The effect of the Steve Jobs brand leaving Apple

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

18 January 2011

Steve Jobs built the Apple brand to be that strong

Apple will be just fine with Steve Jobs taking an undetermined leave of absence, despite what you have read elsewhere. There’s a simple reason for that: You buy the Apple brand, not the Steve Jobs brand.

The Apple brand is the most powerful one in the world. It creates an emotional preference among a specific (though large) target audience by delving deeply into the audience’s belief system with a brand face that is a true reflection of that target audience.

“But the face of Apple is not Steve Jobs. It’s us.”


Of course, Steve Jobs had plenty to do with that and I consider him a genius on technology, brand and understanding human behavior.

Steve Jobs brandBut we don’t buy the Steve Jobs brand. Our brand face is not a reflection of his face because we only see him during the press conferences and unveiling of a product. We only know he runs the company. We’re not trying to be a reflection of him.

He’s not in the advertising. If he did, then his departure would be problematic. If your brand marketing is tied to one person, then a departure – or a scandal – can damage the brand.

But in the case of Apple, the only person in the iPad spots, for example, is “me.” The ads are from our point of view. We see our finger working through the iPad’s simplicity and functions.

I have always been fascinated by Jobs and I believe him to be one of the true visionaries of our time. But the face of Apple is not Steve Jobs.

It’s us.

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