In public relations news today, Apple has dropped Bite Communications as their PR. On the heels of the announcement, Bite CEO Clive Armitage expressed regret at losing the account that essentially put his firm on the map. Bite is part of the Next Fifteen Communications Group, which also owns Text 100, the fifth largest firm in the US.Evidently Apple never hear the saying; “Stick with the horse that brung ya.”
Any firm can sympathize with Bite in that larger clients often have the resources and inclination to take their whole communications aspects in house. However, news from other sources reveals that this move has been a long time in the offing. A former account executive with Bite for the Apple account, Karen Haslam – now of MacWorld, had this to say:
“To be honest, over the last five years Bite have actually fallen on the way side when it comes to Apple PR.”
According to Haslam, working on the Apple in the early days was very demanding, and because of the importance to Bite, she and others worked far more hours than could ever be billed for. Also according to her recollection, Apple was and is a very demanding customer. If this is the case, and we are familiar with the scenario, then Bite may be better off any way. If Apple would donate the “bitten” part of the logo to Bite, then all this would seem much more fair – sorry, I could not resist.
Bite still represents a “who’s who” of technology companies, and we expect their revenues will not suffer that much any way, as Apple has gradually transferred their PR efforts in house any way. From a very realistic perspective, and as Bite CEO Clive Armitage (left) puts it: “Nothing lasts forever.” With the integration of Inferno (associated with competitor Microsoft) into the Bite camp, this news seems much more clear. Armitage pretty much sums up the situation on bitemarks, the corporate blog of Bite Communications.
From our perspective, Bite’s treatment of the whole situation seems both appropriate and reasonable. None of the news gives a hint that Bite was not expecting this situation any how. For PR in general, the trend for some of these larger companies, and in our realm too, is to pretty much forget “the horses who brung em” in my view.
As I said in an earlier post, the dogma of “It ain’t personal, it’s just business” applies here. As for the underlying principles, and the trend for communication, I do not see this dogma as being a positive philosophy. One big problem I can think of for companies “going in house” is that true objective communication cannot be expected. In house people are operating from a limited perspective in these cases. Bite served Apple well, and we can only hope their internal constituent does not blow it any time soon – well maybe it would be more interesting if they did.