I spy a PR thriller…

Of my entire household tech, my Dyson vacuum and my Bosch cordless drill are my absolute favourites. Many a picture has been hung with the support of both – the drill making easy work of the seven or so mistakenly placed holes and the vacuum doing very well to suck up all the broken glass after I drop the drill on the coffee table.

Two bits of kit working in total harmony – both exceedingly good at what they do.

This epic moment of customer experience exists because both the Bosch drill and the Dyson vac have been innovated by teams of very bright people in well-funded and very top secret R&D labs.

I imagine the Bosch team quietly and teutonically working away in a stark white laboratory while the Dyson boffins create dust busting miracles in a high tech Batcave, both companies getting on with making more kit which will enable even more, faster holes to be drilled and even smaller particles of broken coffee tables to be hoovered up.

So the news that Dyson has accused Bosch of spying was clearly an upsetting moment in the Robinson household.

I am not entirely convinced we will ever see Daniel Craig abseiling from an exploded building carrying the latest Dyson, but clearly in the world of manufacturing the spying game is as busy as happy hour at Ricks’s Café.

While all this cloak and dagger drama at Dyson is very entertaining, it must be pretty painful for the PR team at Bosch… read it here in the Guardian

For the defendant, the media has printed unsubstantiated allegations against you, a writ is on the way to your head office and you are left trying to figure out exactly what has, if anything, has happened (how do you prove you have not hired a spy?). Worse, your accuser is a billionaire inventor, beloved Knight of the Realm and saviour of British manufacturing.

Good for Bosch that they issued a simple, dignified statement (featured in the Guardian):

“Dyson employed an individual with a pre-existing consultancy agreement with Bosch Lawn and Garden Limited in relation to garden products, and not vacuum cleaners or hand dryers as Dyson implies.
“Bosch has sought to establish the full details of what occurred, including attempting to establish from Dyson what, if any, confidential information supposedly passed between Bosch and Dyson.
“Bosch regrets that Dyson has chosen to issue legal proceedings and a press statement at this stage, but will continue to act in the appropriate way.”

It’s a tough spot to be in. The lack of information must be very frustrating.

Clearly Dyson are in the right to be concerned as the downsides of espionage are brutal; getting your IP snaffled threatens revenue and puts jobs on the line. On the good side however, and particularly from a comms point of view, being targeted by a competitor’s spy is an epic third-party endorsement of your R&D and of course a great media platform on which to talk about your business.

Bosch will have my benefit of the doubt until the evidence is shared, but they will need to work fast with the aim to robustly communicate their own findings. Good or bad a line needs to be drawn under an embarrassing episode.

I personally hope this one ends for Bosch providing a far more innocent explanation than espionage.

There is enough drama using their kit as it is.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Matthew Carrozo says:

    Best post featuring the word “teutonically” I’ve read in a while. Bad PR for Bosch on the surface, but for those who actually read their response, they’ve made it sound like James and his little elves in Wiltshire are a bit incompetent when it comes to performing due diligence on those they allow into their hallowed workshops. Or perhaps it’s all an elaborate promotional campaign for the drill-less drill Dyson are about to launch on an unsuspecting public.

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