Corporate Eye

The Apple Brand and Steve Jobs Review: Change + Quality Work Well

What Changes Mean in Corporate Leadership

Corporations are no different that any other business, large or small. Companies can operate for a period of time with all things being optimal, and then one day things can change. Perhaps they may not go the way they’ve always gone. Whether those changes are subtle, or in direct connection to the success of the business, anything different does require researching and reviewing to see what topic(s) need to be addressed in order to place the company back into position.

There are times when changes in corporate leadership become necessary. This can be attributed to slow company growth, poor sales, poor leadership, high employee turnover or all of the above. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the company itself is a poor investment or invaluable. It can simply mean that a shift in leadership and thinking can refocus the corporation back to a strong position of direction and leadership. But often, just because there is a change in the leadership does not automatically dictate a change in the company overall. With each leader comes a change in personality, style, direction and overall sense of doing things a new way.

Acting Like a Leader

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)), a leader in computer and digital technology, announced to the media that their 2009 Macworld tradeshow presence would the final time that Apple will appear at the show. They stated in their press release  that “trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers“, therefore they have decided to pursue other methods of customer acquisition.

The press release news of the changes at the Macworld conference has caused quite a flurry in the blogosphere. Also, with the general absence and participation of Steve Jobs at various events, many people wonder and are concerned about Apple’s current leadership. There have been speculations about Jobs’ personal health, about the company’s business positioning if he has failing health and whether there will be any new bombshell product announcements. Although Apple maintains a news and development page on their site, there is nothing there confirming or dispelling stories about Jobs’ viability as a continuing leader.

What should a corporation do when there’s nothing to tell?

How to Present Changes to Your Customers

While it is a fact that Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, will not present the keynote address at the 2009 conference, he has declined to say why he won’t present  the address. What is known is that Phil Schiller, the senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, will be the keynoter. Bloggers are speculating whether or not he’s being positioned to take Job’s place. What if this is true and it does happen? What will happen with the quality of their products or level of customer service once a new leader is at the helm? Does it matter? Will it make a difference? Will the quality of their products change?

Even though change is not always readily welcomed, it can be something positive for all involved. Apple has done, in my opinion, a great job in presenting and managing change with their customers. Some of the things that Jobs’ did when dealing with the question of his health and other issues was to address them directly. After he addressed them, he made it clear that he would not entertain further questions so that the focus could get back on the company and away from him. As corporations, here are some things that can be done in the same way as Jobs’ implemented to keep the business in an upwardly mobile state:

1.) Dispel panic and pandemonium. 

He felt that his health issues were of no consequence to the viability of the  company, therefore he did not spend a whole lot of time on it addressing it. If it is not directly related to sales, marketing or customer service, don’t spend any more time on it than is absolutely necessary.

2.) Use your blog or website to communicate to your customers.

Update it frequently. This should go without saying in this day and age of mega social networking sites and Twitter fever. With a brief click and a few typed characters, you can connect quickly and easily to your customer base. This keeps them feeling in the loop and a part of the whole process.

3.) Always exercise quality.

This is something that Jobs’ is notoriously known for. He’s a perfectionist and demands the same from his staff. When you provide exceptional products and service to your customers, quite simply, you reap perpetual rewards, both tangible and intangible.


With the changes that both Jobs’ and Apple are experiencing, I doubt seriously if there will be a change in the level of quality that we’ve come to associate with the Apple brand. If anything, Job’s, Schiller and the rest of the Apple team will work diligently to ensure that the customers are satisfied, that Apple stays on top and that the focus will always be about the brand and not non-essential news.

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Bridget Wright

Writer, Blogger
I am a freelance writer, blogger and professional motivational speaker. I primarily focus on business content, offering my clients strategic marketing strategies for their businesses. I have been an entrepreneur for over 13 years, after having worked extensively in corporate America.

Dr. Tantillo (‘the marketing doctor’) did a post back in July on his branding blog, pointing out that Jobs and Apple are two separate–albeit intertwined–brands. He insisted that while Jobs is irreplaceable, he should address the question of succession Now (well, then, in July) to best secure Apple’s future–and reassure stockholders. It makes sense to at least have a plan in place.

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