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“Apple is a champion of human rights, education and the environment.”
Apple learns; and now, led by CEO Tim Cook, it also listens. Numerous signals suggest Apple seeks to become more open than ever, even while it works to become a good corporate citizen.
Speaking to the US Senate, Cook explained: “Apple is a company of strong values. In addition to creating hundreds of thousands of American jobs and developing products that enrich the lives of millions, Apple is a champion of human rights, education and the environment. Our belief that innovation should serve humanity’s deepest values and highest aspirations is not going to change.”
Just to be clear
Apple has recently been slammed for foreign labour conditions; environmental commitments; manufacturing products outside the US and its handling of tax affairs. The company has responded by offering more transparency into working conditions and won praise from longterm critic Greenpeace, which calls Apple “the most innovative and aggressive” Silicon Valley firm when it comes to clean power.
The evidence that Apple under Cook is prepared to engage with its customers cuts across the corporation: VP Craig Federighi’s jokes at WWDC 2014; plans to make OS X Yosemite available to a million Mac users in public beta; and the opening up of APIs to its mobile OS. “On the general topic of opening up APIs, I think you’ll see us open up more in the future,” Cook told Walt Mossberg, though he stressed this wouldn’t put the customer experience at risk.
Cook is personally leading the search for a replacement for retiring PR chief Katie Cotton, seeking an external candidate who can put a “friendlier, more approachable face” on the company, said Re/code. Apple PR has already become more proactive; “communications staff have sent reporters more favourable third-party reports,” the Wall Street Journal said last year.
Apple CEO, Tim Cook
This drive to proactively engage with audiences across all its channels is also reflected in the company’s marketing messages. AdAge claims Apple’s assembling its own in-house marketing team to supplement long-term partner TBWA\Chiat\Day. The new message focuses on how its solutions can be used to make a positive impact on customer's lives. Cook’s use of Twitter to support gay rights and environmental causes puts him “on the cutting edge of an emerging new mind-set in corporate leadership about values and value creation,” James Austin, emeritus professor at Harvard Business School, told The New York Times.
This drive to become identified with core values seems central to Cook’s Apple recipe: "We do things because they’re just and right," he told
Does the departure of Katie Cotton (middle), Apple’s PR chief, presage a shift in Apple’s top-down attitude?