Front Page Execs: Tim Cook’s Twitter Title

This month, influential executive Tim Cook, Apple CEO, made headlines once again when he briefly changed his name on his Twitter account. This is what it looked like:

In this edition of Front Page Execs, we’ll take a look at the events leading up to the “Tim Apple” name change, as well as the ingenuity behind the move for this executive’s social media presence.

On March 6, 2019, President Donald Trump mistakenly referred to Tim Cook as “Tim Apple” during a meeting of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board at the White House. Social media, of course, latched onto this accident, and “Tim Apple” began to trend on Twitter. Less than twenty-four hours later, Tim Cook rode that trending wave to the top when he changed his name to Tim Apple on the platform.

Twitter users loved it. By capitalizing on the trend at the right moment and on the right social media platform, Cook guaranteed that his name change would be noticed and widely discussed. He poked fun at the president’s mistake in perhaps the least offensive way possible, showed the world that he was in on the joke, and even displayed his brand logo in a way that did not feel overly promotional. For Cook, it was the perfect reaction.

Although this social media strategy may not work for every executive, it happens to fit with Cook’s social presence like a glove. Although Cook puts out quite a bit of promotional content on his personal profile to supplement his brand, he generally maintains a good balance of inspirational and fun tones. He leverages emojis and a Martin Luther King Jr. quote in his bio, and his profile picture is of himself laughing.

In fact, after the success of dominating headlines with the tongue-in-cheek name change, it seems like Cook and his team wanted to further capitalize on the humorous aspect of Cook’s Twitter while it was still fresh in everyone’s minds. On March 18th, Cook tweeted this image of himself writing “hello” on an iPad:

With the uncluttered background and the plain white iPad screen taking up a large portion of the image, it seemed like the image was asking to be made into a meme template, and the internet delivered. Creative users used their imagination to portray Tim Cook drawing or writing pretty much anything they wanted on the screen. For instance:

And, finally, Cook himself brought the meme full circle by sharing his own photoshopped version:

Twice in one month now, Cook managed to make headlines by taking a fun, lighthearted social media approach, further strengthening his and his brand’s public image. He accomplished this while still subtly promoting his business, whether using his brand icon or featuring a new product. On top of it all, he also maintained consistency with the characteristic Apple minimalist aesthetic. This month, Cook—or should we say, Apple—showcased what it truly means to be an influential executive.