The greatest entrepreneurs do not just build businesses.
They build a strong, sensational business brand that becomes the beacon of their success. Most people think that the greatest thing Steve Jobs did was to build the Apple Company. That’s not true. While Steve Jobs built Apple that was not the most important thing he built.
The Apple Brand was the most important thing Steve Jobs built.
Let me prove it to you. When Steve was fired from Apple in 1985 by the board of directors, he left the company he co-founded. Steve Jobs did not take the company away. He left the company and John Sculley was asked to run the company.
There’s no doubt that John Sculley was an intelligent business manager. He was very good at managing the Apple Company but he was very bad at building the Apple Brand. And the secret of Apple’s success has been attributed to the brand.
That means when the brand was alive, then the company was alive and growing. Someway somehow, John Sculley could not do a great job building the Apple Brand. He neglected the Apple Brand while focusing on the Apple Company.
You could remember that when Steve Jobs returned back to the company in 1997, he said in his Think Different speech, “The Apple Brand has clearly suffered from neglect in this area the last few years.” To revive the company, he focused on the brand and revitalized it.
The importance of a brand to business can’t be underestimated. If you have a business today, you should focus on building a brand for the business. If you build a great brand, the brand will become the beacon of success for the company and make it successful.
So how do you build a great brand? Well let’s learn some brand lessons from Steve Jobs.
- Define who you are and what you stand for.
Steve Jobs said, “Our customers want to know who is Apple and what is it that we stand for in this world.”
That was his most fundamental question when it comes to rekindling the fire of the Apple Brand. He knew that the Apple Company was dying become the management and the board of directors had forgotten about who Apple is.
Steve Jobs said, “Apple at the core, its core value is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better.” That is Apple’s purpose— mission and reason for Apple’s existence– is to work with people with a passion to create products that will change the world for the better.
But Apple has 7 core values which blend with its fundamental mission. This is what Jim Collins, author of Built to Last calls in his book, “Core Ideology.” The core values in addition to the purpose of the company form the soul of the company
2. Communicate who you are what you stand for
The focus of Steve Jobs was not to sell an iPhone or an iPad. He was smarter than that. Steve Job knew that profits come from unique features of their products, but an affinity to the company comes from the features of the company.
His focus was to sell the company—the Apple Brand.
You see when you sell the company and people believe in the company, they will believe in the products that come from the company. And when people don’t believe in the company, they will also not believe in the products.
So when Steve Jobs arrive in the company, he did not focus on marketing any product, he focused on marketing the Apple Brand. That was the reason he did not call it“Product marketing campaign.” He called it “Brand Marketing Campaign.”
To build a great brand you need to understand your purpose and core values and then find a way to communicate it to the world. Find a way to express it to the world through the brad message. To do this, you must express who you are and what it stands for through the marketing, operations, and finance of the company.
Your brand message is a summary of what the brand means and stands for. Your brand message is a short message that expresses who the company is and what it really stands for. The brand message is short phrases that encapsulate and sells the brand to the world.
3. Be really clear on your brand message
Steve Jobs said, “To me, marketing is about values. This is a very complicated world, it’s a very noisy world. And we’re not going to get the chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us.”
What does Steve Jobs want people to know about Apple?
He wanted people to know that Apple isn’t just about making boxes where people will get their jobs, although they do that better than anybody. He wanted people to know that Apple believes that people with passion can change the world for the better.
He said that those people who think they can change the world for the better thinks differently. They think differently from the masses. This was why the brand message was “Think Different!”
And he associated this brand message to people like Mohammed Ali, Walt Disney and all others who changed the world for the better through their act of service. The theme of the brand marketing campaign was “Think Different!”
4. Your brand should honor a specific group of people.
Every brand speaks to a specific audience. It attracts a specific group of people to it. Those people are the fans of the brands. The fans of the brand are the people who eventually buy the products and promote the company through word of mouth.
Steve Jobs said, “The theme of this campaign is ‘Think Different’—honoring the people who think different and move this world forward.”
Steve Jobs believed that the focus of the Apple Brand is to create innovative products that will honor the people who ‘think different’ and move this forward. This group of people is primarily made up of transformational leaders, heroes and people whose accomplishment changed the world for the better.
This group is a fan of the brand. The specific group of people that the brand must serve. This is not just a target market that you want to sell to. It’s a group of people that you want to honor through what you do—your products and services.
5. Invest and care for your brand
You can have a great brand, but if you don’t care and invest in the brand regularly, the brand is most likely to die over time. To keep the brand alive, you must continually invest in it and keep it in the front out there. You need to invest in brand building and brand development.
Steve Jobs said, “But even a great brand needs investment and caring if it’s going to maintain its relevance vitality.”
To keep your brand alive, you must make sure that you invest in brand marketing and brand building activities. You have to care about the brand—the core values and sense of meaning behind the brand. You should try not to do anything that will affect the reputation of the brand.
Every person in the organization must not do things that will stain the reputation of the brand. The core values and purpose of the company must be expressed through the day-to-day operations of the company. This will help to keep the brand alive. One of the ways to invest in the brand is leveraging the power of social media and PR.
If you begin to practice these business brand lessons from Steve Jobs, it will quickly help you get back on the track of building your business brand and keeping it alive.