Monday, December 12, 2011

Don't Write Off The Kindle Fire Or Amazon Just Yet

Today's New York Times' article might have left you feeling that Amazon's Kindle Fire was a failure. Sure there are complaints but that is not unheard of in this new unknown space. The tablet is still a very young product that has yet to reach its full potential and first generation problems can be cured if Amazon stays front and center with its customers. Empathize with them, recognize the inherent problems and come back ASAP with solutions; some may need to be short term fixes, others long term changes, but by being honest and agreeable with the customer, Amazon will retain them and continue to grow their share of the business. "Despite Amazon’s silence on the matter, analysts have been estimating the company will sell from three to five million Fires this quarter."

Amazon still needs to speak up loudly. Again history being a guide, how Tylenol quickly reacted t their packaging challenges many years ago enabled them to survive through a PR nightmare and remain a dominant brand. It is that truthfulness and commitment to act that can save or bury any brand. Even successful companies have made missteps. "All this would be enough to send some products directly to the graveyard where the Apple Newton, the Edsel, New Coke and McDonald’s Arch Deluxe languish. But as a range of retailers and tech firms could tell you, it would be foolish to underestimate Amazon." In fact, as many have seen, we learn much more from our failures than from our successes. Unfortunately some companies are not as quick to manage their mistakes. Look no farther than Netflix and the troubles they have had.

Amazon and the Kindle brand have built a ton of loyalty over the years just as Apple has had with its products. Communicating with that audience and managing that trust in a proactive way while resolving technical issues is the ultimate PR cure. Especially as articles, like the one in the NYT, appear. Otherwise, the opinion in the article's first two lines will be recited over and over again as fact..."The Kindle Fire, Amazon’s heavily promoted tablet, is less than a blazing success with many of its early users. The most disgruntled are packing the device up and firing it back to the retailer." And that is not the kind of perception Amazon wants to have floating around.