Monday, January 22, 2018

Apple needs to plant seeds

People buy from people. We like to see a public face on a company and to get our information from a person. We like their name and face to feel familiar, and even though we only likely know them from TV, the internet or the newspaper, we like the feeling of being able to put the name to the face before it appears on the lower third of the screen.

That’s been the traditional strategy, and it works. It has certainly worked for Apple who relies heavily on their superstar founder Steve Jobs as the public face of the company since his return to as CEO in 1997.

But what do you do when your spokesperson is incapacitated? What if the public face of your company is such a visionary, that others will, despite being very competent and capable, pale by comparison? Other than provide able leadership and hope for Jobs’ return should Apple do?

The truth of the matter is, Apple can’t replace Jobs. He is a phenomenon, and they are few and far between.

But perhaps now would be a good time for Apple to diversify a bit and invest more confidence in their employees and customers alike.

For years, Apple has maintained strict control over their communications and Jobs was the public face of it. It’s only within the last six months or so that they’ve joined Twitter and Facebook. And even then, they are more interested in talking than listening and they have yet to empower the likely legion of apple employees who could help Apple customers the way Dell does.

Will a bunch of Apple employees using social media distract people from the absence of Steve Jobs? No. But it will let people give customers and investors alike a sense that the company is more than one very sick man who may or may not come back from his most recent medical leave.

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