The three key tenants of Heart & Mind® Branding apply to the Apple founder.
With Steve Jobs announcing he is stepping down from his role of CEO of Apple, people are speculating about what made him so powerful, so successful and so iconic. Everything from his off-the-charts intelligence, his insane attention to every detail, his intensity and his relentless micromanagement just to highlight a few. But I’ll say it is all of these and none of these at the same time. That’s putting too much emphasis on the micro aspects of a macro human being, a total person.
There’s no doubt that Steve Jobs isn’t just the founder of Apple he is a brand unto himself. The same things that makes Apple a great brand is the same things that makes Steve Jobs a great brand. They are the three key tenants of Heart & Mind Branding: Great brands are always Genuine, Meaningful and Different.
Too many people want to complicate the power of brands by looking at them under a microscope. The real power of a brand happens by looking through the telescope. On a grand scale, Steve Jobs is and has been since the very first Apple computer, the genuine Steve Jobs. He may have grown older as we all do and wiser and richer, but in general the Steve Job we saw in the old Apple product launch reels is not at all different from the Steve Jobs we see in the launch videos today. And its clear to anyone watching his attitudes, behaviors, delivery and passion is not an act. How many of you as entrepreneurs, how many of you as employees, as managers can say the same of yourself or your leaders? Are you genuine or are you holding back, putting on aires, trying to be someone else or matching who you are to who you are with? Steve Jobs is Steve Jobs and that’s what makes him and his brand powerful.
Steve Jobs isn’t just genuine, his genuineness is meaningful to people who love technology, music, video, business, entrepreneurship and every other area of life that the products his company creates enhance. Furthermore, Steve Jobs has a way of delivering and communicating what could be just “boring technology” in a way that connects with his audiences. And he always has. His message matters to legions of followers. It also repels others who don’t connect with the genuine Steve Jobs and like any great brand, he appears okay with that. By choosing to be one thing as a brand, we by definition dismiss everything else as off brand. More things are off brand to Steve Jobs than on brand and that’s the way it should be.
Clearly Steve Jobs has taken a stand on the nature and the future of technology and that stand is not just a part of who he is as a brand, but also what his company is as one too. It’s a strong stand and by that measure alone, the Steve Jobs brand is different. He owns his personna, he owns his attitude, he owns his fire. This made him a standout in a world where getting noticed was the precursor to success. I’m talking about 30 years ago, not just today. Back when Steve Jobs was nearly unknown, his uniqueness began fueling his and his company’s brand engines. He began to get noticed, as did his company’s products.
So you can look and talk about all the micro attributes of this gifted man and analyze them over too many glasses of wine. Or you can look at the whole person for what he is–a leader–who stayed true to himself and his mission, a mission that is meaningful to so many and by shear virtue of those two things, made him different from everyone else. So instead of trying to work into your daily work the small behaviors of a great man, instead look up at the great leader and find the great leader in yourself.
What is branding? Heart & Mind® Branding.