Apple Inc.’s Communication Strategies
Apple Communicating Persuasive Messages
Most companies use the strategy of persuasive messages utilizing tools to influence the audience in order to change their beliefs. In addition, the purpose of compelling messages, such as marketing or advertising messages, can be applicable to change the actions of buyers. Therefore, persuasive messages have one most important purpose, and their primary target is to create changes (Shwom & Snyder, 156). Scientists present the ACE technique, which is a message management system focused on analyzing, composing, and evaluating message texts. Audience analysis assumes that the author of the message will be able to understand and motivate them to achieve the desired actions. In addition, the analysis of the audience allows one to identify various possible reasons for the overall resistance to the persuasive messages. Thus, in order to overcome the given challenge, the author of the post can use a certain set of techniques, such as providing compelling content.
Tim Cook became the chief executive officer or CEO of Apple in 2011. Even though the press and the public might have been skeptical by underestimating his talent and ability, he was able to lead the company to sustainable profits in a short period of time. Cook was able to achieve such impressive results due to his knowledge of important management skills, such as mental discipline, composure in stressful situations, and a commitment to Apple’s values. Therefore, Cook is an example of a manager who demonstrates qualities that are important for conveying clear and persuasive messages.
He uses techniques similar to ACE, such as three-part story structure, customer focus, and perspective. The use of a simple three-part form of the story implies the use of such verbal phrases as, firstly, secondly, and thirdly, so that the listener can better perceive and assimilate information without being distracted with details. Further, focusing on the customer allows for customer loyalty by enabling customer feedback. Equally important is the fact that one needs to be able to demonstrate customer focus, for which one needs to maintain a parallel sentence structure to amplify the impact of words. Moreover, putting events in perspective allows more conceptual headlines to be selected and published. Specifically, communicators can use context that grabs the attention of clients and investors.
It is essential to understand that since the death of Steve Jobs, Apple has gone through a barrage of devastating criticism, and Cook survived this criticism through his skillful use of the gift of speech. For example, he was able to convince reporters in a 20-minute interview that the drop in iPhone sales also had a positive side, as Apple was able to pay attention to sales of other products, which had doubled since the decline in sales. He also demonstrated customer focus by telling stories of how Apple-developed apps are helping customers become healthier and happier.
In addition, Cook not only knows how to communicate negative news but also gives it a positive context, which is also part of his ability to convey a compelling message. For example, when asked about problems with batteries in one of the lines of phones, he was able to switch the interlocutor to the idea that a decrease in the price of batteries is planned soon, and buyers can get them at half the price if they are patient.
Apple Communicating Bad News
Breaking bad news requires focus, clarity, goodwill, and honesty. At the same time, the correct management of bad news can have a significant impact on business results if the communicator uses the right strategies. In particular, it is important to choose the right circumstances or conditions for the bad news, which is done by articulating them clearly, mitigating them, and formulating a positive conclusion. The most common types of information in business are rejecting requests and invitations, rejecting customer claims, recommendations, and suggestions, admitting errors and problems, and reporting negative changes or performance issues.
For example, Apple has received performance criticism and claims that the company is deliberately releasing new system updates that are not available to owners of older phone models and that the phones have battery problems. As a result, they had to formulate a clear message in response to these criticisms, using the strategies listed above. For example, Apple used mitigation tactics, straightforward language, and encouraging conclusions. These strategies allowed to minimize the overall reputational damage to the company and even enabled to communicate the given information as something positive.
Moreover, the managers of the company have chosen the right place for the message by publishing it on the official website of the company. The given decision, firstly, allowed reducing the level of tension and avoiding criticism if the publication took place in the media after the press conference. Secondly, the publication on its resource allowed it to appeal to the company’s supporters, who would be sympathetic to bad news since critics would hardly visit the company’s official website. Therefore, in the scenario presented, Apple has been able to effectively implement basic bad news reporting strategies. In addition, the publication on its resource allowed the use of tone and vocabulary that were more favorable and acceptable in the presented situation.
For example, Apple has noted and admitted to being aware of customer complaints about phone performance issues. The authors of the message have also clearly established the reason for the complaints due to the use of batteries of old models (Voorhees, par. 2). Further, the author of the post tried to soften the bad news with an apology and presented the situation as a misunderstanding about which managers are already taking action. Then the authors assured users that they would not deliberately shorten the life of the iPhone or stimulate the purchase of updates artificially, as they respect their users.
The author of the post comprehensively explained the reason for the existing problem with old batteries in which iOS was downgraded without user warnings. Closing the position, Apple provided encouraging news and shared its intentions to cut the price of replacing out-of-warranty batteries in half and release new iOS software with improved features. Therefore, as a result of reading the message, users could receive an exhaustive explanation of the current situation and the company’s position on the issues discussed. These strategies are of paramount importance when attempting to deliver an inherently negative message.
It should be noted that the majority of bad news is not fully negative, which means a communicator is able to highlight the positives associated with the message. It requires some degree of skillfulness and openness to persuasively deliver negative news and change the narrative to positivity. Such an approach minimizes the revolt from the public as well as increases the perceived tone of the message towards more positivity.
Apple and Social Media
Social media is vital for companies as it can be used to implement a communication strategy. Companies set goals and measure audiences on social networks and, by following this information, develop strategies as well as present content that will be of interest to all readers and buyers of the product. Moreover, social media is utilized to provoke necessary actions or beliefs and control the spread of good or bad news.
Experts point out that there are different strategies for posting news on social networks, which differ depending on the type of network. For example, Facebook requires a strategic posting, Twitter uses brevity and purpose, and Pinterest is used to interact with images or infographics (Shwom & Snyder, 231). Finally, Instagram is usually used to create a visual brand, and blogs are convenient for posting new ideas or tips related to the product.
Interestingly, Apple hardly uses social media to sell or advertise its products. Despite this, Apple has a large number of subscribers on all existing platforms (Jain 1). This position of the company stems from the fact that Apple has a competitive advantage over other smartphone manufacturers, and it is such a popular brand that subscribers remain loyal to it, even if Apple does not publish information on its pages on social networks (“Apple has a Social Media,” par. 2). In addition, even though Apple does not advertise or sell its products online, they provide guidelines for the use of various features or applications on social media, such as Twitter or Instagram. In accordance with the given approach, the company realizes the task of communicating with customers and evaluating their interests, making a significantly closer contact and connection with its audience.
In particular, @AppleMusic on Twitter posts interviews with musicians and news from the music world. At the same time, @AppleSupport provides videos and how-to for using Apple products. It was the realization of the power of a social media presence that led Apple to refuse to be there in order not to mix with other similar brands. Remarkably, for the same reason, Apple does not sell its products on social media. Such a reluctant use of social media is based on the notions of carefulness and orderliness in regards to marketing and communication.
Social media need to be considered as tools, and each platform is designed to appeal to a specific set of audiences. Apple does not fully avoid using social media but rather utilizes it strategically. It is stated that “Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are in the process, or have already released early versions of such platforms. Customers can message a company, ask them questions, or even order products and services through the messaging system, which is often built around chatbots and virtual assistants” (Appel et al. 86).
In other words, there are methods used by Apple when it comes to social media, but the core emphasis is put on structure and organization. Social networks are powerful tools for advertising and PR, which are opening up new opportunities for users and advertisers. All these and many other objectives are solved through social media because they are distinguished by accessibility, ease of use, the efficiency of posting information, as well as the ability to receive feedback.
“Apple Has a Social Media Strategy ‘That’s Completely Strange, Yet Makes Perfect Sense.” OfficeChai. 2017. Web.
Appel, Gill, et al. “The Future Of Social Media In Marketing.” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, vol. 48, 2020, pp. 79-95.
Jain, Karan. “Apple (Social Media Strategy).” NOLEGEIN-Journal of Consumer Behavior & Market Research (2019): 43-48.
Shwom, Barbara, and Snyder, Lisa. Business Communication: Polishing your Professional Presence. Pearson, 2019.
Voorhees, John. “Apple Apologizes for Poor Communication About iPhone Throttling and Reduces Battery Replacement Price.” MacStories. 2021. Web.