We know Apple for it’s Macintosh computers (lovingly called ‘The Mac’), iPods, iTunes and iPhones.
Apple iPods stand out from the other brands in their respective categories because of their style - the lovely vibrant colors accompanied by a white wire connecting the earphones to the gadget - that has become a signature of the brand.
Just a little bit of history about Apple first. In the mid-80s, one of the co-founders of Apple, Steve Jobs, was asked to resign from the company as a result of an internal power struggle between him and the new CEO John Sculley. The board of directors of the company sided with Sculley & Jobs was asked to leave. After his departure in 1985, Apple’s stocks started plummeting, partly because Apple had two incompatible platforms that it was selling to different sections of consumers and partly also because IBM was making its presence felt stronger in the PC market. After twelve years, in 1997, Jobs was asked to join back the company as CEO, a position he serves in till the present.
Steve Jobs took a number of steps to get Apple back to the position it was at. Apart from strategic moves such as tying up with Microsoft software (rather than trying to compete with Microsoft), he also re-designed the Apple products and the company’s marketing, communications & branding strategy. Thus Apple came up with the transparent, brightly colored iMac computers, and more recently the pink, green, orange, yellow, red, blue iPods!
The re-designing of the products was not just to make the product stand out on shelves. It was more a result of understanding & segmenting the consumers. And indeed, today there are two types of consumers – there are the Apple consumers & the Dell-IBM kind of consumers.
So what does Apple stand for today? It stands for simplicity, user-friendliness, style, personalization & “coolness”. Apple isn’t about the latest technology in computers, phones & music players, and yet it has changed the way people listen to music or use their phones & PCs!
Apple is about people having fun, and their advertising campaign too is in line with this image. Take for example these print ads. Simple & fun!
Another very interesting concept Apple has adopted, that has borrowed right from the heart of Experiential Branding, is that of the Apple stores. They created these stores because the kind of brand experience they wanted customers to experience was not possible at third party retail outlets. The interiors of Apple stores are completely white, and they have something called the ‘Genius Bar’ where Apple “geniuses” help you repair your iPod/iPhone. The layout of the Genius Bar is like a bar – it has bar stools where the Apple “geniuses” sit with you while fixing your gadget & in case they can’t fix it on the spot, they call the Apple service center using red phones – an allusion to the Cold War between the United States & Soviet Union before the latter disintegrated, when red telephones were used for confidential, top level talks between the heads of the two countries.
So Apple has tried to create this “cool” image among its customers which, along with the revised product line, has done wonders for the company.