Part 3: What is a celebrity press release? What do they do differently?
We’ve talked about a star athlete. We’ve talked about a famous rapper. It’s time to see how a technology pioneer used press releases to spread the word about one of the most iconic brands of all time.
Can you guess who it is?
Steve Jobs – Crafting a Voice:
There are countless stories of Jobs both as a visionary for the future of technology and as a hardheaded, at times difficult leader that would do anything to achieve success.
There was the time he told his employees that he believed in a “no-excuses,” form of leadership. This meant that high-level executives that had important responsibilities were not to attempt to justify their mistakes with any form of reasoning; if it was their fault, it was their fault.
He also was known to fire employees at a moment’s notice, without any warning whatsoever. His temper and odd style of social interaction would at times carry over to his participation in customer relations.
Occasionally, Jobs would answer emails on an account that he had made public. It was likely that he was receiving thousands upon thousands of emails on the account, so Job’s decision to engage with users through it was a unique move by itself. However, the ways in which he would respond to customer inquiries were far more intriguing. In one instance, Jobs received an email from a customer complaining about functionality issues concerning the iPhone 4’s antenna; the issues were found to spike when users held the phone in a specific fashion. Jobs’ response?
“Avoid holding it that way.”
Although the aforementioned examples depict Jobs to be a bit of a condescending tyrant (a description of which many of his former employees might find to be fitting), he was also a genius within his field. He was a coding wiz, a creative mastermind, and a man who knew the importance of crafting both an image and a voice for a brand.
Apple’s logo, social media presence, media assets, and overall presentation are often collectively referenced as examples of excellent corporate branding. One of the aspects of the company’s marketing and communications strategy that is lesser-known was Steve Jobs’ obsession with overseeing each and every press release distributed by the brand.
In one instance, Jobs rewrote an entire release discussing a new partnership because he didn’t like the name of the partner. He made sure that the name of the brand didn’t make an appearance throughout the entire release. Jobs was on top of press releases, down to individual words and phrases.
One of Jobs signature communications strategies can be found in the famous press release in which Apple announced the first generation iPhone. The release is featured below – can you spot it?
Notice the word that follows the name of the new product. Here’s a hint – it precedes the product description.
Jobs insisted that all of Apple’s products were to be directly assigned individual adjectives that would invoke feelings of inspiration and awe. The iPhone is revolutionary, the iPad is magical, etc. Most importantly, Jobs followed a methodology known as “write once, use many.” In other words, Jobs would align a new product with an exciting adjective, and then proceed to ensure that it was paired with said adjective in all future media campaigns.
This tactic drives home the idea that these products could produce experiences that the adjectives promised – the iPad could cause a small child to stare with wonder as a new game pops up on the screen. The iPhone would change communication forever, and the original iPod would solidify its position as a legendary piece of technology by allowing for music to flow through the ears of millions worldwide.
Although this celebrity press release isn’t about Jobs himself, you can still adopt the principles discussed in this post.
If you are an executive that oversees a small or midsize business, you should consider implementing a similar strategy. Command your media, marketing, and communications campaigns with a strategy that resonates with company leadership.
By doing so, you enhance your overall branding by creating a voice for the company that directly reflects the values and aspirations of those at the top. And make sure to reinforce this campaign through a multitude of media channels! It is the best way to ensure that your voice is heard.
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