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How Steve Jobs Blew Up the Rules of Branding By throwing out the approved checklist, Jobs got customers to meaningfully connect with the Apple brand.

By Jonathan Salem Baskin

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Before Steve Jobs got his hands on Apple for the second time in 1997, things were far simpler. Serious business customers were different from their playful consumer counterparts. Men bought technology products; women were fashion buyers. Kids had disposable income to waste, and mature folks cautiously invested their pennies. Branding promises were made solely in beautiful advertising, price was pretty much all that mattered at retail, and customer usage and satisfaction were afterthoughts.

Oh, what a difference an iMac makes.

It's also what makes Apple so hard for marketers to comprehend. Most analyses of the company's branding success get it wrong. They highlight specific qualities: The ads were great; product design trumped the competition; the packaging was exquisite; Jobs was a magician, capable of casting a "reality distortion field" on anyone in his presence.

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