How does Apple sell 13 million iPhones in 3 days? How does it continue to receive blanket, positive media coverage for its new product launches despite delivering only incremental updates? How does the company persuade customers to buy products every year that are often indistinguishable from the current version?
Two words: Public Relations.
The company, under Steve Jobs, spent years building and maintaining key relationships. Relationships, on which its long-term success would rely on. Apple invested in building mutually beneficial relationships with the people that would make or break the company?—?employees, journalists, customers and prospects, analysts, cell phone operators, media companies, music labels…?—?long before it ever needed to use them.
Wonder how Apple’s marketing and publicity always hits a home run? How it knows exactly how to position a new product or create one line of ad copy that says a thousands words?
It’s because Apple has built and maintained relationships over many years. It knows what the most important people to the success of its business want. It understands that if it gives them what they want, they’ll likely reciprocate.
Apple fulfilled its part of the agreement with the launch of the iPod, iPhone and iPad. With new Macbooks. With free updates to its operating system.By not giving them what other phone manufacturers gave them before it had figured out how it could add a unique value-add. By giving journalists [and their owners] a new shiny i-device every year it gave them what they most want?—?eyeballs. The regular spike in page impressions that Apple’s announcements generate also bump up the numbers on publishers advertising rate cards.
Apple delivers value to the media. Journalists?—?in most cases?—?write, word-for-word, the company’s sales and marketing messages.
While the media coverage generated by relationships built with journalists and publishing houses over the years doesn’t hurt – it’s worth remembering that many of the publications writing about the company also sell Apps for iPhone, iPod and iPad via Apple’s App Store – it’s really just an insurance policy.
Apple was as meticulous in the way it builds its relationships as it is about its product design. It doesn’t leave anything to chance. The real reason that Apple is able to sell 13m iPhones in three days?—?and the thing that has enabled the company to built the leviathan it has over the last 18 years is in the personal relationships it has built, and maintains, directly with both customers and prospects.
When Apple announced it was launching an initial 25 retail stores on May 15 2001?—?just four days before the first store opened its doors?—?many were skeptical. Now with 461 stores in 17 countries [as of October 2015] the Apple Store has become a central part of how Apple builds and maintains relationships with the people that are most important to the companies fortunes?—?customers and those considering switching.
In the Apple Store the company created a club house.
It’s a place customers can go to see the company’s latest devices; its where they can go if they have questions or problems with their devices; and provides prospects with a place to go to get hands on with its products before they part with a cent. Apple Stores are the destination for customers to get advice on how to better use the company’s products and services to enrich their personal and business lives and for advice on their next i-purchase.
The Apple Store has become the central tool in the company’s public relations activities. It is where the company builds and maintains insanely great relationships with its customers that enable it to develop products some stand in line for days to purchase.
That’s how Apple sells 13 million new iPhones in three days.
It’s called public relations.
Republished with permission from Lyndon Johnson, founder of Comms Bar.