When Steve Jobs created Apple, he launched more than just a technology company. Jobs began one of the most innovative organizations in the world; one that would inspire what many refer to as a “cult-like” following of consumers that fell in love with the technology, design, and functionality of Apple’s products.
Take a closer look and you’ll find that Steve Jobs left us more than technology, innovation, Apple, Pixar, and powerful corporate branding tips. Jobs imparted powerful personal branding, potentially without knowing it, although I have a sense that Jobs did nearly everything with intention and design, down to choosing those Levis.
Create a style
Before you think style has to cost a fortune, take a cue from Jobs. He usually wore a St. Croix black-long sleeved mock turtleneck, Levi’s 501 jeans and New Balance 991 sneakers. Turning a ‘look’ into a brand is easier, and more common, than you think.
Andrea Jung, the C.E.O and Chairman of the Board for Avon, and one of only 11 Fortune 500 female CEO’s, has her own spin on this. She always has her iconic pearls and red lipstick on with whatever else she chooses for her wardrobe du jour.
It’s okay to be let go (or fired)
It’s okay to get laid off, fired, or be told “no thanks” by a company. Just because a company says “no” to your talent doesn’t mean you don’t have any talent. In 1985, Jobs was fired from Apple, the very company he founded.
His response? Embrace their “no,” move on, and embrace change. He, literally, moved on to the NeXT thing founding NeXT computer the same year, which he later sold to….Apple, for $429MM. Rather than joining the Apple team again, he bought a then-unknown group, now known as Pixar, for $10MM. A few Academy-Award winning productions (Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc. sound familiar?), and he sold this successful venture to Disney for $7.4B in stock. Jobs became the largest single Disney shareholder overnight. Jobs says getting fired is the best thing that ever happened to him because “…it freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”
Simplicity is good
NeXT. Pixar. Apple. Do you sense a theme? The logo of Apple is an actual apple. Jobs companies all had one name for their brand. He kept his companies, their brands and his consumer products simple. Ironically, the technology behind MacBook laptops, iPods, iPhones, iPads, Animated movies (Pixar) and the like is anything but simple. Jobs shows us that your brand doesn’t have to say everything about you, or your career, it merely needs to represent what you bring to the table.
P.S. – The MacBook Pro I typed this on is far different from the apple cider I drank while writing this post and yet, they’re both “apple.” Branding is what you make it; that is what makes it personal branding.