Think different

When Steve Jobs came back to Apple in 1996, he rehired Chiat\Day, the advertising agency behind the famous 1984 commercial. Jobs and the agency created a new campaign, Think Different, that became as iconic as 1984. It targeted Apple employees as much as it targeted the rest of the world; it positioned Apple not based on the products it makes but the values it stands for.

Another change was to put the focus back on products. No more dozens of indistinguishable Macs built to satisfy focus groups and market research, but four products, clearly different from each other and their competition.

We can only marvel at how well, how quickly, Jobs ingrained these ideas into the Apple DNA.

Imagine Jobs had taken a different route. Imagine he had invited everyone in Cupertino to an auditorium, and said “Our new values are Think Different and Products are everything. Your superior will talk with you about what they mean to our company and what they mean to you.”

Pretty much every management guide recommends to clarify company’s purpose and values. It makes sense to me. But as soon as you start to talk about them explicitly they start to taste artificial. Would it be better to talk about values without talking about them?

2 thoughts on “Think different

  1. One has to walk the walk instead of just talking the talk. Values are exhibited by example. Words will be forgotten pretty fast without actions to back them up.

  2. Antti Tarvainen says:

    Absolutely.

    The question in my mind is, if you walk the walk, do you still need the talk? I can see that in some cases the best route is to talk about the values very explicitly, but perhaps not in the general case.

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