Steve Jobs bio gives insights for PR pros
Just finished Steve Jobs official biography by Walter Isaacson. I’m really glad I invested the time into learning more about this amazing individual — someone who has made a huge impact on computing, music, movies… Fascinating stuff.
It was interesting to read how Jobs approached public relations. He threw out the playbook in certain areas — and followed closely in others.
For example, after hearing different opinions from PR veterans on how to handle widely reported problems with a new version of the iPhone, he decided against those who wanted him to apologize. He instead listened to a PR pro who counseled him to be factual — share data about industry cell phone standards, showing all phones have similar issues — and not sound a contrite tone. They felt an apologetic Jobs wouldn’t sound genuine. So he offered no apology, but did offer refunds for those who wanted to turn in their phones. The return rate ended up below industry standards, and the phone went on to be a top seller.
On the other hand, he followed a more traditional path — getting front-page coverage in top publications by brokering exclusive interviews with trusted journalists — when doing product launches. He knew how the media worked, and built on mutually beneficial relationships to achieve his objectives.
The bottom line for me, was the confirmation that PR is both art and science. There’s no cookie cutter approach. You’ve got to consider the individuals involved, the culture of the organization, the product/service, the market… Many factors.
Would be curious of what you thought about the book, from a PR or marketing angle.