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Posts Tagged ‘Tim Cook’

Martha Stewart vs. Apple PR, Round One

Everyone’s favorite domestic goddess first learned to use a microwave while in prison—and she still hasn’t mastered certain fruit-themed tech toys.

Martha Stewart almost beat Kanye West for most ridiculous Twitter outburst last night. It seems she dropped her iPad on Wednesday and spent much of Thursday evening sitting, tweeting and (presumably) sipping her signature wine as she waited for the company to respond.

It got a little weird:

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Apple’s ‘Keep ‘Em Guessing’ Press Strategy Works Wonders

Oh wait, actually we are.

We’re still a little amazed by how often journalists mention Apple—just do a Google News search and you’ll see what we mean. The company’s PR team doesn’t even really need to pitch anyone for all that  earned media, right? It’s enough to make you jealous.

A great example: no one knows exactly what the company plans to do this fall beyond releasing yet another iPhone, but they’re all still reporting on the brand’s plans to do something. Apple encourages this rampant speculation by toying with journalists’ desire to break a story—any story.

Here’s the famously press-shy company’s latest release, sent out to tech journos by CEO Tim Cook this morning:

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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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Did Google Maps Make Us Lose Our Minds?

The public can relax now. The Google Maps app is here, so we can all rest assured that we’ll know exactly where here is once again.

But that whole Apple maps debacle was scary, wasn’t it? Though we appreciate that Apple CEO Timothy Cook acknowledged the mistake and owned it, he left the public asking one collective, exasperated question: Where are we?

The public outcry over Apple’s failed attempt to replace the functional and beloved Google Maps revealed something very telling about people today: we’re no longer as resourceful as we once were. Though technology is designed to make our lives easier, it also has a way of disconnecting us from the real world.

When, exactly, did the public forget how to get from point A to point B? The Google Maps app, of course, is a godsend for those stubborn men who refuse to ask for directions, but when we no longer need the kindness and patience of a stranger to point us in the right direction (or the brainpower to establish our own bearings), we’re losing something as a society.

The iPhone’s ability to always let us know where we are has caused us to lose a sense of who we are.

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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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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?

Will the Public Tire of Apple’s Endless Product Rollout?

Here we go again. Apple launches yet another highly-anticipated product amid a media whirlwind/ hype machine set to whip up the public like a bowl of meringue. And it works. Every time.

This time, as we’re sure you know, it’s the iPad Mini, released this week to combat the Friday debut of Microsoft’s Surface tablet and its brand-new Windows 8 operating system.

OK, even the most committed technophile reaches a saturation point. Nothing in life can be completely new and revolutionary and hype-worthy all the time, and while Apple’s success is well-deserved, we can’t help but wonder just when the working public will tire of these $500 “upgrades.”

As PR professionals, however, we do know that whenever super-CEO Tim Cook feels the need to apologize for poor decisions like omitting Google Maps from the iPhone 5 and creating a terrible app to replace it, the public takes notice. So the brand must tread carefully with regard to the public’s trust, good will, and willingness to get excited about something “new.” Need we remind you that many Americans are still just scraping by? Read more

Remembering Steve Jobs on the Anniversary of His Death

Steve Jobs died one year ago today.

The best thing about time is that, when given enough of it, we can gain perspective on just about everything.

This sad anniversary is not only a time to reflect, as Apple has done in the above video, but to assess and even speculate. It’s what Steve Jobs would have done. People typically don’t like change because we’re afraid of what we don’t know. So when Steve Jobs passed and an uncertain future faced Apple, many feared the worst, whispering in gloom-and-doom tones like that paranoid aunt we sit next to at Thanksgiving dinner. But instead of veering into financial collapse, the Apple brand awoke this morning as the most successful company in America.

And you can thank Steve Jobs for that. The public is discerning and critical by nature, but what Steve Jobs gave the public wasn’t just a string of innovative, sleek and disarmingly useful products that many of us can’t live without; he gave us a legacy. For most of us legacy is relegated to family members, but we’re not exaggerating when we say that Steve Jobs changed the world–and the way we interact with it.

A legacy takes a lifetime to create, and through energetic diligence, bombastic discipline and a humming internal nuclear reactor of creativity, Steve Jobs revolutionized our lives to such a degree that his death was much more than just a physical event. He lives on through the way we use technology in our everyday lives both personal and professional–and these changes will extend to our children and their grandchildren. The public still loves Steve Jobs, flaws and all, because he made a positive and lasting impact on the world (unless, of course, you are a button).

With each passing year the anniversary of Steve Job’s death will receive less and less coverage. But as PR people, today, we’d like to do what we can to stem the tide of time and call attention to a true innovator. RIP Steve Jobs. The public knows what you did. Thanks.

Can the ‘iPad Mini’ Make up for Apple Maps?

Thanks to Interbrand and common sense, we now know that Apple is the No. 2 most valuable brand in the world—and its profile is rising faster than that of any other company.

Yet, in the wake of disappointing iPhone 5 sales numbers and the whole Apple Maps debacle, some have begun to wonder whether CEO Tim Cook is strong enough to sustain his company’s incredible upward trajectory.

We may find out soon enough with Apple’s latest product roll-out: the iPad mini. Details about the model are still vague, but if we didn’t know better we might say that Apple is playing the classic “show ‘em the carrot” PR game by leaking news about their newest digital accessory, encouraging rumors to build in the tech world and getting ahead of chief rival Samsung’s mini-Galaxy S III roll-out.

How important will the iPad mini be? Will it distract the public (and the ravenous tech blog community) from Apple’s recent PR stumbles?

Tim Cook Is, Like, So Sorry for Apple Maps

The public doesn’t know Apple as a company prone to apology. We imagine its communications team would be far more comfortable issuing a statement to the effect of “the obvious superiority of our products speaks for itself, hahaha”. Hey, we understand—apologies acknowledge the imperfections that come with being human, and CEO’s aren’t generally too big on humility (with good reason).

And yet, CEO Tim Cook felt the need to release an official statement to customers today in order to control the spread of bad publicity stemming from the awfulness that is Apple Maps.

We can’t imagine Cook enjoyed writing this little letter, and we wonder what finally led him to draft it: Was it Motorola’s viciously effective #iLost ad? Was it this hilarious tumblr page? We’re not sure, but we do admire Cook’s ability to acknowledge that his company made a completely terrible product!

Readers should note Cook’s unreservedly apologetic tone in writing that Apple “fell short on this commitment”. Unlike the other big “damage control” missive released this morning, Cook’s note includes the word “sorry”. A real-life apology! We just might be impressed!

Cook promises to get to work on improving the map app, and we’re sure that a few programmers have had anxiety attacks this week–but what will the CEO’s next move be?

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