(Processor) Gate Closes on (Dell) Hell

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Dell’s 2006 consumer backlash problems in China were covered here. Now CIC provides an interesting update on the company’s use of a Chinese-language blog as part of its communication strategy – and notes that direct communication with (and monitoring of) China’s powerful “netizens” is an increasingly important part of the PR mix. The post notes:

    “Joining the [online] conversation” does not mean pure promotional blogs or BBS, which are set up for a quick campaign with frivolous posts or unsubstantial content that are later abandoned. Instead, these are rather long-lasting platforms that will succeed because they are the voice of the brand. This is a “non-corporate” voice that reflects the brand and resonates with the consumer conversations at the same time.

    Our white paper brings out a nice example of a company finding its voice online via its blog.

    Dell was previously the object of Internet Word of Mouth (IWOM) centered ire via “Dell Hell” in the US and “Processor Gate” in China. Now, its blogging efforts in China closely follow those in the US which are receiving praises.”

It goes on to explain that when Dell ran into supply problems it was able to react quickly in a positive engagement with the netizens:

    “Unfortunately, Dell could not keep up with demand and had to delay shipment. Smartly, Dell very quickly responded on their Direct2Dell Chinese blog….Certainly, the blog did not resolve all of the anger and frustration from netizens, but having a voice certainly appeased some of them:

    “Finally, an official response to explain the out of stock issue, I feel a bit more comfortable.”

    With its blog, Dell offered a “non corporate” sounding “corporate,” or official voice to communicate with netizens. Prior to having a blog, they had no way to “join the conversations” happening online. Dell couldn’t release a press release in such a case, because that would only draw more attention by raising the profile of the issue with the media, who is not the ultimate “target audience” anyway. In the end, powerful communication via a blog or other IWOM platform can address unchecked, brewing issues before they become full fledged problems such as Processor Gate.

    Dell blogging in China puts a nice Chinese bookend to the “Dell Hell” phenomena that started in the US in 2005 and spread to China in 2006.”

Of course, it is not just Dell that has had to deal with the online consumer activist. Adapting communications to fit the audience seems like a sensible idea. Expect to see more corporate blogs in Chinese.

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One Response to “(Processor) Gate Closes on (Dell) Hell”

  1. Archive » Briefly…Top Ten Tweets (From Economic Myths, & Trade Deficits, To Angry Consumers & Fake Peas)| China Business Blog Says:

    […] KFC is only the latest MNC to come up against consumer activism. In this case is was…”A game of chicken RT @chinahearsay: RT @chinadivide: People v. […]

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