Apple hires Angela Ahrendts’ confidant and former Nike exec to lead social media efforts

“Apple is giving its social media department a significant shot in the arm this week,” Mark Gurman reports for 9to5Mac.

“The Cupertino-based company has hired Musa Tariq, the former social media chief for both Nike and Burberry,” Gurman reports. “At Nike, Tariq ran general social media marketing as well as social media partnerships with athletes across all Nike product platforms, and at Burberry he led ‘strategy and innovation’ for social media.”

“Apple currently utilizes several forms for marketing, but the company’s social media presence has not been up to par with some of the viral marketing campaigns led by its competitors in recent years. Apple currently runs Facebook Pages accounts for iTunes and the App Store, Twitter accounts for several iTunes-related services, and top executives such as Tim Cook, Angela Ahrendts, Phil Schiller, and Eddy Cue have semi-active Twitter feeds,” Gurman reports. “But beyond that, Apple’s approach to social media-based marketing has been limited at best.”

Read more in the full article here.

27 Comments

  1. The guys at Apple haven’t been ‘getting’ social media, thinking of it as a thin advertising channel at best, complacent in their reliance on cachet and product placement. This hire of Tariq is obviously at the behest of Ahrendts who does ‘get’ that social media are engaging, effective marketing tools, ones she’d used at Burberry with Tariq to manufacture buzz and sweep up new customers. Even the Home Shopping Network has been better at this sort of thing than curmudgeonly Apple—I gave up on their Twitter feed as hopeless ages ago.

      1. I think they have thought such things to be beneath them and indeed most of the cheesy, crap of the type that Samsung sinks to is. However it is now a required facet of marketing, advertising and promotion and the good thing is that they now have people controlling that aspect who will know what is and what isn’t suitable for Apple so keeping its touch of very necessary class intact.

    1. Apple doesn’t need social media. Not really. We, the Apple customers, are as engaged as any customers get. A twitter feed isn’t going to change that. A Facebook presence won’t make any difference. An effective use of SnapChat could be fun. Tim drinking coffee in the morning… A snap of the iPhone 6 just before the announcement, otherwise, meh.

      Apple has nothing but “buzz.” They could do with a little less buzz actually. Apple isn’t a boutique underwear seller. They’re the most well known freaking company in the world.

      Social media can also be a place to accidentally expose your lack of “cool” or unhipness. One bad tweet and the world goes nuts chattering about how stupid you are. Unintentional association with well known misogynists and homophobes could hurt the company’s image. Then again maybe not.

      I’ve found the best use of social media is in embarrassing companies into communicating with you when you have a gripe. Lord knows Apple won’t play that game.

      Products have created lines at Apple Stores, clearly not social media. Apple using social media, at least to me, is the equivalent of putting flyers in the cheap apartment building junk mail bin.

      It’s funny, I never heard of Burberry until Apple hired Ahrendts. She seems like a great hire, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her as the next CEO, I just think people haven’t seen social media for the naked emperor it is yet.

      1. Well, maybe you hadn’t heard of Burberry before because you don’t haunt the fashionista channels, and I can’t hold that against you. At our advanced age it is tough to keep up with the newer things, especially when we don’t understand why we should even care about them. But as a woman in technology I have been forced to keep up, and I can report that social media increasingly play a critical role in customer awareness which translates into sales.

        Apple products are so good they sell themselves? — Uh, sure, once they are promoted. And social media are a promotional channel, in exactly the same way that word of mouth is a promotional channel. In other words, the best one of all.

    1. “I have my own theory about why decline happens at companies like IBM or Microsoft. The company does a great job, innovates and becomes a monopoly or close to it in some field, and then the quality of the product becomes less important. The company starts valuing the great salesmen, because they’re the ones who can move the needle on revenues, not the product engineers and designers. So the salespeople end up running the company. John Akers at IBM was a smart, eloquent, fantastic salesperson, but he didn’t know anything about product. The same thing happened at Xerox. When the sales guys run the company, the product guys don’t matter so much, and a lot of them just turn off.”

      Steve Jobs.

      Just saying’.

      1. Steve Jobs is dead, and before dying, he proposed that his successor should not ask what Steve would do, but act according to his own instinct. Tim Cook has done that. He has gone about assembling a new Magnificent Seven. Instead of citing foreboding “Just So” morality stories, how about letting events play out on a real stage in real time? Just saying.

        1. I know Jobs is dead. I also know people don’t flock to Apple stores because of the design, the design concept or social media. The store is an added bonus.

          People aren’t going to buy Apple products because of some social media perceived value nor will they flock to the store unless it is for concert tickets or some other promotion.

          Apple’s buzz comes from the products, not some marketers wet dream.

          This also has nothing to do with Cook making Apple his. More power to him.

      2. the only thing was: Apple WAS run by a Salesman: Steve Jobs (who was also a tech nerd, an innovator, manager etc as well).

        Steve Jobs was the Greatest Salesman of my generation.

        Steve was selling and hustling since his twenties (Woz was the workshop guy). Jobs sold at tech fairs, gave speeches, sold plans to investors, did the product launches (Later Apple product launches are the greatest single sales events through all industries in terms of impact and profitability and Steve’s sales pitches and formats for the events are copied by everyone).

        Steve Jobs also masterminded the most profitable retail stores in the world: the Apple stores which make near twice their nearest rivals per square foot and he paid a big part in Apple’s ad strategies like Mac PC guy , 1984 etc. (All these are Sales activities!) (Note the Glass Staircases in apple stores costing hundreds of thousands each co patented by jobs were Sales Instruments: they were designed to attract and LEAD customers upstairs where in most stores customers didn’t lie to go! Genius salesmanship! )

        Apple’s marketing people said that besides Jony Ive’s team Jobs spent the most time with them, going through every sales plan and ad and he spent countless hours hashing stuff with the ad agencies like Chiat Day.

            1. Yes. More than twice as much ($6,050) as Tiffany’s ($3,017). Needless to say, Apple has the highest average revenue per square foot in retail in America, as well as the highest revenue for a single store (5th Ave in NYC). And that location (5th Ave) has some formidable retail competition in the neighbourhood; in addition to the no. 2 Tiffany, there’s Chanel, Bergdorf-Goodman, Bulgari, Ferragamo, Armani, Versace, Gucci, Louis Vuiton… All way below Apple.

  2. “Great products in the pipeline.” Is not much of a marketing strategy especially when it’s not true. The longer Tim keeps saying that, Angela is going to have a hell of a time keeping her new job.

  3. You can bet that Angel Ahrendts has hiring authority. If she know someone who is going be effective for her, what do you expect that she is going do ?

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