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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, 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!

Marketing… With a Little Help From Technology


It's no secret that technology has exponentially modified the way we inhabit this world and our interaction with it. It is certainly a powerful generator of extraordinary experiences and a solid link between us and our imagination, allowing people to materialize fantastic moments produced by brands.

The use of the technological resources that have been developed enable disciplines such as marketing to explore alternative paths and generate a synergy in the mind amidst every executed action. These tools have become more advanced, complex and fascinating, thereby reaching new depths of the imagery held in our mental cells, suddenly released to land in a world that transcends the incredible.

Therefore, it is our obligation as strategists, marketers and advertisers to have a vivid imagination alongside the technological advances of today. We also have the challenge of surprising the consumer -  an increasingly difficult task  in  this day in age - in which we tend to think that we have seen everything,  and our sense of wonder is limited as our senses encounter new experiences generated by brands.

The adoption of advanced technologies has an impact on different levels for brands, which provide certain benefits that cannot be ignored:


Through the use of technology, brands are much closer to their current and potential consumers. The ubiquity provided by these tools nowadays is impressive: mobile technology, activations, geolocation, ambient marketing, and other BTL executions. However, it is essential to choose the right timing and moments of high impact in order to generate a more effective and truly influential persuasion.


With resources such as augmented reality, QR codes, advergaming and mobile marketing, consumers are directly involved in activities that require an interaction around the benefits offered by a brand. This, in turn, allows for an immediate response through an actions that are purely untraditional, fun and interesting for the consumer if well done.


Due to the direct and instant characteristic  of marketing activities based on high technology, the feedback we get is equally fast, and reliable. Consumers can express their thoughts and feelings about a brand, promotion or specific activity, especially considering the influence of Social Media, which can be monitored with the use of certain tools, offering a clearer and accurate appreciation of our brand out there in the market.


One of the main benefits of technology in marketing is the design and development of metrics that are far more accurate, fast and veracious. These tools, many of which are used for promotional campaigns or activities, are equipped with instruments that measure results and are customizable and modifiable in scope and in segments as well as in intervals.


Nowadays, and thanks to technology, the possibilities of organizations to work on its branding are far wider; creating awareness and engagement through experiences is easier as one develops and operates an identity based a relationship that involves the customer. 


Another aspect of technologies that is canonically acknowledge is that they exist to simplify life. A brand that holistically adopts these resources has an opportunity to automate both processes of production and distribution - and generates a competitive advantage. It facilitates decision-making to consumers, simplifies their points of contact, and is able to develop products and services that make their life easier.


A counterparty that involves the use of technology is the level of commitment that is acquired, ie, the need for brands to sustain and not desist from the use thereof. Consistency and continuity, as any marketing practice, allows a deeper understanding and involves a discipline and a mentality prone to experimentation and exploration in order to find new ways and methods of generating experiences.

The use of technology in this industry is essential, not only for promotional strategies, but even for other marketing processes: product development and design, payment systems, technical support and customer service, evaluation and measurement results, research, segmentation, internal communication, endomarketing and a long list of factors involved in the business activities of a brand.

From the simplicity of a QR code to the complex and controversial application of neuromarketing, brands have at their disposal a wide range of tools to generate a profound influence on the customer.

Marketing strategies must become stories, and strategists must become their creator. Technology is nothing without imagination. A mind develops it, and another one learns to apply it and take it to the next level, breaking the passivity of outdated marketing and the traditional strategies that have absolutely no effect on today's consumer.

The Look of Love…


Scott Schuman and Garance Doré are perhaps two of my favorite bloggers on the planet. Passion and dedication is what defines them, parralled with their unique sense of style and eye for the brilliant. Their world-renowned blogs- The Sartorialist and Garance Doré- serve as an inspiration powerhouse for enthusiasts and experts that wish to sink their teeth into a perfect world.

Fellow blogger and friend, and not to mention a lover for all that is fashion, Amalia Vega shared this video with me recently. It's a behind the scenes look at Garace and Scott's shooting for the Tiffany and Co. campaign entitled "What makes true love." See if you can spot a certain brand's awesome product placement.


The Trending Force of Twitter… (Infographic)


This cute little blue bird needs no introduction. It basically speaks for itself.

Why the hype, you might ask? Only because Twitter is perhaps one the best examples on how new platforms are altering the way we do business and channel our communications. It's considered one of the most relevant tools applied today in which managers implement their daily Marketing, PR and social practices. Who would have thought?

It serves as a great medium in which to connect your customers, share information and even apply it as a resource that allows us to gain intelligence on our competitor's brands. But more importantly, it lets us test the waters on what people are talking about.

Check out this cool Infographic by Lab42, on the way people connect with this social network.