Since it’s Steve Jobs Day, and we’re hot off the heels of the latest Steve Jobs movie (Michael Fassbender is ten times’ the Steve Jobs that Ashton Kutcher ever was)… let’s talk about Apple. They’re a bastion of technological innovation and a force to be reckoned with, so they must have done something right. Turns out that “something” isn’t just about having a superior product. (You’ll know this if you’ve ever tried to do anything on iTunes at all and had to give up three frustrating hours later.)
No, it’s not entirely about the product. It’s also about the marketing.
In this TED Talk (check out the complete, unedited version here), author Simon Sinek breaks down Apple’s (actually very simple) strategy: they prioritize the “why” of their company above their “how” and their “what.” Most businesses put their “what” above all else. If Apple did this, their opening line would simply be “We make great computers. They’re beautifully designed, simple to use, and user-friendly.” Now, here’s how they actually do things:
1. WHY: “In everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently.”
2. HOW: “The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, easy to use, and user-friendly.”
3. WHAT: “We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”
Apple’s whole persona operates on the assumption that they are outside-the-box thinkers. That reverse order is essential to their success because it positions Apple as an innovative company challenging a status quo of old, tired products—and this is all before they’ve even told us what they’re offering. As Sinek explains, this strategy has been employed by everyone from the Wright brothers to Martin Luther King, Jr.