Case Study: Apple and public relations
Posted by: Xposure Creative Brand Marketing
Date added: Wed 08 Aug 2012
When trying to explain to my parents and friends what public relations (PR) is and what I do, I often find myself looking into black faces of those who either don’t get it, or quite honestly don’t find it very interesting.
Although many choose to be oblivious to PR and the way it shapes their lives, purchasing habits and day-to-day routines, they are affected by its practices more than they probably realise. When they switch on the TV, no matter the channel, public relations will have been involved when it comes to placing the programme/advert on that channel at that specific time. When they open a newspaper, a public relations professional will have made hundreds of calls to journalists up and down the country to secure coverage for clients in that publication on that day. Even when buying breakfast, lunch or dinner, it is PR that will have helped my parents and friends form their opinions on which cereal or brands they buy, from targeted advertisements to on-brand messages to promote the item.
Basically PR is all about reputation management, promotion, understanding an audience and increasing profits! Your PR team, no matter the industry, will use public relations to manipulate how people see your company, and how they feel emotionally about what you do. In a market (no matter your industry), that is as saturated as it is today, it is all about getting the coverage and attention you need, to get you through difficult times. Often companies grab the limelight with an unusual fact about their business that makes people do a double-take, or by affiliating themselves with news or topical events (just try and count the amount of Olympic ads you see when you’re watching Coronation Street tonight!).
Over the next couple of blog posts, I am going to delve into the unique and ambitious PR techniques used by some of the world’s leading conglomerates to give an insight into what PR is, how its done, and which methods are best.
The first public relations technique I will analyse goes against all traditional PR methods and gives even its most loyal fans, the media and bloggers very little to work with. The company is Apple and I have named their technique, The PR Silent Treatment.
Apple- The PR Silent Treatment
Apple have long been advocates of the silent treatment when it comes to their PR campaigns. Saying very little for a long time between product launches, and then adopting a, “We’ll say what we want, when we want, to whom we carefully choose” (Charles Arthur, PR Week) Apple are a closed book when it comes to PR. Although people argue that when a company is this size, and has the popularity and army of loyal advocates such as Apple that public relations isn’t necessary, but it is interesting to note that even when Apple was relatively unknown, their PR campaign remained the same.
Far from being ineffective, the silent treatment has worked wonders for Apple who maintain the ideal, that the products should speak for themselves, and do not require hours of TV, radio and viral advertisements. The mystery surrounding the launch of any new Apple product adds suspense and keeps fans on their toes until the last minute (sometimes even keeping them in tents outside the stores, days before the latest product is released).
Sometimes to its fault, Apple maintains the silent treatment even when a crisis occurs. When it was announced that the software on the new iPhone recorded what signal receptors individuals used, when and where (which basically mapped out where they went in almost Big Brother style surveillance!) Apple remained completely silent. Giving this impending crisis no comment, or concern, they merely changed the software when the invasion of privacy went to the US Congress, keeping characteristically calm, where others would have panicked.
Its wise to have trusted journalists for any public relations campaign, the ones as a business, you prefer to use. When Apple decides to give press the time of day, it uses only a few high profile individuals, giving them a front row seat media events and only supplying them with products before a launch. Apple have also been known to maintain their silent treatment by taking legal actions and sending “cease and desist” letters to anyone who is too open about their latest launch, recently closing a ‘preferred journalist’s’ high profile blog down when he revealed just a little too much.
Any PR worth their salt will have been utilising social media for the past few years now, as an essential and easy way to build relationships and increase engagement with relevant audiences. As you would expect by now, Apple have ignored this outlet to continue down their path of silence, by having no official blogs, having only an automated Apple store feed on its Facebook and Twitter, and banning employees from sharing any Apple information on the internet at all times. This ensures that no one ever spills the beans, or lets any information slip, maintaining the air of mystery essential to the company’s reputation.
Apple exudes a dictator-style ruling on the sharing of information in their chosen public relations campaign, this said, recently efforts have shown they are attempting to address issues more quickly and effectively. This change in approach is likely to be down to Apple’s reputation as an elitist, and arrogant conglomerate, gained through their covert nature and secretive approached to business (sometimes even compared to a mafia mob!). This undesired reputation is due to the lack of image manipulation when it comes to PR, leaving to audiences making up their own minds (very dangerous).
Apple need to remember that a reputation is a hard thing to shift!
Stay tuned for the analysis of our next controversial PR campaign.
Other articles by Xposure Creative Brand Marketing:
Ever thought you could be getting something more out of your LinkedIn account, check out Xposure's 7 little know LinkedIn facts and features!
Fri 06 Jul 2012
Xposure would like to pass on their congratulations to Spark @ Notts 2012 competition winner, Alex Weston, of Matilsa Platforms.
Mon 02 Jul 2012
Xposure have created a brand new flash website for client Central Computer Management.
Mon 21 Nov 2011
Xposure have created a website for client, Broadsword taxis that works automatically for all devices!
Mon 01 Aug 2011
Brand new website created by Xposure for themed birthday party company, Making It!
Mon 25 Jul 2011
By: Jonathan Williams
By: Jonathan Chadwick
By: kitten mitten