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Brand Culture Drives Apple Store Success


Brand Culture Drives Apple Store Success

If you’re looking for a “job,” Apple doesn’t want you. Apple prefers to hire people who hear a “calling” to apply.

Apple hires people who want to play a role in creating the best-loved technology on the planet. Apple hires people who take joy in helping others discover tools they can use to change the way they live, work, and play. Apple hires enthu­siastic people who want to help others achieve their dreams. It’s a phi­losophy Steve Jobs instilled in the culture. Andy Hertzfeld, an original member of the Apple team and now an engineer at Google, once said that what Jobs taught him was to “follow your heart” and only great work comes out of doing what you adore. Hertzfeld was walking with Jobs near his home in Palo Alto, California. It was around the time the Internet bubble was minting millionaires all around them and those who weren’t rich yet were talking about “exit strategies” – selling quickly for a profit. “It’s such a small ambition and sad, really,” Jobs said. “They should want to build something, something that lasts.”

Apple creates a customer service culture that lasts because it hires for personality. The company cannot train for personality. No com­pany can. The filtering process begins at the Apple website, which specifically states the company is only looking for people who want to change the world and who want to positively impact the lives of others: “Like when someone creates their first video with iMovie. Surfs the Internet-the real Internet-on an iPhone. Or uses the built-in iSight camera to video chat with their grandchildren. Mak­ing it all happen can be hard work. And you could probably find an easier job someplace else. But that’s not the point, is it?”

On the tenth anniversary of the Apple Store, the company cre­ated a poster that was circulated among its employees. It was meant to inspire employees and capture the spirit of the company. But if you read the poster carefully, it reveals much of the magic behind the brand and provides lessons for any company attempting to create a next-generation customer experience.

“At the very center of all we’ve accomplished are our people,” the poster states.

“People who understand how important art is to technology. People who match, and often exceed, the excitement of our cus­tomers on days we release new products. The more than 30,000 smart, dedicated employees who work so hard to create lasting relationships with the millions who walk through our doors … we now see that it’s our job to train our people and to learn from them. And we recruit employees with such different back­ grounds – teachers, musicians, artists, engineers – that there’s a lot they can teach us. We’ve learned how to value a magnetic personality just as much as proficiency. How to look for intel­ligence but give just as much weight to kindness. How to find people who want a career, not a job. And we’ve learned that when we hire the right people, we can lead rather than man­age. We can give each person their own piece of the garden to transform.”

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by Carmine Gallo in partnership with McGraw-Hill. Excerpted from The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanley Great Customer Loyalty

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