Steve Jobs and Katie Cotton, Apple: Power List 2010

Despite its reticence to act "normally" - or perhaps due to it - Apple's products attract credibility, mystique, and reputation beyond any PR strategy.

It is certainly tough to assess the communications strategy of a company whose official policy resembles the ancient Sicilian code of omerta. Despite its reticence to act "normally" – or perhaps due to it – Apple's products attract credibility, mystique, and reputation beyond any PR strategy. The hype around April's iPad launch again proved Apple can tap into the public zeitgeist at will, just as it did with the iPhone, iTunes, iPod, and Mac. Apple's all-powerful cofounder and CEO Steve Jobs effectively bestrides the CMO and CCO roles. But at his side for more than a decade has been the power behind the power: VP of worldwide corporate communications Katie Cotton – hence PRWeek's first joint Power List commendation. In her tenure, PR firms from the ill-fated Niehaus Ryan Wong to Bite to Edelman have come and gone, ultimately relegated to organizing impromptu press conferences for unspecified products. Communications is now handled in-house – it's all about control. The strategy annoys competitors and industry observers alike – but it works. And Jobs and Cotton show no sign of letting up. Jobs may be Apple's communications, but Cotton is with him at every turn.

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