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.