Apple: The Public Relations Efforts Behind the iPhone
A look at how the tech giant keeps their flagship product so popular
By: Jessica Scott
For as long as I can remember I have always selected an iPhone as my phone of choice. As I grew in my knowledge of Public Relations fundamentals and practices, I began to have an appreciation for the tech company that went beyond its products and into and its newsroom. Its use of publicity and buzz-building prior to a product launch had always captivated me and I decided to dig into why I admire its use of PR.
I have seen many different definitions for what the term ‘Public Relations’ means. From the official Public Relations Society of America webpage to a blog from a PR professional, I think the one that I feel the most connected to came from one of my professors. According to Professor Rebecca Poynter, PR is a positive, proactive strategic public relations action by an organization that builds goodwill with audiences, supports the brand, and maintains a positive reputation.
One of the most coveted invitations for any journalist or media professional every year is to the Apple Event. Apple has gained respect from media professionals for doing something that, in my opinion, is so important yet extremely simple. They don't waste people's time. Updates, upgrades, or any type of extreme technological mumbo jumbo are released through a simple press release. The company makes sure that it's easy to read quickly so that stories can be written and posted in a timely manner. This is why when the Apple Event happens every year media professionals know and understand that whatever is talked about at this forum will be huge news to the world at large.
In December, Apple released a press release about the Philanthropic achievements that the company had in the year 2021. In the same release, Apple also celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its employee giving program. In an easy-to-read and digestible format, the company showed how it has logged 2 million volunteer hours and has raised almost 725 million dollars for nonprofits. I like that Apple does not draw attention to its philanthropic ventures throughout the year so that they will not appear as attention-seeking to the public. Apple is known for its secrecy, which I feel has a more genuine feel if it's not just about its products but also about the good deeds that they do.
It has been well documented by many journalists and bloggers that Apple has a unique crisis management strategy, never responding too fast. Whether it's iPhones that are bending or an automatic phone tracking system, Apple is very keen on never responding to a crisis within the first 24 hours. While some people feel this is a problem, Apple has adopted the strategy of making sure the first public statement is the right public statement. I respect that Apple never wishes to add fuel to any fires. The company is always in the business of keeping their public relations on the products and customers never on themselves.
I feel like Apple meets the definition of public relations is better than most companies that are out there right now. Their Public Relations tactics have earned the respect of media professionals while keeping their media releases simple so that anyone can understand what is going on within the company. Their delayed responses to crises, while not the traditional method, has earned them a level of trust from the public because people know the Apple will first investigate and solve the problem before commenting on the problem. Their methods are a blueprint for me on how I would like to approach Public Relations in a professional capacity for any company or agency that I work for.
About the Author
Jessica Scott is a public relations professional living in Dallas, TX. Jessica majored in Journalism with a concentration in PR and a minor in Marketing. She is anticipating graduating from the University of North Texas in May 2022.