It is interesting how Apple’s brand has become synonymous with the personality of Steve Jobs. Like it or hate it, this makes Apple as a brand very rich and real.
It is also interesting how it is often in times of difficulty that the true beliefs and values of a person/brand are revealed. And without a doubt Apple is in some difficulties at the moment around the iPhone 4 Antenna Gate issue, given their public responses to it and the responses to those in turn.
Apple as a brand has absolute integrity! They have always behaved congruently with who they are (and who Steve Jobs is). They act consistently with their values and beliefs – the beliefs about their place in the world, their customers and their competition.
Sure, some people like myself may dislike their attitude and values towards the handling of product build failures and customer care; the denials, blame shifting, and excommunication of anyone who dare complain. But none of this actually matters from a brand relationship perspective!
When a brand (or a person) has clear integrity, they become a powerful entity around which strong, and very often highly emotive, relationships can be built. It is in our nature to be drawn to real personalities, as opposed to the shallow shadow puppets manufactured by brand agencies and PR firms.
The Apple fans will continue to offer up their unquestioningly cult-like loyalty, where all PR is from the mouth of God. The detractors will continue to celebrate gleefully at each stumble or blunder. Either way, Apple gets top-of-mind presence with both supporters and enemies alike! Brilliant!
Compare and contrast this with many other businesses who have personalities and values that are as weak as anything only a committee can throw up (barf!). How many of those businesses generate this level of chatter?!!!