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Posts Tagged ‘Steve Jobs’

Apple Insider Spills Secrets: ‘This Isn’t PR. This Is Something Else.’

Apple cube

We recently posted on the biggest takeaways from 9to5Mac’s extensive inside look at Apple’s media relations strategy.

The piece provided a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse into the company’s one-of-a-kind culture, and as a follow-up we were fortunate enough to speak with a source close to Apple’s international PR team for an insider’s take on the story…and more.

What did you think of the 9to5Mac piece?

Nothing surprised me; the only thing I would object to is the part about shredding the strategic “white books” before events.  They were referring to “At a glance” docs, which are simply printouts. PR receives them a few days before each event and hands them back to management when it’s over.

And the part about PR doubling as bodyguards?

Yes, I did see a PR blocking a couple of photographers who were trying to take pictures of Steve Jobs at one event.

How did the Jobs-to-Cook transition affect internal strategy?

At the beginning it was not noticeable at all, but people saw that Cook seemed far more proactive on sustainability, CSR, workers’ rights in China, etc. In terms of general strategy, though, nothing changed.

How closely does the international organization work with the American PR team? Read more

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14 Takeaways from the Epic Apple PR Expose

Apple Store

ICYMI, the Apple-obsessive blog 9to5Mac posted a truly epic 9-part story last Friday titled “Seeing Through the Illusion: Understanding Apple’s Mastery of the Media”. The piece served as a long weekend must-read for anyone with an interest in the communications or technology industries.

The work was so deep that it almost demanded episodic recaps a la Orange Is the New Black. We didn’t finish it until last night because we spent much of the long weekend competing with ourselves to see how many IPAs we could drink in a 24-hour period (not really), but we thoroughly recommend it.

Senior Editor Mark Gurman sought to answer the questions: What sort of strategic advantage has allowed the company to play the media like a well-worn string instrument for the past decade?

Here, then, are 14 things we learned from the piece.

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Steve Jobs Is Now Bad for Apple’s Reputation

steve-jobs-1984-macintosh-1

To say that recent lawsuits have been terrible PR for Apple would be an understatement.

The company’s ongoing copyright battle with Samsung, for example, produced a string of internal emails between its marketing manager and its ad agency, TBWA\Chiat\Day, over “brand likability” and the failure of recent campaigns to elevate the iPhone over the Galaxy.

The other big suit going on at the moment concerns supposed anti-employee collusion between four top tech companies: Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe. The plan’s mastermind was Steve Jobs himself, but Apple would prefer that no one mention that fact at trial.

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WATCH: Steve Jobs Preps for His First On-Air Interview

Rough Monday morning? Here’s a consolation prize via our sister site TV Spy (who snagged it from the beautiful people at Mental Floss).

This 1978 clip, which appears to be pre-air prep for a lost promotional interview, reveals that even the mighty Steve Jobs had a little trouble with media appearances at 23.

Jobs, who’d just begun his journey from basement geek to tech world demigod, was fascinated by the concept of watching himself on-screen, exclaiming “Look at that! I’m on television!”

We’re most amused by his ability to keep his Skywalker-era hair shining so brilliantly despite the fact that he was “deathly ill, actually, and ready to throw up at any moment” (he was “not joking”).

Oh, and the beard. Good God, that beard.

Will the Steve Jobs Movies Be Good PR for Apple?

Today we stopped thinking of Ashton Kutcher as “Kelso from That 70’s Show” long enough to wonder: will the two upcoming films about Apple co-founder Steve Jobs create good press for a company that could use some?

Much of this week’s news concerns a bit of indirect back-and-forth between jOBS star Kutcher and Steve Wozniack, the company’s other co-founder. “Woz” pointed out inaccuracies in the movie while Kutcher told the Associated Press that filmmakers never had the chance to get Steve #2′s side of the story in the first place. Why? Because he’s “being paid” to promote Sony’s as-yet-untitled Aaron Sorkin film on the same topic—and he chose to make himself “extremely unavailable” during the production process.

Our question, though, is more about the company at large: could these movies help Apple overcome the common perception that its peak has passed?

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Can Alexander Wang Make Samsung as Fashionable as Apple?

Apple‘s latest PR push and disappointing iPhone 5 sales have led some to wonder: Is Steve Jobs‘s baby no longer the king of all things cool? Have Samsung and Microsoft somehow managed to knock the reigning tech nerds off their perch?

We wouldn’t go that far, but it’s clear that Apple’s cheaper, less fashionable competitors are upping their game. This week, for example, Samsung officially launched a Galaxy promo campaign designed to combine several untouchably cool elements: New York Fashion Week, crowdsourcing and red-hot designer/Balenciaga creative director Alexander Wang. The campaign’s first video spot, released yesterday and titled “Be Creative”, shows Wang using his Galaxy Note II to do just that:

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Apple’s PR Team Gets More Aggressive with the Message

Apple CEO Tim CookFor a long time, it seemed like Steve Jobs and the team at Apple saw traditional PR approaches and tools like press releases as ancient relics. They were over it.

Things are different now, though. The Wall Street Journal tells us that, in the light of recent stock dips and disappointing sales numbers, Apple has decided to “subtly [increase] some of its PR—at least for now.”

What does that mean? Well, the team issued an honest-to-God press release to mark the all-but-meaningless evolution of its operating system from iOS 6 to iOS 6.1–and this was “the first time Apple has issued an official press release for a non-major mobile software” roll-out since way back in 2010.

That’s not all: In addition to posting an uncharacteristically large number of press releases so far in 2013, the company has also been more active about sending positive third-party media mentions to journalists. One of the pieces circulating is a study predicting that, by 2014, Apple will be “just as accepted in the enterprise as Microsoft“. Wait, a study predicting that your company will be as much a part of the status quo as your biggest, lamest competitor?

This is not the Apple we know and love.

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Apple’s ‘Made in USA’ Plan: Good PR, Bad Strategy or Both?

Tim Cook and Brian WilliamsApple CEO Tim Cook made the media rounds this morning to hype a major announcement: For the first time in well over a decade, Apple will be manufacturing a certain number of its products within the United States.

As cynics, we see this move as a blatant attempt to counter all the bad PR that Apple received over the Foxconn outsourcing/slave labor/suicide scandal (though we would note that this awful story didn’t really prevent anyone, least of all ourselves, from buying Apple products).

The fact that late CEO Steve Jobs supposedly denied a request for more domestic production from none other than President Obama strengthens this theory. As much as we’ve accepted outsourcing as a part of the modern business landscape, everyone loves to hear about good new jobs for Americans. So this is great PR, right?

Maybe–but investors hated it, and we have a feeling certain Apple advisers did too.

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How Come PR Gets No Respect?

Rodney DangerfieldMuck Rack’s Gregory Galant begins his latest CNN piece on the state of the PR world with a few unsettling facts:

  • US companies spend $150 billion annually on advertising and only $5 billion on public relations
  • Advertising professionals make up to 75% more than their PR counterparts
  • MBA courses in public relations are far rarer than courses in advertising
  • When it comes to pop culture figures, advertising has Don Draper while PR has…Samantha on Sex and the City. Not a fair match, is it?

No matter what the public thinks of the public relations industry, we all know how important it is—and so do the people in power. Steve Jobs himself often served as Apple’s pitchman, calling The Wall Street Journal reporters at home to hype his company’s latest tech innovations.

OK, so why don’t the unwashed masses give us the respect we so obviously deserve? The reasons are clear enough:

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Is Apple ‘Not a Sustainable Business Culture’?

Apple CEO Tim Cook Apple may have a bit of a PR problem on its hands thanks to a former executive who doesn’t seem to mind voicing his very frank opinions of the company’s top brass to all interested parties.

David Sobotta spent nearly twenty years in sales at what is now the most valuable business in history. He started writing an Apple-centric blog after leaving the company in 2004, and last month he published “The Pomme Company“, an e-book offering readers a “look inside one of America’s most secretive companies” from someone who was there for the long haul.

Apple execs, however, are more concerned with an interview between the writer and Dan Lyons of Readwrite titled “What’s It Like to Work for Tim Cook“. Turns out Sobotta wasn’t a big fan!

Sobotta calls Cook “one of the three people directly responsible for saving Apple” and admires the chief’s chutzphah; he wasn’t surprised by the decision to cut two top execs loose last month in a management shake-up move. But he refers to the current CEO as a technological “lightweight” who has “no personal loyalty”. He doesn’t have anything good to say about Cook’s management style either, claiming that “The people I saw him hire were not good ones” and that “he is poor judge of character.”

His final proclamation? “It is going to get worse at Apple. It is not a sustainable business culture.”

Wow, that’s more than a little harsh, Dave. Tell us what you really think!

Will Sobotta prove to be a big problem for Cook and Apple, or this just more of the usual Silicon Valley infighting, best ignored by all but fanboys and tech bloggers?

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