New Public Relations Strategy at Microsoft Eschews Denial and Affirms Public Opinion

On May 7, 2013, the online edition of The Wall Street Journal published an article authored by Shira Ovide, Microsoft Concedes Windows 8 Misses Expectations. We liked what we read in this article. Here’s why:

  • In a short statement, Ms. Tami Reller, co-head of the Windows Division, broadly echoed marketplace sentiment about the quality of the Windows 8 launch: ” . . . and frankly we also didn’t get everything we dreamed of done in the first release . . .”
  • Shira Ovide summed up Microsoft’s recent public announcements about “Windows Blue” as ” . . . an unusually frank admission about the shortcomings of its Windows 8 operating system . . . “
  • The focus of the article shifted from Steve Balmer bashing to lots of details from Ms. Ovide’s conversation with Ms. Reller, which proved much healthier for Microsoft

It’s certainly difficult for a market leader to gracefully change its public persona from an organization frequently perceived as calculating, to one now voicing a ” . . . frank admission about . . . shortcomings”, but the PR team at Microsoft appears to have changed the view with this article.

PR does not exist in a vacuum. Marketing communications, and even customer relations activities from both sales and marketing teams also contribute to the public brand message. If Microsoft can exhibit more of this transformation through these other product marketing avenues, the market message will have to improve.

We don’t see the same disconnect with the promotional effort for Microsoft SharePoint, another product with a huge share of the market for a wide range of enterprise business requirements, including collaboration, document management, and business intelligence gathering. Despite analyst knocks we think SharePoint 2013 and, particularly, SharePoint Online, Office 365 is doing very well. Most of the brand management effort for this product has been handled by the application design team. The interface is visually much more appealing. Product features are also more accessible for business users.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

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