Why Apple must tell its story
Statement of Purpose: The face of Apple is its C.E.O. Steve Jobs and rumors of his declining health threaten soaring stock prices and record-breaking revenues. This paper examines the problem of succession facing Apple. In order to maintain a viable and successful brand, Apple must look to differentiate Apple from Steve Jobs in the minds of consumers and shareholders. This paper also examines Apple’s relationship with the media and the marketing strategies employed to publicize Apple’s products. Apple should employ a public relations strategy which is more responsive to the press in all realms but most specifically in regard to their very public C.E.O.’s health.
Background: Apple was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs and Steve Woznia k. They created one of the world’s first personal computers ; the Apple I. Steve Jobs was pushed out of Apple in 1985 following infighting with then-C.E.O. John Sculley. During this time, Jobs founded NeXT computer and worked as C.E.O. of Pixar.
For Apple, this decade without Jobs was tumultuous. They struggled to find their share of a dynamic computer industry increasingly dominated by Microsoft. Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 after Apple purchased NeXT. With Jobs return and ascension to C.E.O., Apple has regained its footing. The company has had unmatched success with products like the MacBook, the iLife suite, iPod and iPhone.
In 2003, Jobs underwent surgery to remove a tumor on his pancreas. Although he has spoken out about his surgery, Apple will not comment on his health citing privacy reasons. Throughout the past five years, however, rumors about his declining health have circulated, creating uneasiness for investors and unstable movement of Apple shares in the stock market.
Apple is now the Number 3 personal computer seller in the US and the innovative designs and products are often credited to Jobs. The company has also experienced huge revenue and profit growth under Jobs, now 53. To date, Apple has reported revenue of $32.5 billion in 2008 and net income of $4.8 billion, a 26 percent increase from 2007. In March 2008 the company was named number one in Fortune’s Top 20 most admired companies.