Apple PR and How to Tell the Jobs Story


A flurry of stories regarding Apple PR have come out in recent days, notably Joe Nocera’s NY Times story, titled, “Apple’s Culture of Secrecy,” in which Steve Jobs himself called Nocera to say, “This is Steve Jobs. You think I’m an arrogant [expletive] who thinks he’s above the law, and I think you’re a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong.”

Nocera’s story speculated on Job’s health – he has had cancer, and his appearance at the recent iPhone launch event caused concern – and how the company should disclose any information related to it.

Nocera wrote, matter of factly, “Apple simply can’t be trusted to tell truth about its chief executive.”

Advertising Age‘s Michael Bush took a deep dive into the PR implications of all of this, with his story, “Why Apple Must Tell Its Story,” published today. Bush writes, “The irony, of course, is that in the age of transparency, new media and blogs, the notoriously tight-lipped Apple is one of the few companies that manage to get away with a we-don’t-have-to-respond approach to media relations.”

Mark Hass, CEO of Manning, Selvage and Lee told Bush, in response to being asked whether Apple should conduct a PR or media relations campaign to explain itself, “The brand’s success is so closely tied to him that you don’t want to necessarily mess with a formula that’s working unless you need to. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”

Either way, those who do care go on the record about Apple’s strategy may want to do so with caution. As one PR pro recently claimed to PRNewser, “Apple would be angry with any kind of public comment.”