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Steve Jobs: The Man Behind the Brand

On the month that marks the second anniversary since Steve Jobs' passing, blogger Edgar Estévez reflects on the influence and legacy Apple's main man left to the marketing world...  

Young Steve Jobs

An entrepreneur, an innovator, an inventor, a visionary…  a genius. These are just some of the adjectives used to describe Steve Jobs, a man whose path was never predictable. He was given up for adoption at birth, he dropped out of college after only one semester and at the age of 20 co-founded Apple, currently one of the most valuable companies in the world.

There is no doubt that Steve Jobs created a revolution. As one of the top pioneers on the personal computer and electronics field, his impeccable taste and sense of style made him push all market boundaries, transforming one industry after another - from computers, to smart phones, to music and even animated films.

It’s been two years since he passed away and we still remember him as the very soul of the organization he helped create. His aggressive and demanding personality made him a perfectionist, always aspiring to be one step ahead of the industry and setting the market trends in innovation and design. But most importantly, he impregnated his passion for simplicity and top-notch quality into the company’s organizational culture, making this one of the key components of Apple’s sustaining performance and competitive advantage - percieved upon entering any Apple store in the world or simply by opening the box of any Apple product for the first time… It’s almost like a ritual!

As a marketer, Steve Jobs was a natural. He was driven by his obsession and love for his products, and made it a personal mission to have an impact in people’s lives. Not only did he invent great things, he also made the consumers feel emotionally attached to the brand at the point of turning them into passionate advocates of Apple. They don't think of themselves as consumers, but in turn members of a movement, a mission, something larger than themselves. He helped build mystery and expectation around product launches, always generating buzz and suspense before unveiling some amazing new gadget, making consumers and specially the competition go mad with speculation.  Jobs was also not afraid to go big, as pointed out on hubspot.com, and one great example was the widely known 1984 “Think Different” commercial for the new Macintosh, where he hired Ridley Scott, director of Alien and Blade Runner, and spent around $1.7 million ($3.4 million today) between producing the ad and running it one time during the Super Bowl. This was a huge risk for the company, especially since it wasn't clear that the ad would succeed, but it paid off. The ad generated as much coverage as the Macintosh itself.

No doubt that Steve Jobs is a tough act to follow and the company is not only facing  new challenges in the market but also trying to continue his legacy. So, how is Apple doing today? According to a study conducted by Interbrand Corp. on the Top 100 brands this past September, Apple has unseated Coca-Cola as the world’s No. 1 brand with a brand value of $98.3 billion, 28% more than last year. 

Still, some say that the brand is losing its magic. Some of the latest product innovation hasn’t raised the bar high enough for competitors and for consumers, who are always expecting big things from Apple. Many of the brand’s major products are facing increased competition from Samsung’s top-selling Galaxy phones, Amazon’s Kindle tablet reader and Spotify’s music service - and still the company keeps innovating around the same things - which is probably not innovating at all. The brand may be loosing its momentum, but they still have time to turn things around. After all, Apple is a very strong brand and the most profitable technology company there is, generating $41.7 billion last year. And even more importantly, they still have the consumer’s trust, since the popular perception is that “Apple could do no wrong”.

Most recently, the company appointed former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts as their new SVP of Retail and Online Stores, which many industry experts are saying is one of the company’s best decisions so far, since she is likely to bring a fresh leadership focus to Apple and complement well with current CEO Tim Cook to bring the brand up to the next level with breakthrough innovative products in new categories, allowing Apple to become the outstanding company of this decade. 

 Before you finish reading I wanted to leave you with the 10 things I have personally learned from Steve Jobs as a marketer myself. Additionally, here's a small fragment from a PBS documentary of 1994, which for me, perfectly reflects the way he saw and lived his life. Enjoy!

10 things I’ve learned from Steve Jobs as a marketer:

  1. Innovate.
  2. Time to market is crucial.
  3. Simple is always better.
  4. Failure is part of the process. The most important thing is knowing how to stand up again.
  5. Tenacity and hard work always pays off.
  6. Be curious.
  7. Stay focused.
  8. Pay attention to details.
  9. It’s ok to go a little crazy sometimes.
  10. Don’t be afraid to think different.

Steve Jobs on 'One Last Thing', a PBS documentary: 


“ When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money.

That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is - everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, you know if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing. It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.

I think that’s very important and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better, cause it’s kind of messed up, in a lot of ways. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again."

Social media explained with…. COFFEE!

 

For those who know me personally or follow me on my personal social media accounts, you've probably noticed my particular "relationship" with coffee. So when I saw the famous graphic applied to my favorite drink, I thought, what better way to understand social media? Ha!

The Art of Going Viral (with Infographic)

 

I love how Seth Godin defines viral marketing. It's a simple, straight-forward explanation, and it goes something like this:

Viral marketing is an idea that spreads--and an idea that while it is spreading actually helps market your business or cause. Because the currency of our future is ideas- the idea virus mechanism is how those ideas propagate.

His 12 year-old book on viral marketing "Unleashing the ideavirus" is still one of the most sought-after and relevant resources on the subject. You can read it for free here.

The fact is, technology is one of the best things that has happened to us marketers. Word-of-mouth has taken a whole other dimension. The Internet- with social media, emailing, blogging, IMing, etc.- has served as the ultimate slingshot for the faster spread of our messages.

Here's a pretty neat Infographic brought to us by ProBlogger and Voltaire that helps us understand the viral content marketing phenomenon. From its anatomy, types, reasons why we share, and how it all comes down to Metcalfe's Law, it's all there, so check it out:



Building Brands through Experiential Marketing: 11 Awesome Examples

 

There is a universal truth that stems from the most essential belief in psychology: we learn from experience. And that same principle applies to marketing. The way a brand functions and the feelings it evokes within us are vital to the ultimate perception we possess of it.

As markets oversupply, the process and methodology through which we communicate a product's attributes is just as important as coming up with those specific attributes. Focusing on delivering experiences is an ideal way of developing relationships and bonds that enable brands to grow over time.

As the name implies, experiential marketing refers to the customer experiences with a brand, product or service that allow users to interact in a sensory way. It triggers motivation more than any other channel of communication and instigates word-of-mouth. Brands that excite people have more strength in the subconscious level of the mind since it stimulates the neural region that makes decisions.

What are some of the benefits of implementing an experiential marketing strategy?

    • Generate awareness
    • Create an emotional connection
    • Develop positive perceptions
    • Show off its attributes
    • Gain credibility
    • Guide preferences
    • Stimulate purchases

If you are interesed in implementing this sort of approach, start off by asking yourself: is my brand exciting, exhilarating, fun, relaxing, stimulating, etc.? Which sort of associations will I stir up in the mind through this stunt?  Will the experience impact the human senses? (sight, sound, scent, taste, feel) If so, which? How will it make people feel? Would they want to use the brand?

To kick-off the week, More Than Branding brings you 11 examples of experiential marketing at its best:

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC - "Augmented Reality"


ASICS- "Run with Ryan"


MERCEDES-BENZ - "Looks fast. Even in park."

SPANAIR - "Unexpected luggage"


TROPICANA - "Brighter mornings for brighter days"


COCA-COLA - "The Coca-Cola friendship machine"


FOX CRIME - "Interactive Billboard"


GRANATA PET STORE - "Snack Check"


VOLKSWAGEN - "The fun theory"



HARPER COLLINS - "This dark endeavor"


BAR AURORA & BOTECO FERRAZ - "Drunk Valet"


 

How do colors affect purchases? (Infographic)

 

How does brand recognition, desire and impulse relate to color? How much does a particular tone affect the way people behave towards our products? As mentioned in Could this be the future of retail therapy?, image is an essential ingredient that acts as a catalyst working towards or against you. “Consider that more than half of purchases are based on emotions, especially when a client is unsure and must choose between two brands.”  The way you act and ultimate behave will be greatly influenced by your experience in that precise moment and how a brand’s delivery conquers all of your senses.

Through this infographic, the folks of KISSmetrics shed some light on the impact of visuals and how it affects our impulses. Words, design and time play an important role in the way we perceive everything.