Steve Jobs was at times his own PR representative, reaching out to major media outlets and pitching them himself, recalls Fred Cook, CEO of GolinHarris.
“He was the smartest CEO about PR that I've ever met. He knew how important it was and how powerful it was, and he was involved in every meeting that we had,” said Cook, who worked with Jobs' Pixar movie studio more than a decade ago. “When we first started talking about media outlets for stories about Pixar, he had his own list that he would contact. As we'd go down the list, he would say, ‘Time magazine, that's mine. I'll take care of that.'”
Jobs' favorite media outlets at the time were print periodicals, such as Time, and business magazines such as Forbes and Fortune, added Cook.
“Time magazine was his most important outlet. He managed it himself and he would always negotiate to be on the cover – that was all his own doing,” explained Cook. “I always thought that if you're getting a call from a PR agency or a call from Steve Jobs, which one is going to have the most impact? I always thought it was brilliant to take the time to do that because most CEOs don't develop those relationships with reporters – and they also had access to him. He thought PR was so important that he spent a lot of his own time with the key media.”
Time reportedly stopped the presses for the first time in two decades on Wednesday to design a new cover about Jobs' death. It will be the Apple cofounder's eighth time on the magazine's cover.
“He was a tough client; he wasn't always the easiest person to work with, but I think a lot of it was, as other people have said, based on his passion and the level of perfection that he demanded of people,” said Cook. “So he was a tough boss for us and for the people internally, but I think it was because he was always trying to create something that was as good as it can be.”
From its iconic 1984-inspired Super Bowl ad to the company's scripted product debuts, Jobs' fingerprints were all over Apple's public image. Following his death Wednesday after a fight with pancreatic cancer, PRWeek asked top industry executives to describe the impact Jobs had on marketing and communications, as well as their recollections of him.
Chad Latz, president, global digital practice, Cohn & Wolfe – The innovative genius that drove the intuitive creation of products that have enhanced and transformed the human experience will be the most celebrated legacy of Steve Jobs. But his contribution to transforming industries, in particular the creative and communications industries, and the way we produce and consume media, was equally revolutionary. Despite his impact on all of our lives and the inspiration to many, it is hard to imagine the world without his brilliance.
Jason Schlossberg, president and partner, Kwittken & Company – Steve Jobs' impact and legacy will live on in every tweet, Facebook post, Foursquare check in, and YouTube video. He ushered in an age of mass self-expression through technology that fundamentally changed how we view ourselves and our world.
Michael Kempner, president and CEO, MWW Group –
In many ways, Steve Jobs invented relevance – the idea of mattering more to your consumer and creating connections that run deeper than just a one-way conversation. Before other companies began spending millions on campaigns to humanize their brands, Apple was the world's first truly human brand, inventing not just the technology but the lifestyle that defined a generation. That unprecedented intimacy is clear from the outpouring of emotion across all social media channels after his death, proving Jobs' legacy will continue to shape our world far into the future.
Todd Hansen, partner, O'Malley Hansen Communications -
It's been fascinating to watch the critical mass of mourning and respect that has been given to Steve Jobs in the hours after his death. Fittingly, the technology he created has enabled him to quickly move from a human being to an iconic symbol of what's great about America that will be part of our national conversation long after his sad passing.
Harris Diamond, CEO, Weber Shandwick –
It's fair to say that he changed not only our world, but redefined in the last 10 years the role of the CEO. By being the chief spokesman for his company and products, he was a leader who epitomized the value and mission of his company.
Barby Siegel, CEO, Zeno Group, who considers working on the Edelman team that launched the iMac a highlight of her career –
What inspired me most about Steve Jobs is that he was fearless in the way he lived his life and ran his company. He leaves us with incredible technology and a changed media landscape, but his greater legacy is empowering people to think differently and realize the power of a boundless imagination.