Apple has a different approach to marketing. It does not spend too much on advertising unlike its competitors and other counterparts. The promotion strategy of the company has allowed it to maintain its brand equity, its loyal customer following, and strong public attention through a combination of non-advertising promotional activities. Public relations or PR has specifically played an important role in both promoting further its brand or products and maintaining a favorable corporate image. The PR strategy of Apple has provided a real-world example of how an organization can obtain coverage without spending too much on advertising.
Understanding the PR Strategy of Apple: How the Company Uses Public Relations to Gain Cost-Effective Media Coverage and Grab Public Attention
Public Relations Tactics
The PR strategy of Apple consists of specific tactics aimed at maximizing media mileage and public reach. Each tactic has its specific goals and objectives but they collectively enable the company to meet its overall marketing goals and objectives. Take note of the following:
• Press Releases: Apple regularly issues press releases to announce new products and specific product updates, partnerships, specific programs, and company updates or positions. Some releases are part of its corporation communication activities aimed at officiating statements or providing clarifications about certain issues. These press releases are distributed to media outlets around the world. Media organizations and independent reporters are expected to publish reports based on these releases due to the prominence of Apple and its established base of loyal customers.
• Events and Trade Shows: The company also mounts and hosts several events and trade shows to keep in touch with specific stakeholders while also generating buzz. The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference or WWDC is an annual event for software developers. It features announcements of new software and showcases the latest developments in its developer tools and technologies. The Apple Special Announcement is a specific trade show held to announce new products like newer generations of the iPhone and the iPad. The company also participates in other events and trade shows like the Consumer Electronics Show and the World Economic Forum.
• Online Presence: Apple has a strong online presence. It has millions of followers on its various social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These platforms allow the company to reach an online audience and reinforce or sustain ongoing marketing campaigns, roll out announcements, and engage with its customers. It also maintains a website dedicated to showcasing its products and deploying product information, and also for providing other stakeholders like the media, its business partners, and investors with relevant information and resources.
• Influencer Marketing: It is also interesting to note that the company has maintained relationships with various digital influencers and tech journalists. It sends out review products to YouTube vloggers prior to product launch. These product reviewers and reactors adhere to news embargo guidelines and would be given the go signal to publish their videos or writeups days after a product launch. Some of these influencers and journalists are also given exclusive invites to attend events and trade shows. Influencer marketing is a cost-effective and PR-related tactic aimed at increasing and sustaining further public interest in new Apple products.
• Corporate Social Responsibility: The CSR strategy of Apple also complements its PR strategy. It has several CSR programs that have allowed it to improve its corporate image for its investors and customers. Some of these programs also complement its product strategy and overall promotion strategy. Consider its Product Red involvement as an example. Apple has developed iPhone models based on the Product Red brand. Another example is its education pricing which has become part of its overall pricing strategy. This specific pricing scheme gives learning institutions, educators, and students considerable discounts for selected Apple products.
• Buzz Marketing: Apple also creates buzz as part of its PR strategy and specific promotion strategy to attract media coverage and public attention. It capitalizes on its established brand equity and loyal customers to create a sense of mystery and sensation about upcoming products. The company engages with tech influencers and uses events to attract media coverage needed to drum up online discussions, build and sustain product announcement momentum, and generate interest from the general public or target market.
Principles of the Strategy
The traditional definition of public relations centers on its use as a tool to maintain the positive image of an organization. However, because its outcomes overlap with marketing, several organizations have included specific PR tactics in their promotion strategies.
Apple approaches public relations based on both its traditional and promotional dimensions. Its PR strategy has multiple purposes. These include promoting its products or overall brand, building relationships with investors, creating and maintaining a positive image for the public, and engaging with other relevant stakeholders.
Nevertheless, based on the aforementioned, understanding further the purpose, intended outcomes, or the more specific goals and objectives of the PR strategy of Apple entails an understanding of the following core principles:
• Maintaining Media Relations and Maximizing Media Coverage: The company uses public relations to gain media-based exposure for free. This runs in contrast with advertising or marketing communications coursed through earned media. Apple builds and maintains relationships with media organizations, tech journalists, and online influencers to maximize its media coverage.
• Supplementing Promotional Activities and Maximizing Reach: Remember that some aspects of its PR strategy are aimed at promoting its products or brands. Specific PR tactics like events, buzz marketing, and influencer marketing are rolled out to support upcoming and ongoing product launches and other product-related announcements or sustain interest in its most-recent products.
• Encouraging Online Discussions and Maintaining Online Visibility: Apple also uses PR to both stimulate and shape public discourse online. Specific online discussions coursed through social media platforms help give the company free. Encouraging these discussions requires creating buzz, engaging with media organizations, independent reports, and online influencers, and holding attention-grabbing events.
• Creating a Community and Maintaining Stakeholder Relationships: It is also important to highlight the fact that the company uses public relations to communicate with its various stakeholders. Hence, aside from the promotional dimension of its PR strategy, it uses several PR tactics to attract or retain investors, engage with its business partners like its suppliers, and appeal to other stakeholders.
• Promoting Positive Corporate Image and Brand Reputation: The traditional purpose of PR is to create and maintain a positive image for the public. Apple needs a favorable corporate image for its investors and a positive brand reputation for its target market. It does this through corporate communications, corporate social responsibility, media engagements, and marketing communications.