Before his untimely death in 2011 Steve Jobs always wore a pair of Levi 501s, a black turtle-neck top and a pair of New Balance running shoes. That was his outfit of choice and it never changed. It was comforting and timeless and it became as recognisable as the products that Apple developed.
Maybe it was his way of saying “I’ll dress how I want and this is comfortable to me” or “I already make enough decisions every day and I want to pare it down to only those I care about. What I wear isn’t one of those.” Or maybe it was deeper than that – “I’m just like you. I talk like you. I dress like you. I understand you. I’m not going to change and neither is Apple.”
Whatever it was it worked. It created consistency and that is important. It conditioned people to know what to expect of him and there were never any surprises. The same is true of Apple, the company he co-founded. Apple produces great products that delight customers. They do it consistently and that never changes. It’s as simple (and awesome) as that.
Consistency is what builds a great brand. Steve Jobs dress outfit was instantly recognisable and comforting. So are the quality, design and functionality of every single Apple product. To borrow from Apple’s famous “Think Different” mantra maybe the true secret to thinking differently is actually to ensure that some things (the important ones) – product quality, continuous innovation, a great service experience and even an old pair of Levi 501s – always stay the same…