Cup of Joe: Steve Jobs Is a Marketing Guru




Let me start off with a little disclaimer: I don’t like Apple products. I used nothing but Apple products for most of the 1990s but since then I’ve grown to dislike the vast majority of the things they produce and the business decisions they choose to make.

However, I think Steve Jobs is a marketing genius. If you look at Apple’s history it is defined by a very distinctive brand and vision which has guided their direction and development. This can be seen in everything from their products to their user interface. All of which emphasizes a polished and well thought out marketing strategy.

Above, Steve Jobs talks about working with iconic graphic designer Paul Rand on Job’s once NeXT. Paul Rand, is responsible for some of the most recognizable logos and brands in American culture. He single-handedly defined what it means to combine modern artistic thought and business strategy. It’s this same combination that has driven Apple’s marketing agenda for the last 20 years.

For Rand, graphic design wasn’t an artistic approach for the sake of art, but rather an unique problem that must be solved in order to convey a brands message to the public. He approaches every task at hand by searching for a solution first and then utilizing the appropriate skill set when needed. As a result he produced sometimes overly simple images that drove home the company’s message.

“Simplicty is not the goal. It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations.” – Paul Rand

Are You Branding for Branding’s Sake?

One of the lessons that we can learn from Rand and Jobs is that marketing for marketing’s sake is pointless. Companies should be developing and integrating long-term visions and scope within their marketing process. Developing logos, web layouts, and print materials with no sense of direction can prove to be a waste of time when trying to build a brand. Develop a vision for your company’s future, and combine that vision with your marketing efforts, to create the type of brand that Rand and Jobs are masters at.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “dress for the job you want”. In the same sense it’s important to envision where you want your company to be in five years and work now to build a brand suitable for your vision.

  • http://www.howtospoter.com Alex Sysoef

    Yeah, I wish we all had access to the “Paul Rand” :-)

    I do have to say that I tend to stay away from apple products as well, and even though I loved it when they switched to Unix based OS – there is still too much of what they do doesn’t seat well with me.
    .-= Alex Sysoef´s last blog ..Top 8 Power Tools Of A Digital Nomad =-.

  • arw

    What is there not to like with Apple? They make the most elegant technology products in the world, hands down. On the other hand, I’m not paritcularly pleased with their staunch efforts to lock down their products. Technology has always benefited from the tinkerers. But then again, I understand that Steve looks at computing as an appliance, and in that dimension it is usual to have limited access to the inner workings of a product.

  • http://drivingonlinesales.com/ Wynne

    I like Apple products. However, I am not ‘wowed’ by them. They’ve done some things extremely well – marketing being the primary one. You’ve gotta give credit where credit is due, and Apple are probably one of the best marketing companies ever in the history of our planet.
    .-= Wynne´s last blog ..The Internet is Finally Helping Offline Local Business =-.

  • Joe Buhler

    Another guy who seems to dislike Apple and Jobs because other success. Have personally used their products since 1984 and they have gotten steadily better, especially since Jobs’ return. He’s not only a marketing but business genius period. What I like especially about him is that he decided not to give hoot about his mostly jealous critics. Like that attitude a lot!

    • http://joehall.me/ Joe Hall

      You mentioned that you have been using Apple products since ’84. Have you had a chance to use anything else? I have used Apple, PC, and Linux all thoroughly, and Apple continues to be my least favorite. So, no, I don’t dislike Apple because of their so called “success”, I dislike them because they make inferior products.

      btw, I like your first name! :)

  • http://www.bentoboxanalytics.com Meng Goh

    Is Paul the marketing guru or Steve Jobs? Is Steve jobs the marketing guru because he has the money and vision to hire Paul? Still not quite sure why Steve Jobs is a marketing guru base on your article. Steve Jobs help create consumer appealing products, it’s easy to market good products than trying to sell craps. What exactly is Apple’s “long-term vision and scope” as far as marketing goes?
    .-= Meng Goh´s last blog ..Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-04-23 =-.

    • http://joehall.me/ Joe Hall

      Well they both are. But this article was stating that Jobs is because he has the unyielding vision that influences all of Apple’s branding/marketing efforts over the last 20 years.