Last updated on 21st July 2022
There are some things that are so powerful that you can’t ignore them – even if you don’t fully understand them. Take the Apple phenomenon, for example.
We’ve all seen it: any Apple product launch is accompanied by a flurry of press coverage, with frenzied Apple fans queuing among hundreds of other fans to get their hands on the latest new product.
To the uninitiated, this can seem ludicrous. Waking up at 5am to stand in line and be the first to experience a new phone or tablet? At a price point multiple times that of competing products? How can this make sense?
Well, as a marketer, the Apple frenzy is something to admire. Because it doesn’t really make sense.
But still it happens.
If you’re talking brand loyalty, Apple have created the blueprint. Their army of loyal fans aren’t just Apple users – they’re Apple promoters. Many of them will buy multiple Apple products, no matter what the cost.
This year Apple was voted the UK’s coolest brand for the 9th consecutive year.
And it’s hard to think of another brand that has managed to achieve the same adoration and fan base that this brand has…
So how do they do it?
1. They know good usability
We carried out a quick office straw poll to find out why everyone loves Apple and the top reason is that “their devices just work”.
In terms of functionality, Apple knows how to create a product that’s really easy to use. Pick up an iPhone or log into an iMac and you can use it, without struggling to work out its features.
Apple is a company that is known to put ease-of-use as the main goal when designing a product. And as technology continues to advance, Apple still manages to create a product that works for absolutely anyone using it.
According to the developer library section on their website, the iOS focuses on three key aspects:
Whether you sell a physical product or a service, making things simple for your audience is a crucial part of getting people on side with your brand. Something that Apple stands light years ahead of it’s competitors on.
2. They keep it consistent
If there’s one thing that Apple is good at, it’s having a consistent brand. Of course they evolve, but the changes they make don’t disrupt the look and feel of their overall brand message.
You could be watching a TV advert and even before the branding has popped up, you’ll know that it’s Apple – and that’s the sign of a good brand.
This consistency runs throughout every channel they have. You can expect the same customer experience when you’re visiting their website as you do if you were visiting one of their stores.
Their clean modern look and feel can be seen across everything they do and this really helps people become familiar with them, no matter which channel you’re choosing to connect with them from.
3. They evolve
A company has to be evolving, otherwise it’ll get lost amongst its competitors. Even companies like Apple that stand out as leaders, will continuously evolve so that their audience can always expect something new, fresh and exciting from their latest product launch.
This is the reason that they stand as a leader, rather than a follower.
In fact, one of their Apple designers was quoted in saying: “Our goals are very simple — to design and make better products. If we can’t make something that is better, we won’t do it.”
If you want to be a leader in your space then you need to continuously evolve. And that doesn’t mean find out what your competitors are doing and copy them. Hire researchers and forward thinkers who will drive your company forward and develop new things that your customers are going to love.
What started as a computer company, is now famous for its phones, music, TV, and more recently, watch technology. Apple continues to evolve and you should too!
4. They make the consumer feel good about themselves
This is probably one of the biggest reasons why people love Apple. It’s because they make the consumer feel like they’re somehow a better person for having the product.
The story that they convey throughout their marketing is a powerful one. It oozes lifestyle, innovation, passion and style – and why wouldn’t you want to be part of that? It’s like an exclusive club (never mind that it has millions of members!)
So when you buy an Apple product, you’re sharing and representing those same ideals that this very brand stands for.
And it’s not one single thing that can be pin-pointed to this. You can see it in the powerful copy they use on their website, the stylish images in their adverts, and the sleek design of their products. It’s all about telling a powerful story that will make your audience want to be a part of everything you do.
5. They make their own decisions
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses” – Henry Ford.
In the world of marketing this may be a tad controversial, but Apple doesn’t rely on market research, focus groups or personas to create their products.
Instead, they listen to the people that they hire. Their designers and engineers work on the notion that they need to create a product that they would want themselves. This is a mantra that Steve Jobs instilled within the company, that the product has to be something that the employees personally couldn’t live without, otherwise it’s not good enough.
It’s not to say you should completely ignore your audience, that would be foolish. But you are the experts in your field, so use that expertise to create something new that will your audience will love.
6. They take their time
When it comes to designing the hardware, Apple is known for its slow approach. But in business terms, this again is not something we see very often.
Many companies will rush things out before they’ve had time to fully develop them, whereas Apple is known for spending years trying to perfect their products to make sure that they hit the mark. Jobs is cited in saying that they were developing the iPad well before the iPhone came out.
Many models were scrapped and deemed not good enough for release, which just goes to show the time that was spent making sure it was perfect for release.
The takeaway here is that if you want to produce a high-quality product for your audience, then you need to spend the time doing so.
The tricky part about answering the question of why people love so much, is that – really – there isn’t just one answer.
It’s a mixture of things.
There’s brilliant basics from a product point-of-view: a commitment to creating products that are quality, durable, built-to-last, fun, inspiring and easy-to-use.
And that’s all wrapped up in this potent lifestyle brand. A sense of identity and exclusivity that somehow persists even as Apple’s market share continues to grow. In many ways you don’t use an Apple product – you become an Apple person.
And the bit of gold dust that threads these things together is consistency. Consistent presentation of their brand across all channels, all content. Consistent tone-of-voice. Powerful and instantly recognisable packaging.
Bundled together they create a powerful set of values that keep people truly hooked.
And, crucially, this isn’t something that’s purely the reserve of Apple. There are other brands, too, which – through a similar approach to brand consistency and product innovation, have become what you might call ‘identity brands.’ LEGO, Converse, IKEA, Starbucks, McDonalds.
In the book Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands, Kevin Roberts – CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi – coined the term of a ‘lovemark.’ This concept was intended to actually replace the notion of a ‘brand,’ and is defined as a company with an intense emotional connection to its audience.
The model he suggests for defining this relationship comes through what he calls the Love/Respect Axis. A ‘lovemark’ is a company that is both loved AND respected by its users. Perhaps the biggest compliment you could pay to Apple? It’s hard to think of a better example!