From Seeing Through the Illusion: Understanding Apple’s Mastery of the Media, a profile examining Apple’s PR strategy:
Steve Jobs and the Process Behind Press Releases
A former Apple PR member recalls that Steve Jobs once scrapped an entire Apple press release announcing a new partnership with another company solely because he did not like the name of the new partner. Apple ended up re-writing the entire press release to work around having to actually name the company. When Steve Jobs was at the helm, the buck stopped at his office for even the smallest PR minutiae. Even beyond the bigger picture deals like magazine covers and major interviews, Jobs was involved with Apple’s communications down to individual words in press releases.
It was Jobs who came up with the strategy of assigning an adjective to each Apple product for usage in press releases. For instance, the iPad is consistently referred to as “Magical,” while the App Store is “Legendary” and the iPhone is “Revolutionary.” These terms were not mentioned just once in a single press release, but are commonly used for those respective products across Apple’s marketing materials, internal presentations, and high-profile media events.
Jobs also created a rule with Katie Cotton that all press releases involving a partner were to be wholly written and distributed by Apple. As a former Apple employee said, “it was our way or the highway.” This strategy can be seen as early as an investment partnership from the year 2000 in EarthLink and as recently as the announcement of a partnership with IBM.
Before Jobs put his final touches and approval on press releases, the writing process was led by Cotton, individual members of the PR team, and Phil Schiller. Schiller and his top marketing brass would brief the top brass of the PR team, and then the PR team would delegate press release writing to individuals or pairs. Cotton is said to have been “adamant” that the individual PR people write the first drafts of press releases themselves, not business teams or marketing executives. Cotton and Jobs would then finalize and re-write the releases as needed. The details may change going forward with new people, but the overall process is likely to remain the same.