How a shiny little fruit is ruling our (technological) world – or not?!
13th June 2016 – same procedure as every year: thousands of apple-maniacs hunger for the latest news of Apple Inc. (Apple) that are going to be released at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Which updates are going to be next, are there improvements for the Mac, iPhone, Watch & Co. and – most importantly – are there going to be new devices?
Disappointment instead of hysteria. Software instead of hardware. Odds and ends instead of real innovations. Subsequently, the conference was all about a firework of new features but lacks real innovations in terms of its hardware and new products.
Click here to read all about the 13 biggest announcements from the Apple WWDC 2016.
What does that mean for the brand Apple? Is it really heading south or is Apple even outdated (Heisler 2016)? A dedication to a heavy hitter that might has passed its peak.
The importance of branding
First of all, we should be clear about the importance of branding. But what exactly is a brand? Why do companies and customers need brands?
A brand can be a specific name, term, symbol, colour, design or a combination of them that created to identify the company’s products and differentiate them from those of competitors. Branding contains advantages for both sides:
Benefits for CUSTOMERS
Benefits for COMPANIES
|– convey information
– are an indicator for quality and status
– reduce customer risk
– simplify buying decisions
|– evoke and enhance customer loyalty
– allow charging higher prices
– assist in the company’s segmentation, targeting, positioning and partner’s support
(Iacobucci 2013, p. 78)
That makes it important for a company to link its brand name with an assurance of reliable quality. According to that, the value of a brand is formed by the customer’s perception of the brand (Badenhausen 2016): happy customers equal successful and valuable brand.
As part of their marketing strategy, companies have to deal with a lot of branding questions in order to come up with the perfectly suited branding architecture. In that context, they have to decide whether they pick the house of brands or a branded house (also referred to as umbrella brands) as their favourite choice.
Whereas the house of brands focuses on branding of multiple sub-brands for every new product line, the branded house includes the actual company as the brand and all products/services within that company are attached to the same brand name (Iacobucci 2013, p. 82).
The brand Apple
Who does not know the little apple with the bite in it?
Apple Inc. was incorporated on the 3rd January 1977 with its focus on designing, manufacturing and marketing mobile communication and media devices, personal computers and portable digital music players and selling a variety of related software and services (Reuters n.d.). Primarily concentrated on desktop computers for the first years, the company launched its first laptops in the 1990s followed by the iPod in 2001, the iPhone in 2007, the iPad in 2010 and Apple Pay and Apple Watch in 2014 as the latest product area (Marketing Minds n.d.).
Despite a drop in sales, Apple is still the most valuable brand in the world for the sixth time in a row according to the latest Forbes ranking: the annually study shows that Apple is still playing in his own league with a value of $154.1 billion which is 87% more than second-ranked Google (Badenhausen 2016). Have a further look at the full list of the world’s most valuable brands.
According to marketer Marc Gobe, who is the author of Emotional Branding, the success of the company has nothing to do with its products – it’s all about the branding (as cited in Kahney 2012). Over the years, Apple perfected its procedure of creating a cult-like relationship with its customers that unites all of them as one community and gives the impression of “You’re part of the brand” (Kahney 2012). The little apple is surrounded by a fascination that is hard to resist and even though revenues fell in the latest quarter, the release of the next iPhone 7 will certainly have fans of the brand lining up for hours outside stores (Badenhausen 2016).
Apart from that, Apple is an excellent example for the branded house strategy: even though all product lines (iPod, iPhone, Mac etc.) have different names, they are all related to the name Apple and have to meet the existing branding strategies and standards (Armando 2016).
By the way – did you know, that the logo was invented during one of Steve Job’s fruitarian diets (Kahney 2011)?
So what’s the matter, Apple? Where is the freshness, where are your innovations? Some analysts demand to get rid of the top management in order to clear the way for a new visionary who is able to continue the legacy of the glorious Steve Jobs (Tech2 2016). Especially due to the regularly trending battles over patents with Samsung (read all about check the the latest defeat of Apple), it is very important for Apple not to lose track and keep its customers happy. But that also happens to mean launching new innovations.
However, we surely don’t have to worry about our beloved fruity devices any time soon. But yet, watch out Apple: keep up the good work and get back on track!
posted by Ronja Naudorf (rnaudorf -215466308)
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