What Entrepreneurs Can Learn from 'Tim Apple'
Last week, I was watching the news and saw something that struck a powerful chord with me. On March 7, Apple CEO Tim Cook met with President Donald Trump at the White House for the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board. The purpose was to talk about education, technology and the job market.
When President Trump was thanking Cook for his tech contributions and investment in the United States, he referred to him as “Tim Apple.”
Now, it’s not clear whether this was a mistake or if it was Trump giving Cook a nickname. Regardless, the simple fact that Trump referred to Cook by the name of the company he is the CEO of says a lot beneath the surface.
Think about it like this: In many ways, Apple represents the pinnacle of technological innovation. So, when Trump called Cook “Tim Apple,” I interpreted that as Trump essentially calling him “Tim, The Pinnacle of Technological Innovation.”
As an entrepreneur, earning a name like this should be something you strive for. Here are a few key takeaways from this story.
Become the “something” person.
Entrepreneurs are on a constant mission to conquer their niche and become a name that everyone associates with it, whatever that may be. In the 90s, Bill Gates was -- and arguably still is -- the “computer guy.” These days, Elon Musk is the “electric car guy.”
As an entrepreneur, you are wise to laser focus on the area you are best at. You can’t be the “something person” if you are trying to cover a bunch of different skills and niches. I certainly learned this lesson with E2M. Back in the beginning of 2018, we decided to scale back our focus to the core areas of digital that we do exceptionally well.
After much thought and consideration, we came to the conclusion that SEO, web design, content marketing and copywriting -- four components directly tied into digital marketing -- were the services we were knocking out of the park project after project. We decided to discontinue other services, like social media and paid search, and focus all of our energy into making a name for ourselves in the four areas mentioned above.
In the quest to become the “something person,” the age-old saying remains relevant -- “A jack-of-all-trades is a master of none.”
Be an industry conversation driver.
In the interest of establishing a name in your industry, the key task is to get people talking.
Look at Apple’s marketing strategies when they are building up hype for the latest iPhone. Most importantly, they drive conversations with the masses by not using technical language in their promotions. They don’t use words like gigahertz or megahertz as they talk about the usability.
The content mentions terms like LED display, voice activation, fingerprint scanner, screen resolution, etc. -- terms casual tech people can understand. This is so everyday consumers can intelligently talk about the new features and get excited about them. Apple’s ability to get people talking is one of the main reasons why they were the world’s first trillion-dollar company.
Whatever your niche may be, you need to make a solid effort to connect with those in the industry and spark conversations. Moreover, these conversations should be able to involve relevant stakeholders. For instance, if we wanted to start a widespread conversation about the best practices for web design, we wouldn’t want to get too technical that business owners and potential clients couldn’t understand.
Fortunately, social media makes this MUCH easier than it used to be. Investing time and knowledge into building a personal brand is critical for showcasing expertise in the field.
As SEO specialists, we make it a point to drive industry conversations and share our insight after a big Google algorithm update. Not only does this help to network, it contributes to the shared pool of human knowledge. Plain and simple, the more value you add to your industry, the more people will see you as a leader.
Put a face and a voice behind the messaging.
We live in a time where everyone has a voice that can be heard by the masses. With so many voices and opinions out there, cutting through the noise and getting people to recognize your input takes a particular touch.
When it comes to sharing industry knowledge and sparking conversations, people like to see a face and hear a voice behind the messaging. These two factors stand out in people’s minds much better than text.
Think about your favorite video or podcast host. Chances are, there are plenty of other people covering similar subjects. The reason you keep coming back to that particular host is likely because of their personality, their ability to present information in a meaningful way and the overall vibe they project.
This is critical in creating a memorable presence in your industry. Many entrepreneurs are leveraging this phenomenon and creating their own video series, in which they personally discuss industry news, share advice, answer questions and much, much more.
Embrace your sentiment.
Perhaps the funniest part of the whole “Tim Apple” debacle was the fact that Cook briefly changed his Twitter name to reflect it. Instead of spelling out the word “Apple,” Cook placed the Apple logo after his first name.
Now, the concept of “embracing your sentiment” can take many different forms. As you create a name in your industry and start to get input from others, you should be actively engaging and continuing the conversation. Truth be told, when you share insight and bold statements, sooner or later, people are going to disagree with you. When this happens, the focus needs to be on understanding their viewpoint and how it differs from yours.
Whether the sentiment is good or bad, you need to be engaging and embrace it. Remember, it’s not always the message you promote that defines you. Often times, the way you respond and interact with others does.
In my opinion, Trump referring to Cook as “Tim Apple” was somewhat of a nod to Cook’s success in the tech world and everything he has done for Apple.
Think about it: What if someone with a lot of clout commended your accomplishments, then referred to you by your first name followed by the name of your company? It would be pretty awesome!
I have built my career around digital marketing and can certainly attest that my overarching professional goal is to be known in the industry as “Manish E2M” or “Manish the marketing guy.”
Hopefully, this post has given you some ideas of how you can start earning that status.