested that some counterfeit and third party adapters may not be designed properly and could result in safety issues. While not all third party adapters have issues, we are announcing a USB Power Adapter Takeback Program to enable customers to acquire properly designed adapters…”

But how will this increase revenue you may ask, if Apple is discounting its product? The program requires that the trade-ins must be made at an Apple store or an authorized Apple provider, and as Adam Pasick from Quartz points out, the take-back program is bound to generate some extra foot traffic – meaning the $57.60 in revenue that Apple pockets per store visit is looking pretty good.

So while Apple saves its reputation and racks in more cash, weigh in – what do you think of Apple’s crisis PR? Brilliant or just rotten? We look forward to hearing from you!

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Posted in Apple, PR Practices, Technology | Comments Off on Why crisis PR can improve more than just your company’s reputation

 

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August 7th, 2013

Astroturfing: What it is and why tech vendors need to stay far, far away

Astroturfing: What it is and why tech vendors need to stay far, far away

Astroturfing is about a different type of fake grass — when vendors or any organization or body tries to deceptively engage with users at a ‘grass roots’ level and influence public opinion.

Astroturfing is about a different type of fake grass — when vendors or any organization or body tries to deceptively engage with users at a ‘grass roots’ level and influence public opinion.

Ah, the last week has seen news about ‘astroturfing’.

Not familiar with astroturfing? Well you’ve probably seen it in action. Though the term was coined way back in 1985 by US Senator Lloyd Bentsen, the practice is still very much with us today.

It’s got nothing to do with synthetic indoor soccer playing surfaces. Astroturfing is about a different type of fake grass — when vendors or any organization or body tries to deceptively engage with users at a ‘grass roots’ level and influence public opinion.

For example, writing and posting your own reviews online would be considered a type of astroturfing. Considering it’s such a potentially, well, to use a British phrase — dodgy — thing to do, it seems to occur with wearying frequency.

While it may be at the forefront in technology circles, astroturfing is certainly not new nor something dreamt up by the tech industry. For example, take the creation of the National Smokers’ Alliance in 1995 — which was purported to be funded by Philip Morris and launched by its well-oiled (and I’m guessing well-paid) PR machine. There’s an amazing(ly shocking) array of examples of astroturfing across geographies, industries and company types.

In the digital world, accusations of astroturfing include a marketing agency working for Apple that was posting fake reviews and a letter-writing initiative from a seemingly grass roots organization that was linked back to Microsoft, trying to wrestle out of its 2010 anti-trust woes.

The most recent case that has everyone blogging and commenting and shouting is the unfortunate case of Samsung, with the Samsung Smart App Challenge 2013 being tarred and feathered with astroturfing allegations. Allegedly it offered developers $500 to ask the developer community four “casual” and “organic” questions on Stackoverflow, a friendly and  accessible developer community for professional and amateur programmers.

A developer that was approached flagged the activity to Stackexhange, the organization behind Stackoverflow, which alerted Samsung and the activity has halted. But the damage has been done. Whatever happens next, we’re at the juncture where this:

–        Smacks of desperation

–        Got the hackles up in open communities like Stackoverflow and made members weary about vendors / marketers / us PR folks

–        Made Samsung look like it doesn’t understand its own target community — developers — and how they want to be approached. The original blogger who called it out, Delyan Kratunov, even stated: “Had they approached me to ask that I promote the competition legitimately, I would’ve been happy to do it out of goodwill.” To me, that says it all.

Samsung said it didn’t know about the activity. In my experience, vendors that say: “Here’s a sack of money, go and do whatever you think is right with it,” are rare. Albino unicorn-rare. [Sidenote: Any tech vendors that are unsure of what their marketing budget is being spent on, come and work with us. We’ll even let you know what we’re doing before we do it. It’s under the cunning codename “plan”].

Furthermore, as a consultancy, you are compensated for your ideas, creativity — and ability to execute programs that are in line with the company’s objectives, and their values. I’m pretty sure that “being known for astroturfing” isn’t on any company’s PR objectives.

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Posted in Communications consultancy opinion, Hazel Butters: Opinion, PR Practices | Comments Off on Astroturfing: What it is and why tech vendors need to stay far, far away

 

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June 24th, 2013

Around the technology world in 80 days: Day #4: Luxembourg

Around the technology world in 80 days: Day #4: Luxembourg

We could have taken another three-hour train ride from Brussels to Luxembourg’s only city, but at under €5 a ticket, we decided to take the bus for a change of pace. With a population of just over half a million citizens living in an area of under 1000 square miles, Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in Europe (179th out of all 194 independent countries in the world), but one of the richest (highest GDP per capita in the world) thanks to a complex geographical, political, and industrial past.

An historical reliance on a powerful and secretive financial sector has served Luxembourg well, but today its government is working to secure a more diverse and resilient future by promoting technology and building Luxembourg into a European IT centre. Attractive tax breaks have notoriously already lured the likes of Amazon, Apple iTunes and Skype here where they have built their European headquarters. High levels of investment into fibre networks have also made Luxembourg one of the best connected locations on the continent, attracting online gaming giants Zynga and OnLive. But the future of technology in Luxembourg will undoubtedly revolve around data and the cloud.

Today the country’s leading technologists and businesses are translating skills and lessons learned as a financial haven, into secure, confidential data management. With more global businesses looking for a safe harbour for their cloud data under the protection of a stable government, Luxembourg is preparing to cash in as a major European data hub.

Just time to replenish supplies at Place Guillaume market – then on to Germany!

MAP_Luxembourg in red

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Posted in Technology | Comments Off on Around the technology world in 80 days: Day #4: Luxembourg

 

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June 7th, 2013

Prompt Boston hosts successful ‘Office Hours’ at Venture Café

Prompt Boston hosts successful ‘Office Hours’ at Venture Café

At Prompt Boston, we’re fortunate to work near the hub of technology and innovation, with our offices being walking distance from MIT, Harvard and more. In fact, right in our office building, the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), these techies come together every Thursday night for a networking social better known as Venture Café.

Last month, Prompt CEO Hazel Butters hosted ‘Office Hours’ at Venture Café, where an array of technology start-ups stopped by to discuss future goals, technology PR strategy, thought leadership and the nature of the press with us. Meanwhile, otVenture Cafeher Prompt team members hit the event floor – with surveys in hand to ask some of the latest hard-hitting questions in tech and PR.

With Prompt specializing in media relations and press training, we thought we’d start our round of questioning by asking attendees, ‘Who is the greatest tech spokesperson of all time?’ Not surprisingly, the most popular response was the legendary Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple. Other notable mentions included Larry Ellison, founder of Oracle Corporation, and Nikola Tesla, Croatian inventor, engineer and physicist best known for his contributions to air conditioning.

Our next question was even tougher. As part of our media outreach and news pipeline creation, we’re constantly reading the latest trends and news in technology. With so many outlets in publication, it’s hard to pinpoint our all-time favorite newspaper or magazine. But we just had to ask, ‘If you were stranded on a desert island with access to only one source of technology news, what would you choose?’  The New York Times topped the list, but a slew of other well-known publications also caught our attention, including Mashable, Engadget, VentureBeat, TechCrunch, the Wall Street Journal, and perhaps the most resourceful in real-time, Twitter.

Red pencil and questionnaireWhat we really wanted to know, though, was how these technology-invested, business-minded individuals would rate themselves on their own spokesperson skills. At Prompt, we ensure our newly-acquired clients go through media training, to get company representatives press-ready and confident. Intimately, it comes down to the age-old PR question: If the Wall Street Journal called you tomorrow, would you know what to say? So we asked Venture Café guests, ‘How good of a media spokesperson do you think you are?’

Nearly two-thirds of respondents (61%) expressed an air of confidence when speaking to the press, despite the nerves that accompany such certainty. Others believed they could handle a press interview, just as long as any “trick questions” aren’t thrown into the mix.

No matter where you fall on the spectrum, media training fortifies your public speaking abilities, which is crucial when jumping on the phone line with a journalist. Even seasoned speakers go through such training, to avoid any ‘oh no’ moments or damaging blunders. If you’re interested in media training, and transforming your company representatives into properly trained press spokespeople, please contact a Prompt consultant today.

Interested in attending the next Venture Café? Take a look at the upcoming event and speaker schedule – we hope to see you there!

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Posted in Media Relations, Social Media | Comments Off on Prompt Boston hosts successful ‘Office Hours’ at Venture Café

 

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April 5th, 2013

Apple apologizes to Chinese media, authorities and consumers: PR lessons for international businesses

Apple apologizes to Chinese media, authorities and consumers: PR lessons for international businesses

Earlier this week, Apple once again grabbed headlines around the world – but the news wasn’t about a new product release, iOS updates or an annual report. On Monday, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook delivered his biggest apology since the Apple Maps controversy, this time addressing the company’s warranty policies in China.

Chinese-controlled press and authorities slammed the American company after an annual consumer rights program on China Central Television (CCTV) highlighted Apple’s iPhone Chinese customer service plan which gives users a one-year warranty – a policy that differs to Apple’s guarantees around the world.  According to Chinese law, local warranty policies must cover a minimum of two years, and several media outlets labelled Apple as “arrogant” and some went as far as to mock Apple on their front pages.

Apple CEO Tim CookCook responded- making his third apology to Chinese consumers since March 15 – offering to review and alter warranty policies for the iPhone 4 and 4S, while improving its customer feedback.

In an official statement posted on Apple’s Chinese site, Cook wrote, “In the process of studying the issues, we recognize that some people may have viewed our lack of communication as arrogant, or as a sign that we didn’t care about or value their feedback. We sincerely apologize to our customers for any concern or confusion we may have caused.”

Naturally there’s speculation that this backlash from state-controlled media is a red flag for Apple to co-operate with Chinese authorities.  After all, this is Apple’s second largest market after the United States, and everyone recalls what happened to www.google.cn (don’t remember? – click and recall).

The CEO not only offered an apology, but also gave international businesses a few PR lessons to be learned:

1. Consistent customer service is a must

Whether you’re a consumer product giant or a B2B start-up, an effective, streamlined and consistent customer service network is necessary. There is nothing more dreadful than dealing with unresponsive or inadequate customer support.  The media will slam a company with seemingly lackluster service. Don’t give them a reason to. 

      2. Offer a prompt response – and get it right the first time

Timely communication during a crisis is critical. Offering a statement a few days late reflects poorly on the CEO and company at large. Once a crisis hits, respond fast and accurately  and work with your PR team to deploy a strategic apology and plan.  Having to apologize more than once makes it look like you misunderstood the severity of the circumstances – whether it’s a situation with consumers or one arising from a state-controlled media trying to make a point.  

      3. Be aware of foreign policies

When venturing into a new nation or market, do your homework. Have your support team look into local laws, policies and regulations to avoid penalties and heavy criticism in the future. If your company doesn’t have the bandwidth to do so, then ask your business partners and clients for insight into foreign procedures.  Think of one of the  Four Ps, or the Seven Ps of the marketing mix as standing for ‘politics’. 

Even with an official statement on its site, Apple has damage control to do in the Chinese market and bridges to build with Chinese authorities. To add to the pressures, the company must move fast to prevent its stocks (and shareholder satisfaction) from continuing to plummet as it struggles with state-run media in one of its largest markets.

Keen to discuss crisis communications strategies and ways to improve your company’s reputation (typically with non-state-controlled media – we typically deal with those in the United States, the UK, France, Germany, Austria or Switzerland)? Then get in touch with one of our public relations consultants.

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Posted in Apple, Communications consultancy opinion, PR Practices | Comments Off on Apple apologizes to Chinese media, authorities and consumers: PR lessons for international businesses

 

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December 17th, 2012

Who searched what? A Google-based year in review

Who searched what? A Google-based year in review

Happy new year from PromptWith 2012 winding down and the New Year quickly approaching us, the search engine masterminds at Google have published the company’s annual Zeitgeist list for the past year. The list highlights the top ten trending and most popular searches each year, dating back to 2001, when we were more concerned with old-time favorites like Harry Potter and Windows XP.

Harry, Ron and Hermione didn’t make into this year’s list. Here’s what did make it in, ranked by Google as the three most popular search topics of 2012 in the US:

  1. Whitney Houston – Due to her unexpected death back in February, the much-loved recording artist, actress and producer was a frequent search term throughout the year
  2. Hurricane Sandy – The natural disaster hit the Caribbean, Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern regions of the US in late October, with New York and New Jersey affected the most. The super storm flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and power was lost in across many areas, including New York
  3. Election 2012 – It was the Obama vs Romney battle heard around the world (or so it seems). This year’s presidential election was seemingly everywhere. During debates and campaigning, ‘Big Bird’ became more than just a Sesame Street character and ‘binders full of women’ quickly caught on with critics, comedians and the overall general public. Though a close race, President Obama secured four more years in the Oval Office, beating out opponent and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney

Other topics to round out the top ten list included (in order of most searched to least): The Hunger Games, Jeremy Lin, Olympics 2012 (thinking of you, Prompt London), Amanda Todd, Gangnam Style, Michael Clark Duncan and KONY 2012.

Of course, as a public relations firm with a strong interest in technology, we had to ask ourselves – where are the big tech names, like Apple, Microsoft or Samsung, on this list?

Technology products were dissected in a separate list by Zeitgeist, that revealed the top five tech gadgets: in first place ranked the iPad 3, followed by iPad mini, Samsung Galaxy S3, Kindle Fire, and last but not least, Nexus 7.

To view the complete list of trending technology and gadgets, including a neat list of most liked Google Doodles (I personally like the Olympic sports Doodles run during the summer months), please click here.

Whatever your preferred choice is in tech products, presidents and even Google Doodles, the Prompt team hoped you had a joyous and happy 2012 filled with many unforgettable memories. Here’s to the New Year, and to the new opportunities (and Google searches) it will bring!

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Posted in Boston, Communications consultancy opinion, Google, Holidays, Technology | Comments Off on Who searched what? A Google-based year in review

 

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December 6th, 2012

Which tablets do you take? And is the mouse a squeak away from extinction?

Which tablets do you take? And is the mouse a squeak away from extinction?

Prompt Communications Tech SurveyRegular market research is essential to ensure that you are still tapping the correct markets for your products and services. At Prompt, we undertake all aspects of research, data collection and statistical analysis. Perhaps the easiest and quickest way to take a rapid snapshot of market opinions, is to conduct a survey.

One recent survey we conducted across US and UK tech consumers proved to be a great example of rapid opinion gathering. The survey was conducted online and in-person. It revealed that Apple is still far more sought after than its competitors in the tablet world, and remains better thought of than its competitors in terms of innovation, design, usability, retail and marketing effort.

Perhaps most tellingly, despite significant launches from Microsoft, Samsung, Google and Amazon in 2012, more survey respondents are hoping for iPads, iPad minis and iPhones in their stockings this year, over other tablet-like devices!

In the tablet and smartphone market, companies are constantly looking for ways to become more innovative and to aggressively increase their market share. A responsibility lies with these vendors to be clearer about specs, features and benefits, and to help consumers to navigate the maze of new mobile devices. Clarity, common English and transparency are crucial. Meanwhile consumers are becoming increasingly aware of what products are available and the features they are looking for, while gaining a deeper understanding of comparable benefits.

In the same survey, we also found that although losing popularity with the rise of tablets, the computer mouse isn’t headed for extinction just yet.  That finding probably surprised me the most – personally I work at a touchscreen computer, a laptop with a touchpad, a tablet and a smartphone – all without a mouse in sight. I still carry one around in my handbag though, so perhaps I’m just sentimental…

Would you like to weigh in with your own opinions? Perhaps you’d like to add your own support for Apple, provide some vocal backing for other tablet brands, or just stick up for the mouse? We’d love to hear from you. The survey is still open. Please just click here to share views on tablets, mice and your holiday wish-list.

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Posted in Apple, Media, Microsoft, Prompt locations, Survey, Technology | Comments Off on Which tablets do you take? And is the mouse a squeak away from extinction?

 

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December 5th, 2012

Prompt survey: Why do consumers favor Apple over Microsoft? And is the computer mouse heading for extinction?

Prompt survey: Why do consumers favor Apple over Microsoft? And is the computer mouse heading for extinction?

Mobile device survey finds Apple iPad 2, iPad mini and iPhone 5 rank above competing devices from Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Samsung, while the mouse is alive and well

5 December 2012 – Prompt Communications, a transatlantic copywriting, PR and social digital communications agency, has conducted a survey of consumers to unveil opinions of mobile devices, brands, computer mice and Windows 8.

The survey, conducted online and in-person, asked consumers which brands they preferred, which brands they considered to be the most ‘innovative’, and which products they thought were the most exciting launches of 2012. Respondents were given the opportunity to provide opinions on product features, their personal tablet wish-list, and the future of the mouse.

Apple was named as the most popular and innovative technology company, beating industry rivals Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Samsung, with 40% of respondents naming Apple’s iPad 2, iPad mini or the iPhone 5 as the most exciting launch of 2012. Apple was followed by Samsung, with almost a fifth of respondents (18%) voting for its Galaxy S3 or Galaxy Note, followed by 14% in favor of Microsoft’s new Surface tablets.

When told they could “ask Santa for one tablet-like device for Christmas”, 40% said they would put an Apple iPad on their list, 18% opted for a Microsoft Surface; 15% chose an Apple iPad mini, and just 6% said they’d ask Santa for a Google Nexus. On the topic of the computer mouse and whether it is heading for extinction, a surprising 69% said that they didn’t think it was, although a third of respondents (29%) did believe the mouse was living on borrowed time.

The survey also asked consumers to score Apple and Microsoft in a range of categories spanning products, services and reputation, and found:

  • In retail Apple ranked highest against Microsoft thanks to its App Store with 96% of consumers choosing Apple, compared to just 4% of users selecting Microsoft
  • In marketing Apple scored 93% against Microsoft’s 7%
  • For hardware design 78% chose Apple compared to just over a fifth (22%) opting for Microsoft
  • For operating systems, 62% of consumers said Apple’s OS was best, with 38% voting for Microsoft
  • In usability 60% of consumers preferred the Apple, compared to Microsoft’s 40%
  • However, Microsoft was favored over Apple when it came to corporate compatibility with 77% of respondents preferring Microsoft devices for ‘business use’.   

When asked about Microsoft’s new Windows 8 launch, around two-thirds (61%) said it was “just another ordinary Windows update”, while almost a quarter of respondents said it was “a big fuss about nothing”. However, 15% did say they thought the launch was “revolutionary”.

The device market looks set to swell further through fresh partnerships, such as that recently forged by Google and Samsung. Apple may have 100 million tablets on the market today, but it’s estimated that by the end of 2014 Android shipments will exceed that of iOS devices. With further market complexity, any resulting buyer confusion could mean a black mark not only for one vendor, but for an OS, or the market itself.

Hazel Butters, CEO of Prompt, said: “In the tablet and smartphone market, companies are constantly looking for ways to become more innovative and to aggressively increase their market share. Meanwhile consumers are becoming increasingly aware of what products are available and the features they are looking for, while gaining a deeper understanding of comparable benefits. A responsibility lies with vendors to be clearer about specs, features and benefits, and to help consumers to navigate the maze of new mobile devices. Clarity, common English and transparency are crucial.”

Hazel concluded: “The one thing that surprises me is that more people didn’t say that the mouse is headed for extinction. Perhaps computer users have an emotional attachment – personally I work at a touchscreen computer, a laptop with a touchpad, a tablet and a smartphone – all without a mouse in sight. But I still carry one around in my handbag – perhaps I’m just sentimental.”

Would you like to weigh in with your own opinions? We’d love to hear them, and the survey is still open. Please click here to share views on tablets, mice and your holiday wish-list.

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November 16th, 2012

Tech to the rescue: Five reasons why you’ll want to upgrade to iOS 6.1

Tech to the rescue: Five reasons why you’ll want to upgrade to iOS 6.1

Here at Prompt, our PR and copywriting consultants are big fans of tech upgrades, especially those that make life that much easier. When it comes to smartphones, most of our ‘Promptees’ have some version of the iPhone, while others get by with a less popular, but just as reliable, Android device.

A look into the Apple store on Boylston Street in BostonFor those on team iPhone, the big news this week was Apple’s announcement of the second beta of iOS 6.1, with improvements and bug fixes that had been reported from the previous installment of iOS. While the upgrade has only been made available to developers, we decided to take a closer look for those considering making the move to 6.1 in the near future.

Here’s a breakdown of future features and some of the glitches the upgrade can fix:

1. Improved features on PassBook

Apple introduced PassBook with iOS 6, which allowed users to store tickets, gift cards, coupons, boarding passes and more all on their iPhone. Critics complained that Apple did not properly explain the e-wallet, or integrate it with third-party apps.

Problem solved: Apple fixed the issue in the new beta release by adding an explanatory note on the digital-wallet app.

2. Siri gets even smarter

An update to Siri, Apple’s ‘intelligent personal assistant’, can now help users purchase movie tickets and view show times at local theaters. By asking “what is playing nearby?” Siri searches and lists everything you need to plan a perfect movie night through third-party site Fandango.

The days of leaving the house early to secure show time passes are long gone. Thanks Siri!

3. So long static keyboard

Many users were complaining about static lines when typing across the iPhone’s keyboard.  With iOS 6.1, that bug is now fixed. No more eye-twitching? Hooray!

4. Wider spacing between music control buttons

With iOS 6, the music controls on the lock screen were very close together, making it easier for users to hit the wrong button – and we all know the aggravation that can cause.  On the second beta of iOS 6.1, Apple has increased the spacing between the controls, making playback easy and stress-free. Cue the classical music.

5. ‘Report a problem’ attempts to solve Maps problem

Users were complaining of misplaced location markers and unusual satellite images on Apple Maps with iOS 6.  Apple did not fix the Maps app, but they did add a ‘report a problem’ option.

But the ‘report a problem’ feature hasn’t completely satisfied iOwners. In Gizmodo.com, a blogger shared his thoughts on the option by writing, “[Apple] fix your own maps for the devices we paid hundreds of dollars for. We’re not you’re beta testers.”

Now if only the updated iOS 6.1 could solve the 100 percent customer satisfaction glitch – Siri, can you help?

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Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Opinion, Technology | Comments Off on Tech to the rescue: Five reasons why you’ll want to upgrade to iOS 6.1

 

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November 6th, 2012

Microsoft vs Apple: Prompt Survey Smackdown!

Microsoft vs Apple: Prompt Survey Smackdown!

If you’ve read our blog or our newsletter, you’ll know that we love technology launches. We’re also kind of nosey, and like to hear other people’s opinions. So with the launch of Microsoft Surface, Windows 8 and Apple’s iPad Mini, we’d like to know what you think.

* Can Windows 8 really live up to Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer’s hype and “shatter perceptions of what a PC truly is”, or is it just another upgrade?

* Is Surface a “compromised, confusing product”, as claimed by Apple CEO Tim Cook,  or genuine competition for his iPad?

* Will techies continue camping outside Apple Stores every time an ‘iSomething’ is launched?

* When will they ever get that excited about launches from Redmond?

* Is a new era for Microsoft dawning?

We have so many questions that we’ve put them all into our Microsoft vs. Apple: Prompt Survey Smackdown, and it’s already well underway. The PromptBoston team has been out asking folks their thoughts in the Boston and Cambridge area. We’ve also been quizzing fellow tech aficionados at Prompt’s Boston offices in the Cambridge Innovation Center, while our UK counterparts @PromptLondon are surveying Londoners to get their take.

Microsoft or Apple? Have your say today. There are only six questions, so please take a few minutes, click here and let us know which side of the Apple / Microsoft fence you stand on.

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November 6th, 2012

Apple: We want to see the iPad mini ‘in the flesh’. Can you help?

Apple: We want to see the iPad mini ‘in the flesh’. Can you help?

Last week we thought it would be fun and interesting to go and check out the new Microsoft Surface and Apple iPad mini, camera in hand (check out the video here). We wanted to get to grips with some of the new hardware that our clients and colleagues are busy discussing, and we also hoped to find out, in a Prompt Survey Smackdown, what everyone is saying about the latest goodies from MS and Apple.

At the Microsoft Store in Boston’s Prudential Center, we were welcomed in, offered a spokesperson, told to film at our hearts’ content (which we took full advantage of), and given a full demo by a very helpful store manager called Ty Happworth. The product tour helped us get the most from the Surface experience, and really understand what Microsoft is aiming for. We found the Surface to be fun, a really innovative product, and enjoyed seeing it in action. We also got a first-hand look at the Windows 8 touchscreen interface in preparation for own office PC upgrades (watch this space for more about that!)

Over at the Apple Store, just around the corner on Boston’s Boylston Street, our experience was entirely different. We were told not to come close to the store at all. This is somewhat understandable – and we would never infringe on anyone’s privacy against their wishes – but we’re also fans of balanced comparison and we’d really liked to have made a short film showing an Apple iPad mini demo. So far this morning, I have called the Apple Store, been placed on hold, and have been deflected with numbers for Apple’s PR department, with the result of a simple recording asking for a detailed message after the beep. We’re still really hoping that Apple will eventually allow us to film a demo.

Yes, we’re just a PR, copywriting and comms firm, and not a major independent publishing house or broadcaster. But we only want to showcase Apple’s own demonstration messages to provide a balanced picture, not a savage critique. We like Apple products. In fact I don’t think there’s one person working for Prompt that doesn’t own an iSomething. Unfortunately no-one as of yet has an Apple iPad mini (although it now looks like we’ll have to invest in one in order to film our own demo, rather than allow Apple to work with us on this).

So if you’re reading this, and you work with Apple or one of its commercial partners, perhaps you could come to our aid and help us showcase the Apple iPad mini? We wouldn’t take up much of your time, and we’d really appreciate the opportunity. Please get in touch with us: whether it be on Twitter, Facebook, by phone, or by email.



Update: Unfortunately, Prompt’s request to Apple’s corporate office for an in-person demonstration of the iPad mini was declined. Apple explained that it applies a comprehensive policy of not allowing cameras in any of its retail stores. We fully understand and respect Apple’s position, but apologize for not being able to bring you a demo at this time. As always, any further feedback or comments are greatly appreciated. Thank you.


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Posted in Apple, Boston, Microsoft, Prompt locations, Technology | Comments Off on Apple: We want to see the iPad mini ‘in the flesh’. Can you help?

 

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October 5th, 2012

Apple addiction: A direct effect from its marketing strategy

Apple addiction: A direct effect from its marketing strategy

As a content creation, copywriting and public relations firm working with numerous technology companies, we constantly keep up with the latest innovations in the digital world. Lately, Apple has caught our eye – in a very strategic manner.

Every time Apple releases a new product, Apple addicts and newbies alike line up at the nearest Apple Store, some even camping out for days, to be the first to get their hands on the latest and greatest product. It’s become a cycle we’ve grown all too familiar with.

While sitting in the office the other day, this was mentioned and it got me thinking. I bought my iPhone over a year ago, after using a BlackBerry Curve for two years. I am now 99% team iPhone (my only complaint being the battery life). Prompt discusses Apple's marketing strategy and iPhone 5

The company’s approach is simple: Apple is always very hush-hush about its product debuts. A buzz is created around new technology, and weeks or months later, Apple announces the date for a launch event, where it will announce the date of availability and pre-order specifics.

Take for example the iPhone 5, the most recent addition to the iPhone family. Blogs and tech sites had been talking about the iPhone 5 for months, with Apple keeping tight lipped about the whole thing. On Tuesday, September 4th, Apple finally sent emails to the media inviting them to an ‘invitation-only event’, news that many had been waiting for.

The event and teaser invites secured endless amounts of Apple coverage, which then created a mob of people waiting outside the Apple Store for hours on release date (pictures were tweeted out from both @PromptLondon and @PromptBoston). Seems like simple cause and effect, right? No, it’s just Apple’s genius marketing strategy (business owners take note).

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