I blame the late Steve Jobs and his iPhone for our collective loss of memory. Apple is cramming more gigabytes of memory into each new device seemingly with the intention to render the limbic system of our brains obsolete. The reason, they tell us, is to enhance the multitasking function of their operating system so that we can complete more tasks faster.
I’m not convinced. I doubt we can achieve greatness with this power in our hands because what they and the other tech companies of this world have created is a distracted universe. “I went to the web to look for a flambé recipe and hours later I came out on the dark side of the internet,” a victim lamented recently.
Despite my misgivings I have to give them top marks for their marketing genius. They manage to outsell all other smartphone (and dumb-phone) models despite the fact their arch nemesis, Samsung, consistently beats them to the plate on technological advancements.
Apple launched the Macintosh in 1984 with an overpriced Super Bowl ad called — wait for it — “1984”, based on George Orwell’s book of the same title. In the ad they convinced us to break the shackles of ‘big brother’ and in defiance find our own expression and creativity, a theme that has saturated political and social thought since time immemorial. This ad is the symbolical beginning of Apples fanatical following that is coupled with religious zeal.
Apple devotees would never confess about walking into a Samsung store, and if they happened to stumble into one, they would have to go through several degrees of cleansing and purification after the ordeal.
Jokes aside, a major part of Apples marketing initiatives are the product launches held every year to demonstrate their latest innovations and new products. They’ve done this consistently since the 80s to a point where they have become predictable. Before the iPhone X launch on September 12th this year, there were numerous YouTube channels that had correctly prophesied the announcement date and the features found on the new model.
Indeed, at the first event Jobs actually wore a tuxedo complete with a bow tie, and yet these days even I could predict that the company executives will be dressed like hobos. The event however is watched by fans throughout the world yearning for a significant upgrade and who are ready to take their money from their employers and into the Apple Stores for safekeeping.
When you examine Apple’s original set of values you get to understand why they are able to build a bond with their customers akin to spiritual conviction. The first value is empathy, which helps the team to regard the world from the perspective of their customers. The second is focus, to keep them determined to make the worlds best products. Finally the third, awkwardly named impute, addressing the tendency for people to form opinions about a company from the signals that it conveys.
Jobs summed it up well when he said “Marketing is about values. It’s a complicated and noisy world, and we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear about what we want them to know about us.”