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iBranding – The Apple Way

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The value of the Apple brand has grown an amazing 859% since 2006. So, what is the secret to the success of the Apple brand and how can we apply that to our own business brands?

After four years of dominance as the world’s biggest brand, Google has finally been unseated by Apple. The value of the Apple brand has grown an amazing 859% since 2006 helped by the popularity of its iPod and iPhone products, which were released around that time.

So what is the secret to the success of the Apple brand and how can we apply it to our own business brands?

At a press conference last year Apple’s leader, Steve Jobs gave his five keys to Apple’s success:

  1. Engage your team – the healthiest ideas come from vigorous debate;
  2. Don’t take short cuts – it’s hard work that produces great products;
  3. Forget about trying to be ‘the best at everything’ – find your niche and stick to it;
  4. Love your customers;
  5. Focus on long term success instead of short term gains.

These are some great tips that you can easily apply to a business of any size. But the real challenge is how to take the message to market and build your brand.

Here’s five ways that Apple did it and how these very same strategies can be applied to your business branding.

1. Keep it simple and make it fun

It wasn’t that long ago that computers were boring – they looked plain, they were bulky and often needed a degree in rocket science to get past the welcome page. Apple changed all that from day one by challenging this perception and bringing to market products that were user friendly, colourful and even fashionable.

How easy it is for new customers to understand what your products and services are all about and, more importantly, the benefits they offer?

2. Brand consistency

Apple created and secured the ‘i’ brand, then went ahead and tagged all of its products – iMac, iBook, iPod, iPhone and iPad. Each product has it’s own sub-identity yet stays connected under the master ‘i’ branding – this creates very strong cross-sell among the products and encourages the buyer to own the entire product line.

Could your products or services be sub-branded and target marketed in their own right?

3. Creating demand, delivering value

By having initially a select distribution network of authorised resellers Apple was able to both create demand and manage pricing. Nowadays its products are available in more retailers as well as Apple’s own megastores, yet the pricing remains consistent across the board.

Value your products and services and don’t discount – instead add value by packaging up products or including free extras.

4. Limited choice

In business it is a common mistake to try and be everything to everyone instead of researching customer needs and then delivering a product that solves this.

Today’s consumers hate making choices – we all say that we want choice until we’re faced with a wall of plasma and LCD televisions that all look pretty much the same. Apple’s strategy has been to create a product for each market or function and make it easily available, from high-end Pro Macs for designers and professionals to the Mac Mini or iMac for first time users.

Do you have too many products, services or packages that instead of making it easy for customers to buy actually confuses them?

5. Get creative!

Your brand has to move with the times or you’ll get left behind. Take a look at Apple’s marketing – from slick newspaper ads with big pictures and limited wording to the clever Mac versus PC television commercials where people became the computers, like the one that had the PC guy in a biohazard suit to protect against the threat of new internet viruses. Like Apple did to the computer industry – maybe it is time for you to challenge your market.

Who said marketing the legal or medical industry couldn’t be a little fun and creative?

Tony Eades is the creative director of the BrandManager, a creative, marketing and communications agency based in Sydney and Perth. He is a business branding expert with more than 20 years experience in design, marketing, advertising and media production.
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