The Apple of CEO’s Eyes

With all the celebration of what Steve Jobs accomplished, one thing I haven’t heard anyone talk about is the way Mr. Jobs and his company made it OK in the minds of many CEOs and other C-suiters to become brilliant brands. Not just brands that show up on the balance sheet as an asset, but well-designed brands. Brands that looked cool. Brands that acted cool. Brands that people loved.

That aspiration was pretty non-existent in a lot of board rooms until Apple’s market cap topped Microsoft’s. Boy, that did the trick. Suddenly, instead of hearing dismissive snears like “Yeah, well, we’re not Apple,” or “That might work in their industry, but not in ours,” I started hearing clients say, “Yeah, that’s it, like Apple. We want to do that.”

Even up at Microsoft it became acceptable to talk about how dominant Apple’s branding had become, how good they were at delivering high aesthetics, how desirable it was to be that good, and how far behind Microsoft was in comparison.

Really, the Apple brand has caused more companies to believe that brilliant branding and design was desirable and attainable than any other brand I can think of. The derisive sneers and dismissals have vanished.

So chalk up another accomplishment to the dead man. He really was something.

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