So the air has set since the first Keynote without Steve Jobs, with the introduction of the new iPad on March 7 — But something was different, very different — and that is, of course, looking beyond the obvious fact that Steve Jobs no longer is the one holding the keynote.
The company known for its non-compromising branding and impressive and gorgeous simplicity was suddenly performing below par, revealing some unimaginable inconsitencies and minor flaws never seen when Steve Jobs were holding the wheel, keeping the Apple-ship at a firm course.
There is no doubt that Steve Jobs was the pure embodiment of a brandividual.
Steve Jobs = Apple and vice versa
Something was missing in the presentation, something that was hard to put the finger on at first, but it was just something off, something wrong. It was… sloppiness. The Apple Keynote was sloppy, imprecise, lacking that final touch that Steve clearly brought to the table. He was a perfectionist, demanding everything be at its best, down to the last detail, before going on stage — ready to satisfy the need of all the journalists and Apple evangelists in the world, sitting there in pure excitment, waiting to see the new hot Apple product they just “need-to-have.”
Apple needs to take care and tighten things back into the Jobs standard, because if things are starting to slip after such a short amount of time, they will lose their special spark that we all love, and will just become a device company. Still delivering great designed products, but lacking that extra Jobs-magic.
This is the danger of the brandividual — that the person becomes bigger than the brand, or actually is the spirit or soul of the brand. There is a saying — you are only as strong as your weakest link — and in this case, with Steve gone, Apple is showing weakness. I know it is just minor details that glitched — but still — the devil is in the details.
I do believe in the power of the brandividual — we’re in the era of the brandividual, or as I call it; the Brand You economy. We are all a brand, and everything we do online is part of our personal marketing and communication plan to build ourselves and reduce the gap between our profile (the way we are perceived) and our image (the way we want to be seen). For a company it is imperative to have a clear vision, mission and strategy when they allow for a brandividual to build and appear online on their behalf, so that the ideas and principles are based on a mutual understanding of what is to be achieved on behalf of the brand. They have to be a team working together to achieve the defined and set goals. Brandividuals are driven by the desire to be seen, acknowledged for their skills and ability to get attention. The company should be in the forefront, giving support, not to be kind and nice, but to protect and make sure that the attention is given to the company/brand as well — and it’s a simple way to make sure the brandividual stays loyal and feels as an appreciated member of the team.
Back to Apple — is this the start of Apple’s demise? I don’t think so — but I do think they need to focus and stay on-brand, which is to make sure Steve Jobs still stays in spirit, hanging over their shoulders, demanding the absolute best, not accepting sloppiness and whipping the crap out of them in spirit. I was pretty fast in tweeting out an article written by the ever smart Jolie O’Dell adding the hashtag #ImissSteveJobs
- because, to be quite honest, Steve Jobs would never have given the GO on the keynote and the launch of the Resolutionary “New iPad’ (still in shock about that one)!
Will Apple to lead itself back into Steve Jobs zero tolerence of sloppiness?
What do you think?
The above posting is my column for The Huffington Post. I cross-post it here with all the links and tags for your reading pleasure. If you want you can check out the original version online here: