Steve Jobs’ 1997 brand prophesy

Want a 60-minute crash course in how to build a successful brand? I suggest you reserve an hour and watch the video below. ...

26 Aug 2011 2697 Views

Want a 60-minute crash course in how to build a successful brand? I suggest you reserve an hour and watch the video below. It’s Steve Jobs’ 1997 WWDC closing keynote where he prophesied the future of Apple and the world we are living in today.

Apple has demonstrated the difference a strong brand can make. But I was once told by someone who worked with Steve Jobs that he is not your text book brander in that he foregoes many branding conventions (like checking with the target market) and relies instead on his own insights to guide his decisions. If all of us had his insights then perhaps we too could do away with many of our brand management conventions.

Now that Steve Jobs has created the world’s largest corporation (not only beating out Microsoft but Exxon as well) his departure is designed as elegantly as his products. The lessons he can teach those of us who work with brands are numerous and I imagine his tenure as CEO will be studied for years. But one of his biggest strengths is undoubtedly his brand vision.

Brand vision is defined as “an organization’s clear view of what its brand is now and what it would like it to become in the future.” In real life, brand vision is often something the board rubber stamps because they feel they need one in the annual report. To be blunt, many brand vision statements are composed largely of non-committal, unquantifiable fluff agreed by committee with no tether back to operations or results. That means they provide little value or guidance to the organization.

Steve Jobs has shown us what is possible when you take your vision seriously and use it not as fodder for your company’s about page, but as a clear destination every employee works towards every day.  If you want to see real brand vision on action, check out Steve Jobs addressing the WWDC in 1997:

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Sean Duffy | @brandranter
Speaker, consultant & founder of Duffy Agency, the flipped digital agency that provides accelerated growth to aspiring international brands.