In early 1997, its stock price was $4.
This once proud company had taken a bunch of body blows, and was staggering – badly.
Its CEO at the time was great at cutting costs and preserving capital, but investors weren’t buying it. Plus, his communication skills were sub-par, and at about the company’s lowest point, he delivered a speech at a major trade show that was considered a rambling, unfocused, “unmitigated disaster“.
Something had to change. And change it did, because the new CEO had a vision that went beyond product, and costs, and overhead, and costs of capital.
It was about passion. And about people who have it.
Thirteen years later, the stock price is now above $240, and it has a market cap bigger than Microsoft.
That company is Apple. And that CEO is Steve Jobs.
Jobs returned to Apple full-time in 1997 and quickly put together a brand new marketing campaign that he presented in a speech that summer.
A video of that speech has surfaced again recently, and it is nothing more than an absolutely essential case study in how a leader must present a company’s values, vision, and purpose, BEFORE a company can march forward with its products.
Which brings us back to passion. Jobs, in that speech, declares that “Marketing is about values”. He added that companies “have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us“.
Then, he says “we’re not about making boxes for people to get their jobs done“. It’s not about the product.
With that stage set, Jobs delivers Apple’s “core value”: “We believe that people with passion can change the world for the better”.
That’s about as far away from product as anyone could get. But yet, this statement, and the resulting “Think Different” ad campaign, set a tone that resulted in the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, and Apple’s domination of the technological “cool factor”.
Not to mention that $240 share price.
So does a vision matter? Do core beliefs matter? Can a passion for change translate to nuts and bolts success?
Oh, yeah. Ask Steve Jobs. Or better yet, watch the video yourself. Several times. And remember that line from the commercial:
“The ones that are crazy enough to want to change the world are the ones that actually do”