Understanding Brand Strategy Inspired by Steve Jobs

Years ago, Steve Jobs delivered one of the most remarkable speeches about branding. At the launch of their new campaign “Think Different” at the time, (which we are sharing below) Steve Jobs recognized that Apple needed to send a new message to their consumers. It was time to shift the conversation.

Here is the ad:

So, what did Steve Jobs and Apple do differently? What did they do that was responsible for creating one of the most recognized brands in the world alongside Nike, Disney, and Coca-Cola?

Making your mark in a noisy world.

Steve Jobs described the world as “noisy.” If Apple continued to market their products positioned next to Windows and promoted their specs, their product would get lost, forgotten. Businesses have such a small window of opportunity to truly capture the attention of audiences and Jobs brought up a valid point – what are we going to be remembered by?

In order to have a successful brand, you have to invest time and care. Brands that last can weather the changes in time, economy and they do so because they speak to their consumers on different emotional levels, they don’t speak about themselves. 

Looking to the greats.

How have the greatest brands retained their relevance? Steve Jobs loved talking about Nike. In his speech introducing the “Think Different” campaign he reflected on Nike’s effective advertising strategies. When they promoted a product, they didn’t talk about their features or compared their insoles to Reebok’s, so why we would do that with computers?

If Apple and Steve Jobs were to succeed (which we now know they did) they weren’t going to do that talking about gigahertz and price points. Nike’s ads honored great athletes and olympians at the time. They spoke to their consumers about who they are and what they are about. The promoted their values – not their product.

It began with marketing values.

The truth is, products and services change. They fall behind, they get better. Ultimately, however, businesses that care to stay afloat eventually catch up to other businesses. At one point or another, one business will offer the same thing as their competitors. It’s the nature of competition. So, if your products change and you are constantly promoting specs and services, how do you expect to have a brand that weathers those changes?

By selling the WHY. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

With the “Think Different” campaign, Apple began promoting it’s core values and it made all the difference.

“We believe that in the world, people can change it for the better.” – Steve Jobs

Where is our place in this world?

Years after the campaign, the products manufactured by Apple have changed, the market has changed, technology has changed – but what they have believed at their core has remained the same. Your business may change, but it should always be true to your values.

If you look at the “Think Different” campaign you see Apple recognizing the great minds of the century – the crazy ones, the ones who challenge the status quo. It was in that moment, the brand truly came to life. For every person in the ad who is no longer living, if they used a computer… it would have probably been a Mac.

Here is the video where Steve Jobs introduces the campaign that changed the way we look at brand strategy:

Is it time to work on your brand strategy? Give us a call today so we can work on a plan that meets your needs.