Finally, after all the years of guessing and head scratching, somebody has revealed what makes Apple tick. The secret formula, it turns out, is that gooey feeling you get when you see your significant other, or a really nice coat. Ken Segall, a former creative director at Apple who worked closely with Steve Jobs for 12 years, said on Tuesday that the key to getting customers to stick with the company was love.

“Steve was very very adamant about this,” Segall said at The Europas conference in London. “Our job is to get people to love Apple.”

Segall explained that the emotional bond was aimed at getting people to advertise the company through word-of-mouth. “If people had this emotional connection with Apple, they would stick with the company when bad things happened,” he said. “They’d keep buying us, which is important, and they’d evangelise to their friends, family and colleagues.”

This was best demonstrated when, in 2010, Apple had a public relations nightmare on its hands. The iPhone 4 was found to lose signal when held a certain way, sparking a controversy known in the press as “antennagate.” Jobs sought to quell fears over bad design by giving a press conference that, essentially, reminded customers about that feeling of love.

“When he would introduce any product, he would have a basic message in mind to communicate, and he would proceed to beat it to death over the course of the presentation,” Segall said. “Creating the love was the essence of what Steve wanted from his customer relationship.”