Greater Marketers of our Time: Steve Jobs

A lesson in ‘Core Values’ from Steve Jobs

Steven Paul Jobs was an American business magnate, industrial designer, investor and media proprietor. Being the chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of Apple Inc.

Work history included Apple Inc, Pixar, and NeXT.

Notable accomplishments: recognised as a pioneer of the personal computer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s


To me …. Marketing is about values!

To demonstrate this Jobs returned to Apple as CEO in 1997 after being forced to resign by his board of directors in 1985. After 12 years of mismanagement, Apple’s market share was at an all-time low. Steve needed to rebuild the company from the ground up. Starting with the brand first, Jobs rehired the Chiat Day agency and began an intensive eight-week exercise to find and define the brand’s core values.

The following video is an incredible speech Steve Jobs gave internally at Apple, revealing their motivation, thinking, and ultimately the first taste of the ad campaign based around ‘Think Different’.

Transcript from the video recording:

“To me, marketing is about values. This is a very complicated world; it’s a very noisy world. And we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. And so we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us. Now, Apple, fortunately, is one of the half-a-dozen best brands in the whole world. Right up there with Nike, Disney, Coke, Sony, it is one of the greats of the greats. Not just in this country but all around the globe. But even a great brand needs investment and caring if it is going to retain its relevance and vitality.”

“And the Apple brand has clearly suffered from neglect in this area in the last few years. And we need to bring it back. The way to do that is not to talk about the speeds and fees, it is not to talk about MIPS and megahertz, it is not to talk about why we are better than Windows.”

“The dairy industry tried for twenty years to convince you that milk was good for you. It is a lie but they tried anyway. And the sales were falling. And then they tried ‘Got Milk’ and the sales went up. Got Milk wasn’t even talking about the product. In fact, it focuses on the absence of the product. But the best example of all and one of the greatest jobs of marketing that the universe has ever seen, is Nike. Remember, Nike sells the commodity. They sell shoes. And yet when you think of Nike you feel something different than a shoe company. In their ads, as you know, they don’t ever talk about the product, they don’t ever tell you about their air soles and why they’re better than Reebok’s air soles.”

“What does Nike do in their advertising? They honor great athletes and they honor great athletics.”

“That’s who they are, that’s what they are about.”

“Apple spends a fortune on advertising. You’d never know it, you’d never know it. So … when I got here, Apple just fired their agency. And there was a competition with 23 agencies that … you know … four years from now we would pick one and we blew that up and we hired Chiat-Day – the ad agency that I was fortunate enough to work with years ago. We created some award-winning work including the commercial voted the best ad ever made – ‘1984’, by advertising professionals.”

“And we started working about eight weeks ago and the question we asked was: “Our customers want to know who is Apple and what is it that we stand for? Where do we fit in this world?”

“And what we are about isn’t making boxes for people to get their jobs done, although we do that well. We do that better than almost anybody in some cases. But Apple is about something more than that.”

“Apple at the core – its core value is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better.”

“That’s what we believe. And we had the opportunity to work with people like that. We have the opportunity to work with people like you, with software developers, with customers who have done it in some big and some small ways. And we believe that in this world people can change it for the better. And that those people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world … are the ones that actually do.”

“And so what we’re going to do in our first brand marketing campaign in several years is to get back to that core value. A lot of things have changed. The market is a totally different place than it was a decade ago and Apple is totally different. Apple’s place in it is totally different. And believe me, the products and the distribution strategy and the manufacturing are totally different and we understand that. But values and core values, those things shouldn’t change. The things that Apple believed in at its core are the same things that Apple really stands for today. And so we wanted to find a way to communicate this and what we have is something that I am very moved by.”

“It honors those people who have changed the world. Some of them are living and some of them are not, but the ones that aren’t, as you’ll see, we know that if they’d ever used a computer it would have been a Mac.”

“And the theme of the campaign is “Think Different”. It’s honoring the people who think different and who moves this world forward. And it is what we are about. It touches the soul of this company. So I’m going ahead and roll it and I hope that you feel the same way about it that I do.”

End of transcript.

Transcript from the video recording:

“Here’s to the crazy ones – the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

End of transcript


18 Steve Jobs Quotes to make you value your time and life

1. “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

2. “For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

3. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

4. “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

5. “My model for business is The Beatles: They were four guys that kept each others’ negative tendencies in check; they balanced each other. And the total was greater than the sum of the parts.”

6. “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations.”

7. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

8. “That’s been one of my mantras—focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.”

9. “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful…that’s what matters to me.”

10. “I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”

11. “Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.”

12. “My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.”

13. “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.”

14. “Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.”

15. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

16. “We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and everyone should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So, it better be damn good. It better be worth it.”

17. “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

18. “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to, We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”


What we can learn from Steve Jobs

Jobs understood his audience. From the aesthetics of his products through to the simplicity of how to use them. He didn’t just create innovation for the sake of it, but rather looked at how to better improve its functionality and use for its intended audience. Examples include the use of a mouse to scroll on a desktop computer and eliminating a keyboard on mobile phones in favour of a full screen with the capability of downloading apps suitable to each user.

He firmly believed in providing tools for users to decide how they wish to use the product and in doing so he armed us all with the ability to create, innovate and excel in ways that defined our very way of communication.

Whilst Jobs never coded, he didn’t need to. Why? Because he possessed that skill that most successful entrepreneurs have. The ability to see the bigger picture.


Scroll to Top