Steve Jobs: Marketing is about values

This video with Steve Jobs shortly after Apple bought NeXT and brought him back in charge, is absolutely stellar.

I think his insight about what marketing is all about is spot-on. Marketing is about what you stand for.

People don't really care about your widget and what it does. Some people do, of course, but not in a way that will allow you to make any kind of relationship with your brand.

37signals is a company that has always understood this. They've stood for something, against something else.

That's what speaks to us at an emotional level, and causes us to have a relationship with a brand that's much deeper than just the benefits of the products themselves.

Tony Hsieh at Zappos' great insight is that in this day and age, your brand is going to equal your culture over time. You cannot hide your company's real culture, its true soul, over the long haul. It'll show.

I'm also reminded of this passage from Scott Bedbury's book A new brand world:

To their credit, the Portland, Oregon-based creative powrehouse Wieden & Kennedy -- what has kept a relationship with Nike since the agency opened its door in 1981 -- had sought in vain to find something deeper within Microsoft that would resonate with the world, not unlike what they had accomplished for Nike.

They tried to define something in the brand that was more meaningful to peopel than mere software, but they came up empty-handed. Even the best advertising cannot create something that is not there. If a company lacks soul or heart, if it doesn't understand the concept of "brand", or if it is disconnected from the world around it, there is little chance that its marketing will resonate deeply with anyone. It's a lot like putting lipstick on a pig.

This perfectly illustrates what I care about in business and marketing. The soul of the business. The heart of the company. The values. What they're about.

And not just something you've made up.

Something that's real. It comes from the hearts and the souls of the people who work there, and who lead the company, no matter where in the organization they lead it from.

I haven't read it, but my understanding from Seth Godin's mention of the book, suggests that Honest Signals gives a scientific explanation fro exactly why it's impossible fake the soul of a company.

People can tell. Period.


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