When something or someone fundamentally changes the way that people interact with technology, it’s a culture shift. Whether you are a big user or not, Apple has likely had an impact on the tools you use every day.
Making the switch finally last year from my dying PC laptop to iMac and MacBook Pro, I wondered why I waited so long. However, I still have a Droid, purchased before Verizon figured out how to sell iPhones. My mobile’s Android OS would likely never have been developed, however, without Apple’s first creating something so disruptive in the space. When it comes to aesthetics, it’s also very likely the look of some non-Mac product you bought recently was inspired by Apple’s iconic industrial design.
As a legendary product ‘hitmaker’ for his company, Job’s contributions as a marketing visionary are well-documented and voluminous. From perfectly aligned marketing communications, to brilliantly orchestrated campaigns for new product releases that teased just enough to create frenzied anticipation, Jobs helped the mass market fall in love with their computers and with the brand. Like rock fans, legions of the faithful camped on sidewalks to be first in line to buy the company’s latest products and thronged MacWorld to get close to their “Bono of technology”. And this was long before iPhone ever got Google thinking about being in the phone business. Until Apple and Jobs, consumers may have behaved this way about celebrities and concert tickets– but Jobs got people treating Apple products themselves like rock stars. And moreover, Jobs and his team at Apple made sure consumers feel that a little of that rock-star quality could be transmitted by using the products- from the moment they opened the box.
Job’s marketing genius resonates particularly today as the pioneer of modern ‘evangelist marketing’. Long before Facebook made it possible cultivate the shared enthusiasm of a target audience, Jobs understood the wisdom of crowds. He knew how to tap the power of creating community around a brand and took this to a whole new level. We now understand how critical this is in the context of social networks. We advise clients at Indelible Branding that the best route to social marketing success is to truly understand your target and make it clear that everything you do is just for them. Steve Jobs certainly made Apple customers feel that way – and developed an army of acolytes as a result.
The first business card I ever saw from a friend working at Apple raised eyebrows because it had ‘evangelist’ in the job title. There’s no doubt Jobs was the biggest evangelist the company will ever have. How could it be otherwise? Does it make him a hero? For many it does. One thing is certain, when it comes to marketing, his leadership will provide lessons for years to come.