Apple's Longtime Public Relations VP Retires

Discussion in 'Mac Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 30, 2014.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    As announced earlier this month, Katie Cotton, head of Apple's public relations department and an 18-year veteran at Apple, has left the company, reports Re/code.

    Cotton is known for having been fiercely protective of Apple executives, particularly Steve Jobs, serving as gatekeeper for all media access and shepherding executives through their formal and informal meetings with the press.

    Given Apple's penchant for secrecy, Cotton has long been tasked with keeping a tight rein on the company's PR operations, managing Apple's image and contributing to the company's presentations.

    In a touching farewell piece, Re/code's Kara Swisher recounts Cotton's successful take-no-prisoners strategy:
    Swisher goes on to note that many negative comments made about Cotton might not have been made about a man in such a powerful position, saying that reporters who "did not get any PR love" from the company should "grow up."

    Article Link: Apple's Longtime Public Relations VP Retires
  2. BeSweeet macrumors 68000


    Apr 2, 2009
    San Antonio, TX
    Hopefully they'll actually reply to PR emails.
  3. Felasco Guest

    Oct 19, 2012
    It's also idiot public relations. Secrecy does not built trust, and a hard charging in your face attitude does not make friends. Both are a sign of weakness, not strength.
  4. derivativemusic macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2007

    ****** values. Ultimately nothing is more important than making friends.

    Hard-driving is not the same thing as being an *******.
  5. callbeloved macrumors newbie

    Oct 8, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Level headed

    I think - She has done her Job, perhaps exceptionally well..!!!
    Her contribution (in shielding from press & media) may have helped the execs in keeping them focus on delivery and avoid going through roller-coaster rides from media.
  6. appleguy123 macrumors 603


    Apr 1, 2009
    15 minutes in the future
    Kara's "Touching Farewell Piece" sounds like pointless name dropping to me. "Look at all these people I know!"

    I never did like her, especially when she was interviewing Jobs for All Things D.
  7. casperes1996 macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2014
    Horsens, Denmark

    Saddening that she's leaving. I kinda liked her. Despite her not being the most seen face at the company (to the public).
  8. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    Adam Osborne thought the same way as you. His computer company when Belly Up because of it. A tech company cannot pre-announce product until it's near ready to ship. No, secrecy does not build trust with partners, but customers are not that. What builds trust with partners is putting out fairly reliable products & standing behind them.
  9. Felasco Guest

    Oct 19, 2012
    I would argue in turn that human relations are human relations, and that the particular business one is in has little to do with it.

    Please understand that I say the following as a perl programming and philosophy nerd with significantly underdeveloped social skills, well documented across the forum....

    I've always felt that Apple's corporate personality reflects the strengths and weaknesses of Steve Job's personality to an amazing degree. It's remarkable how much influence a single charismatic person can have.

    Jobs was obviously a brilliant highly articulate visionary with an incredible passion and talent for product development, but he could also be a first class jerk who even turned his back on his own first born child.

    Jobs was a nerd. I'm a nerd. Apple is a nerd. Nerds can be brilliant at many things, but dealing with people is generally not considered to be one of those things. And there's no fancy code one can write to fix it.
  10. richwoodrocket macrumors 68020


    Apr 7, 2014
    Hamburg, NY
  11. Felasco Guest

    Oct 19, 2012
    An example of good public relations, from within Apple.

    In another thread some poor user was installing Mavericks over and over, trying to get it to work.

    An Apple programmer who is working on Mavericks entered the thread and told the user that Mavericks was released with known bugs, and that reinstalling probably wouldn't help. Instead he advised patience, and said that every effort was being made to fix the problems.

    Most importantly, the Apple programmer also apologized for the unhappy experience the user was having. The apology seemed sincere to this reader. The apology was even more convincing given that the problem undoubtably arises from the business folks at Apple, and not the coders.

    That's good public relations. The truth, combined with apologies where appropriate. This builds credibility, trust and good will.

    As example, Apple has a reasonable case to make as to why a new operating system needs contact with the real world in order to mature. But they don't make that case in an honest forthright way. Instead, they tell millions of inexperienced general public users the software is done, ready to be installed in place of their existing, and working, OS.

    The programmer had it right. The sales weenies didn't.
  12. Arndroid macrumors 6502a


    Oct 3, 2013
    When the people you deal with exist to get attention talking about you, regardless of reality and also want to have their butt kissed in the process, you couldn't be more wrong.

    Apple more than any other company has people who make their living on just talking about apple. It doesn't have to be good and it doesn't have to be accurate. I would say it requires a very aggressive person to successfully manage that job.

    If any shred of media ethics existed any more it might be slightly different but even that would not allow for much leniency.

    Being a pr rep is different depending on the circumstance. Many, if not most companies need as much coverage as possible. So they have to finesse just to get coverage. The handful of companies in Apple's stratosphere don't need to acquire coverage. They get all the coverage possible and then some. At that point controlling the message is the dominant need.

    The media ultimately gets to choose what they cover, and they take advantage of it. When they lose that power in a relationship they cry about it.
  13. e-coli macrumors 68000


    Jul 27, 2002
    That's low, yo. Don't do personal attacks. We all have our bad moments. Let's keep it classy. ;)
  14. OtherJesus macrumors 6502


    Sep 28, 2005
    Bay Area, California
  15. valanchan macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2008
    We've seen reporters paying for stolen goods and printing character assassinations of top execs.

    So it's no wonder Apple want a person how is able to stand toe to toe with the press.

    Katie Cotton seems to have been a winner and it's the bad losers that we are hearing the negative stuff from.
  16. mnb macrumors member

    Jul 25, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Yay! Good riddance to that thick skulled idiot.
  17. unobtainium macrumors 68000

    Mar 27, 2011
    Yes, and as we all know, Apple has been so weak and unsuccessful over the years. I think we can all agree that their PR strategy failed dramatically.



    My god, you're right...imagine how successful Apple might have been over the past 20 years if only you had been managing their PR.
  18. Boris-VTR macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2013
    According to latest Apple moves, they could hire Rihanna or Kim Kardashian to be their PR VP. Of course, they should pay them in millions. Maybe even let go some engineers so they can save some cash. They have doctor in da hauuzzz nav, who will make everything! kaaachiing!
  19. Donoban macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2013
    Dat smile. Not sure if she's happy or ready to kill the photographer.

    Yes sir, I'll have that report on your desk by first thing tomorrow.

    Smile aside, not a bad effort rising to a high position in Apple. not everyone can do it.
  20. NSeven macrumors member


    Jul 14, 2009
    Bet your no oil painting yourself mate...
  21. opeter macrumors 65816


    Aug 5, 2007
    Slovenia, EU
    I think she couldn't stand Dr. Dre and these lookalikes. So she left.
  22. mac1984user macrumors 6502a


    Dec 10, 2009
    United Kingdom
    Interesting. Did you happen to read the last paragraph of the article? If so, I'm wondering if this line applies in this instance as well:

  23. apolloa macrumors G3


    Oct 21, 2008
    Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
    I wouldn't call that a touching farewell piece? Basically they painted her as a hardcore press manipulating sales person.

    Anyway this is another rat leaving Cooks ship, let's hope the replacement gets Apple, or that Cook doesn't decide to change the formula.
  24. Northgrove macrumors 65816

    Aug 3, 2010
    Hm. It's a complaint on the photographer, not the subject.
  25. Felasco Guest

    Oct 19, 2012
    Where is Apple's blog, where it responds politely and professionally to inaccurate media reports using such an avalanche of well documented facts, ideally confirmed by independent third parties, that the sloppy journalist is revealed to be a bozo with little credibility?

    Apple can be aggressive in the sense of creating a well funded team to identify each inaccurate media report and respond to it thoroughly. This can be done in a professional manner without Apple developing a reputation for being aggressive in the negative sense.

    As example, MacRumors is a leading Apple forum. Posters such as myself often take Apple to task on various subjects, just as I'm doing here.

    A single modestly paid English major type employee at Apple could be assigned to monitor this forum and respond to some of the challenges, presenting Apple's point of view.

    If the challenger gets wound up and somewhat hysterical as often happens, and the poster from Apple remains calm and professional, Apple is probably going to win that thread.

    As others observe the challenger being defeated by well presented facts, they will become more careful about their own challenges, and the dialog environment is enhanced.

    I should add that I often make many of the same mistakes Apple makes. Sometimes I have a valid point, but I get too hard charging and ruthless about it, which alienates readers and makes it harder or impossible for me to build a coalition in favor of my position.

    Steve Jobs used to needlessly alienate people. I do it too. So does Apple. The medical term for this is Persistent Nerd Syndrome.

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