Dell's head of digital media and communications for EMEA has warned that it could take the firm ten years to recover from the PR fallout following the 'Dell Hell' blog scandal that occurred two years ago.
Speaking at this week's PR Week Social Networking & Blogging conference, Kerry Bridge said that the company had underestimated the impact that the affair would have and warned other companies not to underestimate the damage that bloggers can have upon their company's profile.
The 'Dell Hell' affair was one of the first times a blogger influenced the mainstream news agenda – as well as a company's share price – and occurred when US communications consultant blogged his anger at his experience of poor customer service from the vendor on his blog, BuzzMachine.
It was picked up by news outlets on both sides of the Atlantic, and contributed to a share price fall of 42 per cent.
"We lost sight of the importance of conversations with customers," said Bridge. "The ramifications could take us ten years to overcome."
Since the affair, Dell has employed a dedicated PR team for communicating with new media such as bloggers and fansites. "We're targeting key online digital influencers, and we are no longer treating bloggers as lower-tier journalists."