Executive Rewind: Making Your Lasting Impression

Listen closely to this sound bite from Apple CEO Tim Cook. See if you come away with his key message.

Dealing with the news media requires newsworthy responses employing a basic marketing tactic: message frequency. In short, avoid slogans (that’s marketing), but repeat your most important message that has news value, often (that’s marketing, too, but should be used to your advantage).

Now, listen closely to this next sound bite. You’ll hear his overriding message repeated.

This blog is based on techniques of interviewing. So, sometimes you just have to set aside what you feel, or know, about the subject or story I use here to illustrate techniques. And that’s what I suggest you do regarding Apple and its legal tug-of-war with the FBI over the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists.

ABC News Anchor David Muir interviewed Apple CEO Tim Cook at the height of the controversy. It was a 30 minute interview, but Muir could use only small fractions of it on his newscast. Cook knew that and in the first few minutes, he made his most important point repeatedly, both for Muir and his producers to pick up on it, and to use on the air, reaching his targeted audiences.

Calmly, patiently, consistently and repeatedly, Cook is responsive to Muir’s questions, and still comes back to his main point.

Cook’s priority message is the lasting impression he needs to leave with those of us who own and use his mobile phones, as well as anyone in a position to help Apple in its fight. He’s building support for the present, and the future.

Indeed, he envisions the possibility that this issue may eventually be morphed into legislation, and people will need to have a voice.

In each sound bite, Cook got in his primary message, “It’s about the future,” and had supporting messages to reinforce it:

  • Apple has cooperated with the FBI regarding this one phone.
  • People, especially in the armed services, understand what’s at stake and support Apple’s position.
  • Besides the help we’ve provided, the only other options would expose hundreds of millions of our customers.
  • This is not an issue the courts should decide, since that would open the door to future similar rulings. Congress must decide.