How Steve Jobs prepared Apple for controversies like Bendgate

How Steve Jobs prepared Apple for controversies like Bendgate

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"You like me, you really like me!" Photo: Ben Stanfield/Flickr CC
Photo: Ben Stanfield/Flickr CC

The infamous iPhone 6 “bending video” may have reached close to 47 million hits on YouTube, but Apple has seemingly escaped Bendgate without any lasting damage — just as it has with every “gate” incident before it.

In a new blog post entitled “The Joy of Apple Slamming,” former Apple ad exec Ken Segall (the man who named the iMac) explains how Jobs created a company able to withstand the kind of damaging rumors that would permanently damage lesser rivals.

The secret? Get people to really, really love you.

As Segall writes:

“[Steve] wanted every part of the customer experience to strengthen that love — from the advertising and in-store experience to unboxing, enjoying the product and getting support when needed.

By doing so, he would ensure that customers would (a) buy more stuff, (b) evangelize to others and (c) stick with Apple when unforeseen problems arise. He understood that such things were inevitable, even for a company like Apple.

History proves that Steve was 100% correct.”

As someone who has interviewed Ken on numerous occasions, I always enjoy his insider take on Apple culture, and this article is no different.

For everything Apple has done in terms of damage control for Bendgate (revealing that only 9 iPhone owners complained to Apple, in addition to showing off the kind of torture-testing Cupertino puts its devices through) there is no doubting that the real secret to Apple’s longevity is the fact that people feel a connection with the brand that will make them evangelists when times are good, and willing to forgive (or actively defend) the occasional misstep.

Long may it continue.