Much different than BP, Toyota, Mel Gibson, Tiger Woods and Dell, Apple can better weather negative media and afford a PR crisis (if such a thing is possible).  Let’s keep things in perspective for Apple – The brand is so hot that there are waiting lists for their products, and they won’t even take your money in their stores.  Even with a massive, high-probability record-recall, Apple still will emerge unscathed in the big picture.  They have made so many right moves for so many years that one misstep was to be expected.

In exploring the world of branding and marketing, people tend to lean on the mass marketing concepts taught in schools of business. They teach about power branding, co-branding, differentiation and loyal consumers following their brand preferences. As these are all valid concepts, it is a natural negligence of the power of the brand stemming from media coverage and public awareness. If not for Public Relations management and buzz around innovation, none Apple’s inventions of the last decade would have been as successful as they currently are.

Were people agitated by Dell only since its batteries burst into flames while working on your laptop? No, the batteries were one additional negative aspect of the brand stemming from the late 90s’ caused by reckless communication management instead of quality service. As for the recent Mel Gibson fiasco, are the newly released tapes the only reason the public is asking to end his career? No, there is a recent history with poorly-considered statements and very unfortunate timing. This also applies to BP with the oil spill and the public opinion of corporate ‘Greed,’ goes alongside the jealousy and anger towards Tiger Woods’ glamorous career, and concludes with Toyota, which simply wouldn’t admit to mistakes and playing with peoples lives.  They all paid the price and will continue to for miscommunication.

Apple has been innovating and determining the way consumers of all walks of life live, do business, and interact. It is a brand that applies to all industries and it reinvents itself all the time while dominating the markets of Telecom, Tech, and mass consumption. Just as Fed-ex defined overnight travel, how many people are walking around with “walkmans” these days? No one, now it’s the iPod, stupid. Apple has amazing products, but all of them would mean nothing had Apple neglected the communications around its activity.

If IBM’s Thomas Watson of the 50’s is known for his pathetic statement, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, then Apple is known for the exact opposite. The bi-annual Apple extravaganza in San Francisco is an unprecedented attraction of media attention. It is as if every single year Apple will and should introduce us to a new way to make life easier. Its CEO is a brand power that is reenergized by his quiet, almost “simple” character that lacks colorful dimensions. The products enjoy a pre-sale rate that shows a blindly-directed consumer market, overachieving substitutes.

Today, Apple can afford the iPhone 4 recall because – from the public’s view – they are almost vital to our “existence.” The awareness this brand gained and maintained in the minds of the masses stands as a symbol of technological modernity. It defined mobility.  It reads portability and integration. It defines social interaction through its apps. As a business, it acts as a generator of income for app developers and social media marketers, and let’s not forget how it revolutionized the music industry through iTunes.

What Apple did that no other brand could do is integrate and harmonize all its sub-brands as leverage for a major awareness-building stunt – known to us as “Apple”. In contrast to Toyota, people will return the device and impatiently await its replacement, because Apple doesn’t have peers, whereas a Toyota driver can easily drive a Honda, instead. In addition, Apple lures customers to the next innovation – be it iPad 3, iPod 5 or Shuffle 8. When Toyota cars were returned, it was a ‘Goodbye’ wave from former drivers. The recovery for Toyota will require a regained credibility and loyalty on the consumer’s end. On the other hand, the Apple case is so strong that loyalty remains intact.

The strength of Apple stems from its Public Relations and brand awareness. The probable recall reinforces the public opinion of Apple that displays it as a highly-crucial piece of equipment in our daily lives. Apple described the possible recall as a “sign of its commitment to consumer quality devices,” and that shows how well the PR machine works for Apple. For any other brand this would mean a disastrous outcome and a possible end to periodical success.

For Apple, it’s a re-run of the suspense and sleeping bag phenomenon seen outside Apple stores worldwide. If they sold 3 million devices now, I’m thinking they will sell 5 million by the end of this epic.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.

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