Steve Jobs (1955-2011)
Steve Jobs & the art of focus

Steve Jobs on marketing & identifying your core values

Steve_1997 Steve Jobs had a talent for identifying what was important and what was not, and having the courage to toss what he felt was the nonessential. We see this reflected in the Apple line of products and in the Apple retail stores, and we also see it in Apple's branding and all aspects of their marketing communications. But there was a time when Apple had gotten away from its roots and away from simplicity and clarity, not only in terms of its marketing but in terms of its products too. It took Steve Jobs coming back in 1997 to get the Apple brand back on track after years of neglect. This seven-minute clip below is from an internal presentation that Steve gave in Cupertino to his employees not long after he returned to Apple in 1997. If you are even remotely interested in business or in marketing an organization or cause of any kind in which you truly believe, you need to see this short talk.

In this presentation made on the Apple campus, Steve says that marketing is not about touting features and speeds and megabytes or comparing yourself to the other guys, it's about identifying your own story, your own core, and being very, very clear about what you are all about and what you stand for...and then being able to communicate that clearly, simply, and consistently. As Steve says, people want to know who you are and what you stand for. In the case of Apple, the brand's core value, as Jobs says in the presentation, is not about technology or "making boxes for people to get their jobs done." Apple's core value, said Jobs, is this: "We believe people with passion can change the world for the better....and that those people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who actually do." In the end Jobs introduces the now famous Think different TV ad that was about two months in the making. This campaign was an attempt, said Jobs, to get Apple back to its core values. It was only one of many first steps, but it worked.

"To me, marketing is about values. This is a very complicated world, it's a very noisy world. And we're not going to get the chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us."

                         — Steve Jobs
                              to Apple employees, 1997

What's your core message?

Core_slide.001 The lessons in this talk obviously can be applied directly to the art of presentation, something Steve did very well in all his presentations, big or small. Good presentation is about story, just as good branding is about story. Clarity and simplicity are key, and the way to achieve these is by being relentless in abandoning the superfluous and identifying the absolute core of your message. Clarity and simplicity are not easy—they are hard, very hard. If it were easy to be simple and clear then everyone would do it, but few actually do. It is indeed a very noisy world, and it's getting noisier seemingly by the day. It is those people—and those organizations—who do the hard work to clarify and simplify that will be the ones who are able to rise above the noise, get their messages heard, and hopefully make a difference in this world in their own way.


rao aishwarya

I am really agree with you that Steve Jobs was a very talented man and such great peoples speech and motto will remain in our mind for lifetime

Mike Sporer

That 6+ minute piece says it all, Garr. Steve was an artist; one of the greats of our time.

Fred E. Miller

Thanks, Garr.

That's the first time I've seen Steve Jobs do that presentation.

Outstanding and a message to all of us!

Dennis Antoine

Thank you so much for sharing this great artists vision. This is a very important piece, Garr

Robert Ferguson

What a great find, Garr. Who better than Steve Jobs to share the power of Differentiating Values - and at the point that changed Apple from a troubled company to the greatest brand on earth. Thanks for sharing.

Ellen Finkelstein

Outer is based on inner.

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Jobs was gone!But he aways my Idol!


Thanks for sharing. Yes, Jobs was my inspiration too!


He was so powerful when it came it getting rid of excess. No need to micromanage with a mindset like that. He will be missed.

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I am really agree with you that Steve Jobs was a very talented man and such great peoples speech and motto will remain in our mind for lifetime

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Steve Jobs with his strong conviction and clear vision has changed Apple into a tech giant.

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Thanks for sharing. Yes, Jobs was my inspiration

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Great points. Identifying your core message is not just useful in presentations but in almost every conversation you have ;)

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