5 PR lessons from the iPhone 5 unveiling

With dramatic effect, Apple unveiled what it called ‘the most beautiful product we’ve ever made.’ PR people can learn from this highly anticipated event.


Apple owns the press event, and today’s new iPhone unveiling was no exception.

In front of a crowd of reporters and Apple enthusiasts, Apple CEO Tim Cook and marketing chief Phil Schiller revealed the faster, lighter, thinner iPhone 5.

“It is an absolute jewel—the most beautiful product we’ve made, bar none,” Schiller said as the new device rose from the stage mounted on a pedestal.

The announcement sparked an explosion of activity on Twitter. During the event, which ran from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET, Twitter mentions about the iPhone 5 surged to more than 180,000, according to SocialBakers. In the hour leading up to the event, mentions topped 150,000.

Besides selling a wildly popular product, here are five things marketing and PR pros can learn from today’s event:

1. Make sure your executives are well trained—even if the product is killer.
When Apple released the iPhone 4S, reactions were tempered, in part due to the newly anointed Tim Cook. This time around he was prepared and delivered a performance that impressed reporters. “Cook seems more confident and effusive in his speaking style,” Mashable‘s Chris Taylor remarked during his live blog of the event. “Figure he’s been taking lessons.” The New York Times added: “Mr. Cook, normally Mr. Nice Guy, is being funny and sarcastic.”

2. Numbers remain powerful. Facts, not platitudes speak volumes—just ask Cook. Early in the presentation, Cook highlighted the impressive sales figures for the iPad and Mac computers. Among the numbers: 17 million iPads sold last quarter, making a total of 84 million iPads sold through June 2012; the iPad’s market share is 68 percent, a boost from 62 percent one year ago; and more than 90 percent of Web traffic from tablets comes from iPads. The last statistic sparked this quip from Cook: “I don’t know what these other tablets are doing. They must be in warehouses, or store shelves, or maybe in someone’s bottom drawer.” The audience reportedly roared with laughter.

3. Pay attention to sound bites. Schiller’s “most beautiful product” remark will be echoed throughout the media this week, as will Cook’s statement early in the event that “We are in a post-PC world.”

4. Show, don’t tell. The iPhone 5’s front facing camera is getting an upgrade. Instead of simply telling the audience about it, Schiller showed off a variety of pictures snapped using the new device. Several media outlets covering the event swooned over the camera technology—which you wouldn’t get that by simply saying: “And it’s got a 28 megapixels.” (Unless, maybe Ashton Kutcher is saying it.)

5. Maintain realistic expectations. Apple’s stock soared in the lead-up to the event, but traded lower in the wake of the announcement—despite the hype and social media frenzy. That’s nothing new in terms of Apple’s product unveiling, according to a tweet from Rebecca Jarvis, co-host of CBS’s “This Morning.” (By the close of trading on Wednesday, Apple’s share price was up 1.4 percent.)

Preorders for the iPhone 5 begin Friday. The pricing is the same as the iPhone 4S.

COMMENT

PR Daily News Feed

Sign up to receive the latest articles from PR Daily directly in your inbox.