Will Facebook Follow in ...


Contrary to a recent ReadWriteWeb story, it’s way too early judge Facebook’s PR philosophy in its post-IPO era.

We need some time to see if Facebook will take a page from Apple’s PR playbook.

But it’s going to be tough to mimic Apple if for no other reason than the fact that Apple is a outlier. This outlier status serves as the backstop for the Apple brand and one could argue enabled Steve Jobs himself to shape a communications strategy that depends on scarcity.

In other words, Jobs applied the same principles that govern supply-demand economics to Apple’s communications.

Jobs recognized early in his career there was strong demand from journalists in Apple’s stories. By tightly controlling access to the company and only allowing select narratives to be shared with the outside world, Jobs shaped a “market place” for Apple stories in which demand always far exceeds supply.

Over time this has become a self-reinforcing virtuous circle with two factors – Apple’s growing success and media properties figuring out that Apple stories attract a spike in readership – actually strengthening the scarcity strategy.

That’s why supply and demand when it comes to Apple storytelling has never been more out of whack than it is today. Even with the passing of Mr. Jobs, Apple continues to show it knows how to leverage its position of strength like a poker player with all the chips.

Just look at all the stories that came from Tim Cook’s chat at D: All Things Digital.

Other heavyweights like IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft don’t take a scarcity approach to public relations. If they did, it wouldn’t work. There’s only one Apple.

The difference in philosophies shows up in the number of news releases distributed by each company:

* Apple distributed 0 news releases in May. For context, it distributed 4 news release in April.

I suspect that Facebook’s PR philosophy is going to end up closer to IBM, Oracle and Microsoft than to Apple, but again time will tell.

Note: If you enjoyed the post, you might check out “Replacing Narrative Cultivated by Steve Jobs Will Be Tougher Than the Product Roadmap.”

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