For many years, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has gained a massive following and a whole industry of rumor and innuendo reporting about the company and its latest innovations simply by being silent about it all. It seemed that while Apple said very little about its new devices and services until its scheduled launch event, that silence seemed to drive up a lot of interest and a level of mystique around the company and its devices. Up until a few years ago, that strong, silent type approach made Apple cool with the crowd.
But as competition has expanded, especially in the mobile world, that cool factor has diminished. Why? For Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), it has meant that rather than dictating the message and how it’s disseminated, the company is now letting its rivals and other “disgruntlers” tell the Apple story to the masses. And one strategic communications expert says, that is leading to a narrative about Apple that is lowering the cool factor in iDevices and is making it more cool to side with rivals – especially Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., which has been the prominent Apple narrative-setter of late.
Back in the day, “It’s what Apple didn’t say that made them so powerful,” said Peter LaMotte of Levick, a strategic-communications consulting firm. “The Apple mystique protected them from a need to engage in the conversation. But the mystique has worn out. They used to own the ‘cool’ factor. Not anymore.” LaMotte’s comments were in assent with recent statements made by former Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) exec Jean-Louis Gasse, who said recently that Apple had lost control of its message and that the company has given up its narrative to the competition.
And Apple has continued to keep itself out of the conversation, which has allowed virtually unfettered storytelling from competitors like Samsung through its ads and social media. LaMotte said that after a years-long philosophy of silence, it may be high time for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to adjust and to start telling its own story. LaMotte said that Cupertino doesn’t need to get defensive, but it probably should do something.
“We will always recommend that it’s better to be in the conversation than not,” he said. “If Apple’s not in the back seat, they’re in the passenger seat, and Samsung is driving the car.”
What are your thoughts? Should Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) take a more active stance in the narrative about its company and its products, or is silence still truly golden? With questions about Apple’s level of innovation compared to competitors, should Apple be more out in front about its innovations, and do you think that more assertive approach can pay dividends for the company? Give us your feedback in the comments section below.
DISCLOSURE: I own no positions in any stock mentioned.