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Apple Steve Jobs Public Relations Strategies

Image source: Annie Bananie Angel Soon via Flickr

Steve Jobs built Apple as one of the most respected, innovative and profitable brands of our times. Public relations was a substantial part of that success.

Cameron Craig, who worked on Apple’s PR team for 10 years, provides an inside view into Jobs’ successful PR tactics in Business Insider and the Harvard Business Review article.

Storytelling. Following a classic storytelling technique, Jobs would present a problem or villain and then explain the solution, which was Apple’s latest product. The heroes of his stories were ordinary people who were underserved by technology that was too complicated.

Simplicity. Apple’s products were simple, at least on the outside. According to Jobs, other companies’ solutions often were too complicated due to involved processes, hierarchical structures and over analyzing data. Good leaders simplify and their teams and customers love them because of it.

Apple’s press releases, which Jobs read and personally approved, were also simple. To this day, Apple PR forbids jargon and writes press releases designed to be understood by average people, Craig states. Run copy through a free readability test like Word Count Tools or Readable.io , he advises. Scores should be between 80 to 89 on a 1 to 100 scale.

Learn from failure. Apple disposed of Jobs in 1985. He rebounded. He went on to create the iMac, a breakthrough consumer PC, followed by a string of stupendously successful products including the iPhone.  Failing taught him how to become more entrepreneurial and see far more potential opportunity.

The Golden Circle Strategy. Jobs told compelling stories by following the Golden Circle strategy outlined by leadership management expert Simon Sinek, says entrepreneur Cornelius McGrath on LinkedIn Pulse. The storytelling strategy calls for defining:

Why — What’s our purpose? What’s your core belief? Why does your organization exist? And why should anyone care? ”

How — How your company fulfils its core belief.

What – What it does to fulfill its core belief.

Pete Marcus of Harvard PR summarized Apple’s PR excellence in these main points.

Product reviews. The importance of product reviews cannot be overstated. Apple pays inordinate attention to them and is adept at understanding individual reviewers and tailoring material to them and their audiences. Following that example, other PR teams might consider dedicated product reviews managers.

Top-down discipline/secrecy. The company rigorously imposes absolute secrecy about product launches. Secrecy assures that product news stays real news to the moment of announcement. Top-down discipline, focus and consistency are Apple’s hallmarks instilled by Jobs.

Press releases. When Jobs reviewed press releases, he sought succinct product descriptions. A single adjective described a product. The iPad was magical. The iPhone, revolutionary; and the App Store legendary. It also issued press releases infrequently, only when it had something significant to announce.

Culture marketing. Apple has a team that focuses on “integrating Apple’s products into popular culture” or making sure high-profile people, businesses and organizations use its products. Some brands call that culture marketing. In the past, brands have pursued the strategy in a poorly organized way with endorsements and product placements. The strategy will become more important in coming years as the power of traditional media declines.

Bottom Line: PR was instrumental in establishing Apple’s premier brand image. PR experts, including a former PR staff member, explain some of Apple’s PR strategies. Other organizations can learn from its PR successes.