Expert: Apple’s silence hurts its mystique, causes it to cede ‘cool’ factor to competitors

“Apple’s noted silence has hurt its mystique and caused it to cede the ‘cool’ factor to competitors, a communications expert said today,” Gregg Keizer reports for Computerworld. “‘It’s what Apple didn’t say that made them so powerful,’ said Peter LaMotte, an analyst with Levick, a Washington-based strategic communications consultancy. ‘They were so silent that it created an entire industry of rumor mongers.'”

“Now that silence hinders rather than helps Apple, LaMotte argued. ‘The Apple mystique protected them from a need to engage in the conversation. But the mystique has worn out. They used to own the ‘cool’ factor. Not anymore,'” Keizer reports. “LaMotte was reacting to comments made last month by Jean-Louis Gasse, a former top-level Apple executive, who said that Apple had ‘lost control of the narrative… [and] let others define its story.'”

Keizer reports, “Apple needs to ditch its longstanding reticence and get in the game, LaMotte said. ‘We will always recommend that it’s better to be in the conversation than not,’ he said. The way it is now, he continued, Apple’s letting others create the narrative. ‘If Apple’s not in the back seat, they’re in the passenger seat, and Samsung is driving the car,’ LaMotte said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hint, hint.

Related article:
Former Apple exec Jean-Louis Gassée: Apple needs to be more like Microsoft – March 18, 2013


    1. You mean except for last October, when Apple announced a plethora of new products, including new razor-thin iMacs, iPad mini, etc. etc.?

      Not every month can be Magical Product Month.

    2. Hey, I’ve got it.

      Maybe Tim Cook should do the Ballmer “Monkey Boy”dance while screaming “Developers, Developers, Developers” to kick off the upcoming Apple WWDC in June. Talk about starting a conversation!

  1. Garbage.

    Apple should be “in the conversation”, yet when citing Schiller’s gaffe about the S4, that’s not the “conversation” they should be involved in. What conversation, exactly, should Apple be engaged in, Mr. LaMotte? It seems like they’re screwed by being silent, which he’s saying was always part of Apple’s mystique (I take it he thinks it was a good thing), and they’re screwed when they pipe up because it sounds defensive. So which is it?

    “Even [Apple’s] ads, said LaMotte — himself a former ad executive — now take the wrong approach, sticking to products and their features.” Which is the way Apple has always toned its ads, even the “I’m a Mac” ads. It’s always been about what you could do with a Mac.

    So according to LaMotte, Apple shouldn’t be silent, shouldn’t speak out because it comes off as defensive, but should engage in ads it never has or “do something”.

    Fucking enlightening.

  2. Right… as if anyone (not on their payroll) views Samsung as “cool”.. not even hardcore Android fans.

    On the other hand the competition would sleep much better at night if Apple talked. That way they could react with their me-too announcement.

    I bet they live in fear of what Apple has lined up next.

  3. The only thing I want Apple talking about is the iPad 5 when Tim & Co. announce it on stage, proceeded by Jony Ive explaining it in a video where he says “aloomenium” at least two times.

    1. Ive would pronounce it “aluminium”, which is the correct way of pronouncing it as ratified by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) in 1990.

      Our American cousins are quite correct to use the -ize ending on certain words (much more logical than the British -ise) but their continued mispronunciation of aluminium is weird.

      Which is why we love ’em 🙂


  4. Perhaps the best question is why Mr LaMotte and his “Washington-based strategic communications consultancy” is being so forthcoming with this “information”.

    What’s his strategy in this?

  5. Nonsense. The buyers are still buying Apple products in droves, it’s the pundits that have become bored, and with the stock price flagging, they are trying to read too much into it.

  6. Apple does not need to pre-announce or do “paper” launches of its products. Apple does not need to give multi year, or even multi quarter, product forecasts.

    What Apple DOES need to do is spread out its product launches over more of the year so something new is coming more often. Apple has seven major product lines: 1. iPod, 2. iPad, 3. iPhone, 4. Mac desktops, 5. Mac laptops, 6. Software (OS & Apps), 7. service (iTunes, iCloud, etc.)

    Apple could announce new items in a category every couple of months and still maintain its one year cadence in each category. Instead in the last eight months we saw a large number of product announcements in the last 3 1/2 months of 2012 (many, many of which could not be shipped for some time) and then virtually NOTHING for the last four months! (And the little speed bumps in some laptops don’t count — does anyone other than me even remember that?)

    Sure, product announcements in February, March or April are not as “sexy” as product announcements in October or November, but it lets the rest of the world wonder about what Apple is doing next (and nearly endlessly pontificate that Apple is doing NOTHING!).

    1. Just a simple stare or squint said volumes. I love the trilogy Fist Full of Dollars, A Few Dollars More and of course the best: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. These are my all time favourite movies and even though the sound is not the best, the acting is fantastic.

      And who can forget Alfred Hitchcock’s shower scene where he creates an image of a savage murder without showing a single blow? Secrecy done right really sells.

  7. Yeah, whatever! Silence and mystery is what makes Apple totally cool. Like Skunkworks SR-71 cool. Oh, and the devices sometimes helps with the cool 🙂

    Samsung is simply trying to copy the Apple hype without anything to show for it. Bigger screens and lots of advertising doesn’t cut it. People aren’t lining up to buy their plastic junk.

    The media and analysts are simply getting paid to say something bad about Apple. That’s how media works these days. Bad publicity is what people want to hear, especially if you are on top.

  8. Jean-Louis, as usual you ar always full of ‘Gasse’ and meaningless rhetoric. Just remember that when ‘Apple Inc.’ has ‘something to say’, then all will be ‘Cool’ again. Learn to be patient …

  9. There actually is some truth to what he’s saying, but he’s overblowing the importance of it with regards to the public’s reaction.

    Think Different was a campaign that was not about Apple products but was enlightening to the public about what drives Apple. We all could stand for some more of that kind of advertising now, not because Apple is failing as a company but because Apple is getting its reputation trashed by the media heads who need to Think Differently — think truth will get more page hits than prognostications of doom and gloom. I also think that Apple has been open enough about “the intersection of technology and liberal arts” that they could push that message to the public instead of the WWDC crowd. It wouldn’t need to be explicit enough to make competitors’ jobs any easier, but would help consumers associate their personal philosophies with the philosophies that drive Apple, and realize, subtly, that this is a company they’d actually like to do business with, where value is as important as price (much the same as spending more to support local businesses is good policy).

    In short, I guess, I think it’s about time Apple begin advertising Apple instead of just Apple products.

  10. I can imagine Apple’s first communication on this issue:

    “We don’t know who this clown, Peter LaMotte, is; and we didn’t ask him for any advice.”

  11. I think the issue is partly that this has been a rather long dry spell for Apple. With the deviation from the release ‘schedule’ of the last few years (not that there ever was an announced schedule, but there were enough years of fairly consistent releases to make people expect one) – Apple has allowed an unusual amount of uncertainty in investor expectations. Will there be an iTV? An iWatch? Retina Airs and iPad mini’s? New Pro’s? New features on iPads (besides memory and processor boosts)? Will there be an iPhone 5S with small incremental updates (vs. a redesigned iPhone 6 or iPhablet?). For those products added or updated recently, it might be a while before there’s anything new on the Apple front. Meanwhile, the competition incrementally continues to catch up with their clones and in some features may even surpass the Apple products (at least in the minds of some).

    Progress may not have suffered, R&D may be chugging along and the next best thing might be right around the corner, but marketing momentum has been lost.

    And there’s no announcement yet of when an announcement might come. All eyes will be on WWDC if there’s no word sooner, and the expectations will be unrealistically high by then, assuming anyone still notices.

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