Thursday, September 16, 2010

PR Lesson 101 for Samsung: How to frustrate your audience

Samsung just concluded its U.S. announcement of the Galaxy Tab. The company had hyped the event online, and there was some live-blogging activity. Keep in mind that the Galaxy Tab was announced and demonstrated in detail more than a week ago at IFA in Berlin, and that announcement was widely covered. What the press, bloggers and early adopters were expecting to get from Samsung today were answers to three simple questions:
  • Which carriers will sell the Galaxy Tab,
  • What price(s) will they sell it at, and
  • When will it be available?
Samsung only answered the first question. All four major U.S. carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile) will carry it. The prices will be set by the carriers, and Samsung completely refused to answer any questions about specifics. Not a single carrier spoke at the event. As for availability, all they were willing to say was "before the holidays."

There were only two hardware announcements of note: First, Samsung will sell a (presumably unsubsidized) WiFi-only model in addition to the 3G/WiFi models that the carriers will sell, and second, the Galaxy Tab will not have voice calling capabilities. That's it.

This is PR 101: If you can't answer the questions that your audience is most expecting answers to, don't bother staging the event. When the event dragged on and on without any mention of availability or price, I was afraid that Samsung would do exactly what it ended up doing. It's shifted the burden on answering the key questions to its carriers, who are no doubt thrilled about it.

Samsung should have sent out a press release launching its website and posted videos and specifications of the product, including the video produced by Adobe, instead of having this event. The next time around, when the product is actually ready, far fewer people are going to pay attention to the announcement(s).
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