While Apple is currently knee deep in the celebrity hacking PR scandal, its sustained time in the media limelight is not a result of luck or chance. Apple has strategically positioned its brand in the media to gain a strong and unwavering brand reputation. The following five tactics, when incorporated into your marketing/PR strategy, will serve to advance your authority and the quality of your performance of your startup.
1) Be An Overall Watchdog
After building up your brand with marketing, you need to maintain its growing reputation with public relations. At Apple, top executives are sent a weekly report detailing the company’s latest press coverage. As Jeff Bezos says, “your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Therefore, it’s essential to have perpetual awareness of what is being said about your brand so you can manage your brand.
2) Work to Shift the Narrative
When journalists want to expand on the topic, make sure it aligns with the angle you are pitching. If something controversial is published, use social calling to address the criticisms and to shift the narrative. As Fortune put it, “it didn’t take long for [Apple’s] friends in the media (with some gentle prodding from Apple PR) to strike back.”
3) Less is More
Apple’s “say-nothing” strategy not only creates anticipation around the release of their products but also keeps them out of trouble. As a former Apple PR put it, “Once you start answering questions, you get a foot in your mouth… a lot of people don’t give credit to the art form of working on background”
4) Playing Publications Against Each Other
The late Steve Jobs would get the front cover of Newsweek or TIME by making them fight for an exclusive story. When technology blogs gained traction, Jobs used the same tactic with Gizmodo and Engadget. This strategy, as the former head of Gizmodo Brian Lam put it, “was not any different from how Apple would strike their media deals or their supply chain to get the best prices.”
5) “It’s not about you, it’s about the company and it’s about the product”
While Apple knows it has something the journalists and media want, they also understand that the journalists and media are doing them a favor. As a startup, you have to understand what their motivations are on the other side so it is a reciprocal relationship. Do not take for granted their ultimate objective of providing current, creative, and captivating stories for the target audience. If you remain thoughtful and responsive, you will be able to promote the company and the product first.