My iPhone 5 is in pretty rough shape.

The glass screen protector is chipped, cracked and has air bubbles. Underneath, the screen is cracked in 3 places--only held together by my screen protector, which really looks like it has a case of dreaded outer-space Measles.

Our president, Barrett, texted me earlier: "Partner, let's upgrade you to the iPhone 7!" I texted back, "Thanks, lovin' size and shape of 5--not sure I'm lovin' this headphone issue."

AT&T was on the ball too--an email just popped into my inbox exclaiming: "Congratulations! You're eligible for an upgrade to the iPhone 7!"

No thank you AT&T--I'll give up my iPhone 5 when you pry it from my cold, dead hands. (I'm partial to the flat edges, which allow me to actually balance the phone on its side.)

My grandpa used to say "never stop at no," and I'm a revenue generation guy. I eat, drink, and sleep persuasion, marketing and sales 24/7.

I'm constantly researching what it takes to get people to say "yes," so naturally, I asked myself, what would it take to get me to say yes, in this case to making the decision to upgrade.

I looped in Amber and Tasha from our marketing team: "Hey, what's Apple doing to promote their launch of the iPhone 7?"

As we worked to review the launch, though, we realized that Apple was actually doing a great job of PR and product presentation. Here's what we learned--and what you can learn--from the iPhone 7 launch:

1. Rumors are much more fun than facts

Ever notice that it's always a "rumor" that gets the new iPhone release hype train rolling?

Some leak from an unknown source "happens" to have the scoop. Or an Apple team member "accidentally" leaves their beta version in a bar. Hey Apple Security team, ever heard of an app called Find My iPhone?

Oh, wait, maybe you didn't want the phone to be recovered but instead left in the hands of a tech reporter. Oops--free publicity.

2. Involve notable companies and people to build credibility

Apparently, you don't need to work at Apple to launch Apple products.

Sia performed her new hit at the launch. Famed Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto announced a Mario game. Instagram's head of design touted the radical new camera features.

The press event was held in the Bill Graham Auditorium, named after the trend-setting, boundary-pushing music promoter--at this point it should probably be renamed "Apple Auditorium."

3. Highlight benefits and downplay what's missing

By now, you've surely heard a lot about the "longest battery life ever" and the "courage" it took to go cordless and yank the headphone jack.

But here's what you didn't hear a lot of (Apple fans, plug your ears):

  • Competitors' batteries last longer--some phones now charge in just a few minutes, even wirelessly.
  • Wireless headphones are nothing new.
  • Neither is a double camera (or the depth-of-field feature, which was featured on an HTC phone two years ago).

I'm sure Apple wants to make sure these are things that many future iPhone 7 owners will likely never, ever know about.

4. Musicians always get the guys

As I already mentioned, Sia made an appearance. But music has always been a major part of Apple's approach to marketing--it's "part of their DNA"--making a huge impact on growth and revenue over the years.

The iPod is credited with creating significant traction in the market back in the early 00s, and reaffirming those creative roots is a smart move.

5. Have spin doctors on hand

It's always a good idea to have a cleanup crew on hand when new products launch.

Apple accidentally leaked some product announcements on Twitter during the event, but had the wherewithal to delete them before anything bad happened (unless, of course, you consider no headphone jack a bad thing).

So what can we learn from all this? Apple nailed their brand image, and because of it, the launch felt like the birth of something new and special.

Despite negative rumors about features, they did a great job of selling the phone's impressive tech.

On the flipside, calling their headphone move "courageous" seemed, I don't know... desperate? Shouldn't courage speak for itself?

The crystal purity that the brand once enjoyed is seeming to crack slightly about the edges--much like the battered screen of my iPhone 5, which, all things considered, I'm keeping.

Sorry, Tim.

Tim Cook - Empty Seats

Published on: Sep 14, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.