Tag Archives: Apple

Is Liam Really #TechForGood, or #MarketingForApple?

29 arms of recycling innovation robot beautifully presented (of course) and they call it Liam? Only in the world of Apple.

Whilst hastily allowing myself to lose all focus on the writing I should have been doing today I jumped at the chance to join @TomRaftery as guest co-host for his #TechForGood Google Hangout tomorrow. As I explored previous shows to get a feel for my responsibilities I stumbled back across the ‘Liam’ element of Apple’s recent keynote.

The last few weeks have been something of a blur with many new discussions and projects appearing like the Rebel Alliance out of hyperdrive, but all with an eerily connected technology flavour. The Apple announcement was momentarily noted for their strong focus on responsibility at their key communications event of their calendar, before being usurped by the usual social media avalanche.

I’ve been a long standing frustrated critic of Apple, more from a wasted potential perspective than their actual social or environmental accomplishments, which have been markedly improving over recent years. Tim Cook has many achievements to take credit for, as it can’t have been an easy task to push sustainability up the priority list of the culture moulded by Steve Jobs.

Whilst on the day Lisa Jackson (SVP of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives) was conspicuously front and centre, and the privacy debate raging with the FBI obviously adding its influence, Liam felt like the physical hook of attention for a more confident responsibility ethos away from the usual line-up of product launches.

Yes, I know there are only so many ways you can innovate with a phone, and this could be Apple running out of innovative product steam, but the eternal optimist in me is seeing Apple want to be seen as more than just a purveyor of beautiful ‘stuff’. That beauty could be creeping into their approach to their wider responsibilities.

Liam is an allegedly, as I’ve not seen many at all, 29 arm robot that can in a mere 11 seconds recycle a notoriously difficult product into component parts like never seen before. I’ve dreamed of Apple applying its design mastery for a stronger purpose than just music and communications. Was this it?

Maybe. Maybe not. After all there is only one Liam, I believe, and at full speed, could disassemble 1.2 million iPhones per year. Actually, only potentially 1.2 million iPhone 6s units until they teach it about the rest of their product back catalogue. That total would be in the billions. Last year alone Apple sold 230 million phones.

Innovative? Absolutely. Open source and shareable by the whole industry to reduce e-waste? Probably not going to happen (but hoping). Expensive? Absolutely and certainly prohibitively so. Chances of Apple opening recycling depots full of Liams? Slim. Marketing gimmick or potential for true impact? Actions speak louder than YouTube videos, so we shall see.

With over 1 billion smartphone products alone sold every year. A few weeks after the launch Liam now feels more like a lonely Disney Wall-E type character, desperate for a real purpose, a few friends and more trees, but I continue to hope.

Join me and Tom tomorrow at 4.00pm UK to explore this week’s #TechForGood news.

 

 

Apple’s Best Advert Yet?

Yes, this is just an employee engagement video, but it’s also an Apple employee engagement video.

I wonder how many customers (and more importantly potential customers) felt that little bit more emotionally connected to a brand that has historically pretty much kept its head below the social and environmental parapet.

“Inclusion inspires innovation”

It is also further evidence of a company becoming being increasingly comfortable being seen in the CSR space. By adding a deeper values element to their brand Apple are on a dangerous trajectory of becoming a truly inspirational operation. It looks like Tim Cook is truly getting his feet under the big table.

That’s two responsibility videos in three months now! Cautious optimism grows.

Oh, and there’s a great soundtrack too.

 

Did Apple Hear Me?

 

Hi folks. It’s been a while. Life got busy without asking first.

More posts and more updates to come soon, and I was trying to get the foundations of the change done before posting again, but I just couldn’t resist, and here’s why, something important is getting ‘Better’…

 

 

For those new to these parts, I’ve had a love hate relationship with Apple as long as I’ve been involved in the world of CSR. Beautiful design and killer marketing has constantly torn at my belief that Apple was one of the most guilty by avoidance in the wider responsible business agenda. I’ve written a few times and one of the most recent (before the barren spell) was just after Tim Cook took the CEO mantle and offered hope to those who desperately dreamed for a new all-star athlete in the CSR team.

Back in February 2012 with ‘Apple’s Ethical Watershed‘ I dared to suggest that Tim Cook would provide an optimistic leadership style borne out of his supply chain background and obviously different personality to his predecessor Steve Jobs, and it’s looking I could have been right.

I’d like to think that maybe, just maybe, this video is further evidence of internal changes of ethos and the continuation of previous signs of a greener leadership and a new brand positioning campaign. iCSR could be on the way!

The fact that Apple is actively talking green could be the start of something big, very big.

 

What Do Premier League Football And Apple Have In Common?

New report says UK football CSR is maturing but needs to train harder and play as a team.

The defences are well and truly warmed up at Cupertino at the moment ahead of the iPhone 5 launch event next week but Daniel Agger isn’t part of the team.

Both brands have an almost religious like appeal to their audiences. Huge queues for product, tattoos and media saturation are just a couple of examples of the more obvious cultural similarities.

Both brands also have long journeys ahead of them on the CSR road and neither showing signs of ticking the leadership box any time soon.

I’ve just finished reading “It’s Not Just A Game: Community Work In The UK Football Industry And Approaches To Corporate Social Responsibility” by Heledd Jenkins and Laura James from the ESRC Centre at BRASS.

If you are into football, sport and all things CSR / sustainability go and take a read. It’s a comprehensive, intelligent and open report that provides a useful stick in the ground for the current state of social responsibility in UK football.

In short, all the clubs deliver effective community work locally with some reaching further afield across international boundaries, many through independent Community Trust models, but fall short on embedded strategic approaches, innovation, leadership and transparency. Continue reading

Apple’s Ethical Watershed?

A window of opportunity and an open letter to CEO Tim Cook.

Is it me or is the current focus on Apple’s supply chain a different tune than we’ve heard before?

For years now many from responsible business community have rumbled in frustration at Apple’s lack of commitment and often blatant avoidance of sustainability issues.  Most of these professionals have ironically also either converted to Apple Macbooks / iPhones / iPad or continued their use throughout the regular ethical issues arising. I go to a few industry conferences and they’re often more like a Halloween orchard with the amount of glowing Apple logos on show.

Let’s be honest Apple products look damn good, mostly do the job you’d expect and you can’t argue with the almost religion-like power of the brand they’ve created under the stewardship of the recently departed Steve Jobs. For full disclosure I was once an Apple fan, during my days producing copious amounts writing, media materials and marketing documents at Everton FC, before I knew better about the details of the business operation and products themselves.  I adored their fanatical ethos about providing the most simple, usable interface which is pure beauty at times, especially compared to Windows Vista and earlier incarnations. I had the usual file format sharing problems but that was nearly ten years ago and much has changed.

I am beginning to sense the sustainability sharks circling. Continue reading

An Apple a Day

iphone 3GSOver the past couple of months I’ve attended a fair few CSR related events which are great for garnering the latest best practice or meeting interesting people.

One particular unspoken theme keeps quietly nagging at me. We are constantly preaching to the converted, albeit a painfully slowly growing audience.

How do we as a collection of practitioners, champions, academics, business leaders and consumers take the next and toughest step to begin to win over more naysayers who unfortunately occupy the majority?

We (those who know) are more than aware of the tangibly empowering benefits of having the wider vision that CSR / sustainability lenses give and have increasingly credible data to back up our position, but I still feel we’re still desperately clawing to get to any genuine tipping point. The explosion in social media is helping our cause by exponentially generating the sharing of information but something tells me we need something else.

Is CSR the management equivalent of fruit and vegetables in our diets? Everybody knows how nutritious oranges, pears, cucumbers, carrots etc are for us but how many really eat enough of what we should? If we had the marketing creativity of a global agency and the resources to push our humble fuuit & veg in the same way they do for say Nike trainers, Apple for iPhones or Coca-Cola would we eat more healthily? Does the responsibility / ethics agenda need a innovative and sustained marketing campaign?

We need somebody new to shake up the language and attitude to enthuse a new audience.

Imagine a world where Apple branched out into management consultancy…

Who would you want to market a new and improved CSR?