‘Spock. Let’s go to the Apple Holodeck’

Last week I blogged about Apple. I talked about how Apple have developed a brand image which can influence and be influenced by their consumers. In this blog I am going to delve into the mysterious universe that is Apple and discover what it is they do that accomplishes this influencing brand image.

When someone asks you about the company Apple some of the firsts things that will pop to mind will be Steve Jobs, ipod and Macs. Steve Jobs was the leader (or CEO) of Apple and many of the followers of Apple still worship and praise him. Peacock (2007) describes Jobs as the ‘human logo’ for Apple. Everyone knows his name and associates him with the success of Apple. Why is this the case? How could one man influence individuals to agree with everything he said and solely influence people to buy Apple’s products?

Watch some of the video below. It is a speech Jobs is giving about the launch of the iphone. The video is quite long so don’t watch it all, unless you love iphones! When you watch the video observe Jobs. Analyse his presentation skills, body movement and eye contact.

Jobs has been describe by some to have the all-mighty power of the reality distortion field.  What is Reality Distortion Field (RDF)? Shravan (2011) describes RDF as Jobs’ ability to ask an individual to do something for you even though it would be practically impossible. This ‘ability’ could be used to support the reason why so many people purchase expensive apple products when there are cheaper alternatives.  Furthermore, the consumers also see no technological flaws in the Apple products. Shravan states that Jobs manages to make people believe they were a part of something ‘extraordinary’. Thus, if consumers follow Apple they will also feel ‘extraordinary’. These positive emotions from buying an Apple product act as a reinforcer for the consumer. Mattila and Enz (2002) discovered that a consumer’s displayed emotions with the product correlate highly with their evaluation of the service provider. Jobs’ is Apples main service provider, he charged positive emotions into the products and this emotional charge influences the consumer’s emotions. This emotionally charging strategy is a part of Jobs’ RDF. Watch this second video to observe the type of words Jobs and others use in their speeches.

The major parts are eye contact and body positioning. It is a non-verbal method of communicating (Gabbot & Hogg, 2000)Lynn and Mynier (2006) discovered that a waiters posture effects the amount of tips he/she receives. Furthermore, Gabbot and Hogg (2001) found that non-verbal communication significantly impacts the impressions of the consumer. If you observe Jobs in the mentioned video you can instantly observe the non-verbal skills he uses. The non-verbal skills act as a secondary weapon to ensure the consumers fall head over heals about the products.

Steve Jobs presented himself as a free-thinking leader and by using non-verbal communication skills and emotionally charged adjectives he became Apple’s selling machine. It seems that Steve Jobs controlled our minds and influenced our buying with this powerful RDF. Whether it exists is another matter and I leave it up to you to decide. Well, the term does come from star trek the original series!

Oh and if you do not know I am a PC guy 🙂


3 thoughts on “‘Spock. Let’s go to the Apple Holodeck’

  1. It is fascinating how one man came to represent an entire company and become most people’s physical representation of the company outside of the products. I would think that the only other comparable person would be Richard Branson although he was perhaps better known for doing things differently rather than for his presentation skills. The fact is that body posture tells a huge amount about the speaker. There was some research done at Bangor University, which analysed the postures of the political party leaders during the televised debates, and through posture alone, they were able to predict the winner at the elections! Pretty awesome stuff.

  2. Really interesting blog this week!

    Its pretty amazing that the term ‘Reality Distortion Field’ was coined to describe Steve Jobs specifically – it highlights how unique he was. My only question is: who is going to take over where he left off?

    There are a number or blogs and articles now discussing Steve Job’s legacy and how the RDF will survive without him. Many articles argue that the company has implemented training programmes designed to ensure that the RDF lives on in Apple’s employee pool (Lyon, 2012).

    Although, I am a little sceptical of the term (considering that it was coined by somebody who actually worked for Apple). Perhaps Steve’s uniqueness, persuasive genius, and selling ability derive from separate psychological explanations:
    – Theories of persuasive success rely on concepts such as authority, commitment, and liking (Cialdini, 1994)
    – Steve Jobs created an atmosphere of authority – through his expertise, his personality, and his presence (lyon, 2012)
    – His dedication to Apple products created a sense of ‘commitment’ – this was not a hidden commitment either.
    – Jobs was also able to develop and maintain such a personal connection with his customers = which led to ‘liking’.

    Perhaps then, RDF is an unnecessary term. Maybe Steve Job’s success and legacy derived from his ability to persuade his customer audience though his authority, his commitment and his likeable personality?

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