Apple’s Mistake
Often small brands worry that they are making huge mistakes. Recently Apple made a mistake you should use this example to help remind yourself that your brand can overcome mistakes.
Apple’s Mistake Transcript

Okay, so I wanted to take a moment and talk about something that happened and if you’re a small brand, somebody who’s working on your own or even a mid-sized company or, in fact, a large company, you should find little bit of peace in this. As branders, we tend to worry a lot. We worry that what we’re going to do is going to upset other people. We’re going to alienate our customer base or those that we’re hoping to reach out to. And as a result we tend to almost be hesitant on what we do because we worry about that mistake just really, really impacting our brand.

This last week, Apple who has just a huge amount of money, one of the largest companies in the world. It fluctuates between being the highest most valuable company in the world between the top five there, but they run this campaign. You’ve probably seen it and stuff where it’s shot on or created by or created with an Apple device, an Apple product. And one of these things that they’re doing is asking people for submissions. Asking people to send in stuff that they’ve made, stuff that they’ve created.

The problem is Apple wasn’t giving any compensation for it. This is one of the largest companies in the world who is asking for stuff for free from their customers. The problem with this is right now there’s actually, among creatives, a pushback that’s taking place. And if your company is guilty of doing this, you’ll want to pay attention. What it is is they’re actively looking for companies who are asking for free, or who are not willing to compensate fairly. The creatives aren’t oblivious to the fact that you’re going to take their creations and use it to make money.

Where they started to have problems now is brands asking for things for free. And it’s commonly referred to spec work, free work. Just all sorts of different names. But Apple did this. Apple asked for free things so that way they could turn around and sell thousand dollar products. Most of the creatives honestly, would be happy if Apple just turned around and said, “If you submit, it will even give you an iPhone, an Apple watch or something.” Something that’s compensated for the work that they did. Now, the amount of compensation varies between the level of professionalists that these creatives are. The more professional they are, the longer they’ve been around, the more they know the value of their work.

But the higher, more professional creatives are actually looking out for the lower creatives who are just starting off who don’t know how to value their work. And so what they’re doing is they’re coming to their defense essentially. So when they see these contests, they see these social media asks from companies, they jump on it. They jump on it to point out that nobody should be participating in it because of the unfairness and the essentially un-professionalism that’s taking place.

Now, I mentioned if you’re a small business, small, a single entrepreneurship or anything like that, you should probably pay attention is a lot of times you’re guilty of this as well in you sit there, and you go up to a creative and say, “Hey, I got an idea for this company. I need a logo.” And they say, “Great, it’s going to cost you X amount of dollars. It’s going to cost you so much money,” but brands tend to push back and think, “Oh, well, I’m going to give you exposure. It’s going to be a great portfolio piece,” but that doesn’t pay the bills. You wouldn’t want your customers coming to you saying, “Well, why don’t you give me the product for free? I’ll tell everybody about it. There’ll be great exposure for you.” the only time that’s probably acceptable is when it’s for a nonprofit organization, possibly. Depends on the circumstance.

So Apple did this and they just got a huge amount of backlash because they’re asking for stuff and they actually said that there was no cash value. No compensation or anything. And that’s pretty gutsy when people know how much your products go for to sit there and ask for that. And it didn’t pay off. Apple had to turn around and change their official rules and everything and say, “Yes, we will provide compensation up to a certain amount of dollars and everything,” but it’s still tainted some of the creatives look at how they look at Apple. You have to ask yourself, “Is free worth it? Is even the idea of asking for free worth it?” If you think it is, do yourself a favor. Next time you go into a mechanic, ask him and say, “Well, if you do this for free, it will be great exposure for you,” and see how quickly the mechanical doing the work for you.

We can’t expect things for free. We don’t want to give away our products for free. We don’t want to give away the farm. And for creatives who that’s their profession, that’s what they’re giving away. You can’t expect them to give that away for free as well. So if you have any kind of campaigns in the works where you’re going to ask people for things for free, rethink that idea. It can really come back and harm you and those that do contribute their stuff for free? They might not have the work or the quality that you’re looking for. Make sure your brand is doing the best that it can and always benefiting everybody that’s involved with your brand. Until next week, let’s make your brand better.

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