The Apple Brand Phenomenon
Whether you like Apple products or you’re anti-Apple, catching the latest reveal of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch was unavoidable. It’s been front and center of almost every media outlet at one point or another. And if you’re paying even closer attention to Android vs. Apple news, you may have even seen some counterpoint articles like this Phandroid post (“Apple is 3 Years Late to the Android Party, But Does It Matter?”).
To answer the Phandroid article’s question—no. The new Apple products will likely be a huge success, regardless of whether the technology is innovative or does anything better than older Android devices. It doesn’t matter that the reaction to Apple’s launch has been all over the map or that the new phone’s price tag is a whopping $649-$849. The truth is that these new Apple products are predicted to smash all sales records. That’s the power of a brand.
Apple did something right from the start—it had the right leader, knew who it wanted to be, and engaged in marketing and advertising efforts that helped them gain a dedicated following.
First, Apple had the perfect face to go with its name. Steve Jobs was “the man.” He LOVED Apple and he made everyone else love it, too. He was passionate and confident about Apple technology, design and innovation, and that created an emotional connection with people.
Second, Apple’s early products lived up to the hype and didn’t promise more than they could deliver, establishing trust for the brand. Yes, sometimes innovation was key, but mostly Apple focused on functionality and design. For example, when the iPod came out, MP3 players were already in production, for sure. The iPod wasn’t advertised and marketed as the most innovative way to listen to music, but rather the coolest—focusing on design and producing ads that resonated mostly with avid music listeners, not technologists.
Third, Apple was able to build a strong community of loyal followers. Apple marketed itself well, appealing to peoples’ emotions. They were transparent, blogging, taking to social media and communicating with consumers. People felt and still feel comfortable and loyal to Apple.
Despite the fact it was written in 2011, this excerpt from a Forbes article helps hit the nail on the head when it comes to the Apple brand:
“Apple’s mission statement doesn’t really talk about what it does; it talks about what it believes in. It reads: ‘Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.’”
So, not only can we expect Apple’s loyal following to purchase the new products, but interestingly, some people like Timothy Stenovec of The Huffington Post think “The New iPhone May Finally Persuade Die-Hard Android Users to Quit.” Check out this excerpt:
“Android owners also aren’t as loyal to Android products as Apple customers are to Apple’s products: According to a survey from 451 Research/Yankee Group, before the bigger screens were announced, 16 percent of Android users in the U.S. said they intended to switch to Apple. (Only 5 percent of Apple customers said they intend to switch to Android.)
Last time Apple increased the screen size of its phone — in 2012, with the iPhone 5 — 24 percent of the people who bought it in the first quarter of the following year were Android owners, according to survey data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP), a Chicago-based market research firm.”
So, if you can believe everything you read (I’d recommend reading from many sources before getting sucked into public opinion J), it looks like the power of a brand like Apple isn’t quite as much a phenomenon as it is the outcome of a brilliant and strategic marketing plan. And, if you take the time to really think about what you want your company’s identity to be and execute on the right message, you just might be able to follow in Apple’s shoes.