The iPhone 4 was released last week. Maybe you've heard of it-it's a new phone created by a small California start-up called Apple? I hear they’re up and coming in the stock market these days.
Unless you’re in self-imposed exile in the deepest reaches of Antarctica (in which case, you’re most likely not reading this blog, but I digress), you’ve heard about the newest version of Apple’s “game-changing” iPhone. Though I’m still attached to my rusty, trusty 3GS, I popped into the Upper West Side store (past the line of devoted followers that was snaking around the block, all waiting to get a new iPhone in their hot little hands) to check it out, and I have to say, it’s no slouch of a mobile device. With a front-facing camera for video chat, a gorgeous screen with incredible resolution, and other little tweaks to improve its aesthetics, the iPhone 4 is pretty sweet.
If you’ve heard of the iPhone 4, you’ve mostly likely caught wind of that tiny little antenna problem that cropped up after its release. After the iPhone became generally available, online message boards were flooded as Apple users angrily complained that their sleek new devices had poor reception and would randomly drop calls.
What would Apple do? This was the phone that was supposed to “change everything. Again.” Like many others, I’ve always been fascinated by Apple’s marketing and advertising strategies. I won’t lie – the FaceTime video that Apple created, which has already racked up 1.8 million hits, had me clutching a Kleenex. I wondered if something as a mass recall was imminent: after all, Apple had practically sold the iPhone 4 as an essential component of everyday life. If you listened to Apple’s spin, it seemed like without the iPhone, the average American would be nothing, a shell of a person: peanut butter without jelly, salt without pepper, Tom Cruise without Scientology.
So I was rather shocked when Apple brought in the big guns, and Steve Jobs himself told consumers to do…absolutely nothing. In an email to an iPhone 4 user, the notoriously blunt CEO certainly didn’t sugarcoat the issue, and told consumers to “just avoid holding it that way” or to use a case to prevent connectivity issues.
I slapped my head in amazement. Had Steve Jobs just told the general public that by holding the phone in order to use it, as a phone, that they were doing something wrong? I was ready to camp out in my apartment, thinking that the iPhone 4 consumers were ready to take to the streets with torches and pitchforks. But besides the fact that accessory makers winged a hallelujah to the sky for Steve’s product endorsement, the rest of the public actually seemed…puzzled. It seemed that users weren’t as angry or frustrated as they were bewildered by Apple’s response. Somehow, Jobs had successfully diffused much of the vitriol that users had previously displayed immediately after the phone’s release.
Though not everyone can get away with such an abrasive response, I realized that the CEO’s complete and utter confidence in his product and his willingness to directly address the issue served Apple well.
We’re fortunate at Articulate to work with clients who know their products and brands inside and out, and while we provide lean communications services to reinforce their messaging and positioning, they give us great material to use. It’s refreshing, efficient and fulfilling to work with folks who deliver that same level of industry know-how and conviction in their solutions and offerings.
Now, if Apple could just make a device that would vet ed-cal opportunities, I’d be all set. And hey, Apple? If you need a stellar PR firm, give Articulate a call.
By Courtney Hart