Tag Archives: Branding

Steve Jobs and the Power of Self-Actualization

15 Oct

            Search the Apple Apps Store on a brand new iPhone 4S and one will find 424 applications to “create.”  There are no apps for “conformity.” 

            Mark it up to the lasting legacy of Steve Jobs.

             The Apple co-founder who lost his battle with cancer last week developed technology devices that allowed people to easily create things.  He dared us to be different.  Nothing expressed it more than Apple’s ad copy when Jobs returned to Apple in 1997.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” (Apple Inc.)

             What Jobs tapped into was the psychological notion of self-actualization.  Everyone has the power to change themselves and those around them, what Jobs and Apple did was design the technology to make it happen.  In the process he asked us not only to think differently, but to create differently.  Break out of the box. 

             On the day of Job’s passing, we did just that at Fox 9.  We left our $30,000 video camera in the trunk and instead pulled out our iPhone and iPad. 

            The genius of the culture Apple has created is in the loyalty of its customers.  If Jobs created any legacy it’s in the notion that people want technology that easily helps them be who they are.  The proof is in the web traffic scores since the announcement of the iPhone 4S. 

Web page traffic for Apple, Verizon, and ATT

            Visits to Apple’s site are up nearly 50%, 24% at ATT, and 19% at Verizon Wireless, two of the dominant service providers for the iPhone.   All three expect record sales.

            Admittedly, it creates an interesting paradox that the company which has pushed people to become individuals has them lining up like Lemmings.  But what this is really all about is a dominant brand idea.  In a world that too often settles for “me too,” Steve Jobs taught us to say, “I am…”

Branding Famine Relief: How The American Refugee Committee is Feeding Starvation Through a Community of Stars

12 Oct

           It’s hard enough to get the world to care about famine.  It’s even harder when that famine is part of a 20-year cycle of endless white noise
called Somalia.

Therein lies the challenge of the American Refugee Committee.   Just how do you encourage people to contribute money to solve a seemingly endless crisis?  Its answer is in a new branding campaign that turns famine relief fundraising on its head.   Instead of asking people look outward at the results of famine, they’re now pushing them to look inward and become a “Star for Somalia.”


The new campaign is the brainchild of ARC and the creative team at IDEO in Palo Alto, California.  IDEO is fundamentally a design firm, known for creating breakthrough products such as the Apple mouse.  At its core, IDEO helps people channel creativity to solve problems.   Somalia is a big problem, but its team worked with ARC to un-harness the creative energy of everyday people to not just feed starving people, but to create a conversation about it.

Instead of forming a traditional campaign pumping out one-way messages about Somalia, ARC’s Daniel Wordsworth says the “I Am A Star” effort creates a multi-channel dialogue.

“Here is a chance for folks in Minnesota, in the US and all over the world to say this shouldn’t be like this and that we can make a difference. And what we’re trying to do is launch a campaign that says you can make a difference and we want you to do it your way,” said Wordsworth.

It’s already working.  Inspired to do something, Mohamed Samatar and Bonnie Bentson formed their own 5K Run called “Run to Unite.”  They are among the first “Stars” in the new ARC sky.

“Everybody can do something in some way,” said Benston. “And whether it’s as big as creating a 5K or as small as walking in it or running in it, or telling your friends that I’ve heard about this, we can all help in some way.”

That’s what happens when you ask people to look inward.  That’s personal empowerment and the beginning of a potentially powerful brand.

Look for my story on ARC and how it’s trying to change the conversation on Somalia on Fox 9 News Saturday night right after baseball.

When Great Brands Tell Us “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Coke Does It Again.

18 Sep

            Good brands know what they are and who they’re talking to.  Great brands inspire others to do the talking and share the experience.

            In the latter category, Coca-Cola has done it again.  Coke’s brand has always been about happiness in a bottle.  Its message has always been about sharing the happiness.

            But only great brands can use their core reputation to get people to think about how the brand extends to other walks of life.  Coke’s new internet video called “Experience the Great Happification” is a musical teaching machine on the six secrets of happiness.

            In these times of high unemployment, falling stocks, and perhaps an impending world recession, Coke gives us a lesson in how to be happy.  That’s a brand that knows its power and knows how to extend it.

            And all of it from a bottle of sugar water.    Thanks, Coke.   I’ll take a cold one.

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