May 30, 2013
Will Apple’s Tax “Scandal” Tarnish Its Image
Recently it was announced that Apple may have benefited from certain corporate tax loopholes to avoid paying billions in corporate taxes. While the facts of this case are still in dispute, the headlines are flying fast and furiously. Questions are being asked about the future of the computing and experiential technology giant, and dire predictions are being tossed around. But Apple has been remarkably silent, choosing not to respond to the cacophony of criticism.
And this PR approach seems to be working. CEO of top PR agency, 5WPR, Ronn Torossian explains why.
#1 – Apple is focused elsewhere
Customer experience and continuing to establish and expand the Apple brand have always been Apple’s chief focuses. By remaining silent amidst these accusations, Apple reinforces two images. One, that they firmly believe they have done nothing out of order. And, two, that they are going to spend their time continuing to deliver a customer experience their fans have come to expect. Top PR agencies, such as 5WPR, know the effectiveness of shifting the focus away from negative media.
#2 – Customers care more about experience
This approach works because the majority of Apple’s customers do not mind if Apple has good tax attorneys. They just want the latest and greatest products and the best apps to use on them. Although it’s a PR agency’s job to refuse situations such as this, it helps when the company has build a solid foundation with their brand.This is not to say that Apple’s consumer base is not concerned about corporate tax law, but that they simply care more about having great consumer experience using Apple products. This is evident in two prior issues with the iPhone and Macbook Air. Consumers responded immediately, compelling almost instant reactions from Apple. The response to these accusations has been decidedly more tepid.
#3 – No one really enjoys paying taxes
This is not really a public relations point, and 5WPR is a PR agency who very carefully follows the tax laws to a “T,” both quarterly and annually, but most of us are thinking it, so it needed to be said. If this corporation continues to do good things for its consumers – particularly after the announcement that Apple will be bringing more jobs back into the United States – most people will look the other way until egregious violations have been effectively proven.
#4 – The responsible parties are already engaged
From Apple’s perspective this is an issue for their attorneys and PR agency. And their consumers seem to be comfortable with this arrangement. And why not, no wrongdoing has been proven, and Apple makes a very poor corporate boogieman. After all, this is a company that has a definitive and beneficial impact on the vast majority of US households … most of whom just want to know what Apple gurus will think of next.
As long as these four factors remain true, and any potential wrongdoing remains nebulous, Apple’s silence on this issue will not hurt them. This only goes to prove that, sometimes, the best public relations response is to say nothing until the time is right.