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Old Aug 29, 2014, 01:32 PM   #1
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Inside Apple's PR Practices, From Media Control to Attitude Shift Under Tim Cook




In a lengthy 9 part exposť, 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman delves into the inner workings of Apple's PR team. While much of what Gurman covers is already fairly well known, his coverage provides an expansive look at the way Apple's PR team operates, from its organizational structure to its efforts to control Apple's perception through media manipulation.

Despite Apple's size and its position as one of the most profitable companies in the world, its PR team is relatively small, comprised of approximately 30 employees in Cupertino along with a few dozen scattered around the world. In Cupertino, Apple PR is divided into seven teams: Momentum, Mac, Corporate Communications, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, and Events.

Along with organizing events and controlling product placement, Apple's PR teams keep a close eye on the media, despite its apparent indifference, and take steps to correct negative perceptions when deemed necessary.
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So it's a surprise that Apple actually isn't that detached from the media: it's more like a teenage girl obsessively keeping her fingers on the pulse of coverage. Members of Apple PR seek tabloid photos of celebrities holding iPhones, while others read Apple-focused blogs actively, and keep tabs on prominent Apple beat writers using anonymized social media accounts. [...]

This oversight is so important to Apple that a few times a week, top executives are sent a document detailing the company's latest press coverage. When Apple is not pleased with coverage, it sometimes works to shift the narrative, even attempting to undermine giant news organizations.
For example, Gurman claims that Apple recently attempted to discredit Reuters over a story about Apple's accessibility practices that the company was not happy with. Gurman also points Apple's penchant for discrediting competitors, pointing towards an email Apple PR sent to 9to5Mac on an anti-Android story.

Along with giving tidbits of information to various reliable media outlets, Apple also gives review units and review guides to columnists and journalists who Gurman claims have a largely positive view of the company and its products.
Quote:
Also likely contributing to which publications get early access to products is the nature of pre-coverage -- angles taken by writers during the product rumors cycle. As Brian Lam put it, "Apple can already tell what a review is going to say from [a publication's] pre-coverage, and they're not going to give you a review unit if you're not going to play ball." In other words, Apple feeds the writers who will do its bidding, and starves the ones who won't follow its messaging.
In addition to delving into details about Apple's apparent media manipulation, Gurman also covers the shift in attitude as the company has transitioned from Steve Jobs' leadership to Tim Cook's. This has included the retirement of Katie Cotton, who was reportedly seen as a "tyrant" by her employees. Cotton, who was close to Steve Jobs, apparently did not mesh well with Tim Cook's desire to portray Apple as a "friendlier" company, leading to her departure.

Apple is said to be searching for a new head of PR to replace Cotton, and in the meantime, Apple's PR teams are run by two longtime employees who report directly to Cook. Under Cook, Apple's internal policies have shifted somewhat, from his direct apology for the Apple Maps app to his efforts to discredit Yukari Iwatani Kane's anti-Apple narrative Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs.

Gurman's full examination of Apple's PR team is well worth a read and covers a large range of topics. A list of links to the 9-part series is below:

- Apple Events and Shredded White Booklets
- Introducing the Teams: How PR is Organized at 3 Infinite Loop
- Strategies: The "Art of Deep Background" and Controlling the Press
- The Departure of a "Tyrant"
- Two Heads in Place of One
- Controversies: From Maps to Beats to Haunted Empires
- Product Reviews, Briefings, & Reviewer's Guides
- Steve Jobs and the Process Behind Press Releases
- A Friendlier, More Transparent Future?

Article Link: Inside Apple's PR Practices, From Media Control to Attitude Shift Under Tim Cook
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 01:35 PM   #2
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I think there are at least 10 members on here that work for Apple... just to troll us and shut us up when we're wrong and whining about some Apple thing.


(actually, I'm one, this post just keeps me out of suspicion.)
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 01:36 PM   #3
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I wonder if this means Apple PR execs regularly communicate with MacRumors... maybe Arn and company knows things we don't know!
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 01:38 PM   #4
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And when we will see the multipart expose on the PR practices of Google, Samsung etc. And will those take as many pot shots at the company as this seems to. Pointing out that they like to tip off bloggers about negative articles, being upset about articles that don't go the way they like, giving review units to folks that are sure to give a nice review.

Every company does this kind of thing, not just Apple. So why the focus on Apple. Gurman will say because Apple is a huge company and should be able all this blah blah. Truth is, page hits. Apple gets way more than any other company. Thus sites that rely on hits for ad revenue focus on Apple
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 01:39 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by charlituna View Post
And when we will see the multipart expose on the PR practices of Google, Samsung etc. And will those take as many pot shots at the company as this seems to. Pointing out that they like to tip off bloggers about negative articles, being upset about articles that don't go the way they like, giving review units to folks that are sure to give a nice review.

Every company does this kind of thing, not just Apple. So why the focus on Apple. Gurman will say because Apple is a huge company and should be able all this blah blah. Truth is, page hits. Apple gets way more than any other company. Thus sites that rely on hits for ad revenue focus on Apple
Hi Tim
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 01:42 PM   #6
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Now we finally all know the people making seemingly unfounded claims here were actually Apple employees.
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 01:42 PM   #7
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What if Apple really owned this site
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 01:43 PM   #8
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Absolutely - they do...

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Originally Posted by Dekema2 View Post
I wonder if this means Apple PR execs regularly communicate with MacRumors... maybe Arn and company knows things we don't know!
You know darn well Apple has a small team that scours every rumor sight. Heck, guess why some posts mysteriously disappear. If it goes bump in the night......
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 01:44 PM   #9
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What if Apple really owned this site
then they probably wouldn't publish nearly as much as they do, since they don't really like leaks
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 01:46 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by charlituna View Post
And when we will see the multipart expose on the PR practices of Google, Samsung etc. And will those take as many pot shots at the company as this seems to. Pointing out that they like to tip off bloggers about negative articles, being upset about articles that don't go the way they like, giving review units to folks that are sure to give a nice review.

Every company does this kind of thing, not just Apple. So why the focus on Apple. Gurman will say because Apple is a huge company and should be able all this blah blah. Truth is, page hits. Apple gets way more than any other company. Thus sites that rely on hits for ad revenue focus on Apple
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Hi Tim
Ha! I saw that response from a mile away. Don't pick on Charlie too much. He means well.
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 01:46 PM   #11
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using anonymized social media accounts
God damn, don't blow my cover!
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 01:47 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Espeonia View Post
then they probably wouldn't publish nearly as much as they do, since they don't really like leaks
Yes and no. They do gain from all of their secrecy, but the leaks are huge amounts of free publicity.
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 01:47 PM   #13
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So, standard PR practice?
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 01:50 PM   #14
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Having all those profits apparently is not enough. Android market share must be hurting no matter what the apologists claim.
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 01:51 PM   #15
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Is this an exposť?

They forward stories to tech journalists? Steve Jobs wanted them in prison! How many billions of dollars is Samsung spending on ads, most of which try to put down Apple? The truth is they had a very low-cost and low-gargle-barble PR department. The biggest PR decision is that they keep things as secret as possible until the day it comes out. What's this site called? Mac... Rumors! How many "Windows Rumors" sites are there, that don't look like they were designed on Windows NT? Windows PR is to leak a hundred details about a new device or software, say it's coming out in October, then show it the following June. Take your pick.
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 01:52 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by DShap5 View Post
I think there are at least 10 members on here that work for Apple... just to troll us and shut us up when we're wrong and whining about some Apple thing.


(actually, I'm one, this post just keeps me out of suspicion.)
So what do you have to say about your company's nefarious practices involving discrediting competitors? Kind of ****ed up, to say the least.
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 01:52 PM   #17
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I will dive into this.
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 01:52 PM   #18
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yep

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Originally Posted by mozumder View Post
So, standard PR practice?
I was just going to say that the vast majority of this is standard practice.
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 01:53 PM   #19
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Ha! I saw that response from a mile away. Don't pick on Charlie too much. He means well.
Excuse me that I prefer for folks to have a balanced view of the world.

And while you try to come off like you have some clue about me which is why you know I 'mean well' it fails when you get neither my name nor my gender correct
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 01:54 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by DShap5 View Post
I think there are at least 10 members on here that work for Apple... just to troll us and shut us up when we're wrong and whining about some Apple thing.


(actually, I'm one, this post just keeps me out of suspicion.)
I'm not one, but I'm willing to start if the pay is good.
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 01:55 PM   #21
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If you were famous, wouldn't you want to be a part of the conversation about self? It's like saying all Apple employees should be restricted access to parts of the internet that talk about their company.
The net is, and should be, open to all - and yes, our names aren't our names - for each other's privacy.
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 01:57 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by patrick001 View Post
So what do you have to say about your company's nefarious practices involving discrediting competitors? Kind of ****ed up, to say the least.
Refer to every Samsung commercial within the past two years. I think we're doing a much friendlier job.

----------

[/COLOR]
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I'm not one, but I'm willing to start if the pay is good.
It is until they get all these "binding agreements" on you about never saying anything about anything and then they drop your pay to about $3/hour and you're not allowed to say anything about it...
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 02:00 PM   #23
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"Apple tries to make itself look as good as possible." Shocking.
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 02:02 PM   #24
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So, standard PR practice?
During the "Antennagate" scandal, it occurred to me how the sudden attack, the prepared charges, the attempted definition of a non-problem into a problem, had all the hallmarks of the kind of PR operation that is business as usual in many industries-- and in our politics. Whatever you think about Bergdahl, you should know that it exploded within hours after the release because it was a prepared PR strategy by the former aide to John Bolton.

And no, PR is not news. It's pretty lying. Attempted manipulation of opinion. Within bounds, it's cool. That "Here's to the Crazy Ones" is pretty effective, isn't it? If there was a company, what would you want it to be?

At least the tip to the tech reporter was just, "Hey, look at this." If it happened, print it if you want to.
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Old Aug 29, 2014, 02:02 PM   #25
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PR ppl if you're reading this.

You guys need my help and advice! PM me.
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