I’ve always liked Apple.
Not just in the geeky ‘great stuff that works great’ sense. What I loved was the way that the great stuff was marketed. Sure, the fact that the guy behind the company was a bit of a rebel made for a great back-story; real rags to riches stuff. It was that kind of nature that brought on the development of the Macintosh.
And I really admired that the man wasn’t afraid to dream big, to fall flat, or to start all over again in a whole new field. He understood that when you get a second chance you make the most of it! After 12 years away from Cupertino he hit the ground running with one great idea after another. The iMac. The iPod. The iPhone. The iPad. With iTunes in support. I guess all that time in the wilderness wasn’t wasted.
Having all that great technology is one thing, but it’s worthless in a business sense if you can’t get it to market. Or get the market to notice you. Steve Jobs knew how important it was to have a Unique Selling Proposition – Apple ads are gems of the advertising world.
So he didn’t build another beige box, he built a box with personality. He didn’t make another MP3 player, he made an icon out of the iPod. He didn’t invent the tablet, but he cornered the market with the iPad.
He understood it’s not enough to create awareness for your product, you need customers to want your product. It was his ability to awaken that desire within the consumer, turn them into customers and have them become raving fanbois that I admired most as a marketer.
It was this approach which helped me define what it would take for me to succeed in selling:
Know your customer. And make them happy.
The secret to Steve’s success wasn’t just that he could make a better computer. Arguably he suffered his greatest losses when he held the edge in technology. No, he really became successful when he learnt to sell his wares better, when he understood his market and knew how to make them happy. The customer could relate to what Steve was selling, and how he was selling it to them.
At a time when people were fearing that technology would only be for nerds, Steve stepped in and reassured them that in his vision of the future no-one would be left behind. In time he would make it possible for us to have a computer in every home, a stereo in every pocket, a connection to the worldwide web in the palm of our hand.
It was Jobs’ ability to tell a story about the product in a way people could understand that really underpinned Apple’s rise to America’s greatest company. No jargon needed, just give the people what they want in a package that not only works well and looks good, but makes them feel better for having purchased it.
Steve Jobs made products for the masses that made them feel empowered. He turned the future on its head by making technology personal, by letting people be in control and not enslaved or overawed by it. And with clever advertising and an understanding of his market he created a brand that is almost without peer.
Apple have it all before them now. Their Messiah may have left the building, (in much better shape than when he entered it for the second time), but there is much he has left them, and all the world with too. Whatever the future holds, his imprint is indelibly etched upon it for generations to come.
I have added some links to some of my favourite Steve Jobs moments from Youtube.