Doing Business the Apple Way

The whole world holds its breath while Apple holds an event to unveil its new iPad or iPhone. Worshippers worldwide check their Twitter news feed to see how Apple chose to frame the product. That’s right, they read major media headlines to learn how Apple wanted to explain its product. Apple executives spend a lot of time crafting the story behind every product. A story must have a headline, a one-sentence description that clearly and concisely frames the narrative. If it’s well crafted, the one sentence summary— some call it a “Twitter-friendly headline”—will be picked up and persistently repeated thousands of times on social media platforms, blogs, and newspapers. It doesn’t usually take long to came across Apple’s headline. According to Phil Schiller, Apple’s vice president of worldwide marketing, the iPad Air 2 was “The world’s thinnest tablet.” Within minutes the phrase was all over Twitter. How is it possible that hundreds of blogs and media posts begin with the same headline? It’s all due to a remarkably effective communication technique that persuasive speakers use to frame an idea, product, or company.

Step one.

Explain your idea, product, service, company, or initiative in one sentence. Bring it down to no more than 140 characters so people can put it up on Twitter. If it doesn’t boil down to one sentence, you’re making it too complicated. Go back to the whiteboard and
keep working on it. It might take hours with a group of executives to come up with one sentence that best describes an extraordinarily complex product. Simplicity takes work!

Step Two.

Once you are comfortable with the headline, make sure everyone on the team reinforces the headline when they talk about the topic in every presentation, e-mail, and marketing material. It must be repeated consistently. Watch a video of Apple CEO Tim Cook describing the Apple Watch. On stage and in interviews, Cook used the same headline: “The Apple Watch is the most personal device we’ve ever created.” The slogan caught on and hundreds of headlines across the world used the very same sentence.

Step Three.

To make sure the headline comes across as clear and is repeated by your audience, try this simple rhetorical trick. Set up your headline with a variation of this phrase: “The most important thing to know is…” Whatever comes next is what people will write down, remember, and share. It works like magic. If you want to make doubly sure your headline sinks in, put together a slide that only shows the headline along with a
photo of the product.

The “Twitter friendly headline” is one of the most effective communication techniques you’ll ever use. It was introduced to hundreds of leaders, many of whom have extraordinarily complex products to explain, and it’s rarely failed. It works because it’s consistent with what neuroscientists know about how the brain processes information. The brain wants to see the big picture—the big idea—before the details. Give your audience the big idea in a short headline and you’ll grab their attention. Give it a try. If it works for Apple, it might work for you.

Adapted from www.forbes.com


Exercise 1
Find the words or expressions in the text which mean the following:

1) all over the world: __________
2) incoming information: __________
3) in a short way: __________
4) in a way that deserves attention: __________
5) to make sth stronger: __________
6) non-stop: __________
7) in an unusual way: __________
8) people who came to watch sth, e.g. a concert: __________
9) to present a product: ___________
10)a person who has a high position at a company: __________
11)a story: __________
12)a newspaper title that attracts readers’ attention: __________


Exercise 2
Match the expressions from the two columns into logical collocations:

1) to hold                           to the whiteboard
2) to craft a story             an event
3) social                             the big picture
4) a persuasive                media
5) to go back                    friendly headline
6) a rhetorical                 behind sth
7) to see                            speaker
8) to grab                         sb’s attention
9) major                           trick
10)a Twitter-                   media platforms


Exercise 3
Provide English equivalents of these expressions:

1) zaprezentować coś
2) być zgodnym z czymś
3) przetwarzać coś
4) spróbować czegoś
5) dobrze skonstruowany
6) skomplikowany
7) publiczność
8) w przeciągu
9) uporczywie
10)nadzwyczaj skuteczny


Grammar corner…

By now you’ve probably heard about phrasal verbs and about there being very few ways in which to learn them except for by heart. Here are 10 that appeared in the text, along with explanations. Make sure you remember them. To come across as (to make the impression of …), to pick sth up (to start using it, to lift it), to set sth up (to start sth, to create sth), to bring sth down to (to reduce it to), to put sth up on FB
(to publish sth on FB), sth boils down to (it can be explained simply by sth), to come up with sth (to create sth), to catch on (to become popular), to sink in (when information sinks in, it finally gets to you and you remember it), to put sth together (to construct sth, to build sth).


Exercise 4

Fill in the sentences with ONE word.

1) I presented my idea during the meeting, but it wasn’t picked ______________.
2) We put ______________ a clever plan to outsmart our competitors.
3) It took me a couple of hours for the news of our bankruptcy to sink______________.
4) If you can bring the number of staff ______________ to 100, we may still be profitable.
5) It’s quite simple actually, it all boils ______________ to user friendliness and functionality. That’s our recipe for success.
6) The trend caught ______________ and now everyone has this gadget.
7) He comes ______________ as a nice guy, but in fact he’s very rude.
8) Whoever came ______________ with this idea should get a Nobel Prize.
9) It took us a couple of hours to set ______________ this device, but it works perfectly now.
10)Keeping your privacy is getting harder and harder. People can take a picture of you and put it ______________ on social media within seconds.


worldwide – na skalę światową
news feed – najświeższe wiadomości
concisely – zwięźle
remarkably – nadzwyczaj
to reinforce sth – wzmocnić coś
consistently – konsekwentnie
extraordinarily – nadzwyczajnie
an audience – publiczność
to frame a product – zaprezentować produkt
an executive – osoba na wysokim staniwosku w firmie
a narrative – narracja
a headline – nagłówek
to hold an event – zorganizować imprezę
to craft a story behind sth – „dorobić” historię do czegoś
persuasive – przekonujący
to go back to the whiteboard – cofnąć się do początku
a rhetorical trick – sztuczka retoryczna
to see the big picture – widzieć ogół, mieć ogląd na całość
to grab sb’s attention – przyciągnąć czyjąś uwagę
to unveil sth – zaprezentować coś
to give sth a try – spróbować czegoś
well-crafted – dobrze skonstruowany
within – w przeciągu
persistently – uporczywie
worshippers – wierni


download lesson (pdf)


Ex. 1
1) worldwide
2) news feed
3) concisely
4) remarkably
5) to reinforce sth
6) consistently
7) extraordinarily
8) an audience
9) to frame the product
10)an executive
11)a narrative
12)a headline
Ex. 2
1) to hold and event
2) to graft a story behind sth
3) social media platforms
4) a persuasive speaker
5) to go back to the whiteboard
6) a rhetorical trick
7) to see the big picture
8) to grab sb’s attention
9) major media
10)a Twitter-friendly headline
Centrum Języków Obcych Archibald poziom B1/B2
Ex. 3
1) to unveil sth
2) to be consistent with sth
3) to process sth
4) to give sth a try
5) well-crafted
6) complex
7) an audience
8) within
9) persistently
10)remarkably efficient
12) worshippers
Ex. 4
1) up
2) together
3) in
4) down
5) down
6) on
7) across
8) up
9) up