As iPhone 6 pre-orders are currently breaking all prior iPhone sales records, Samsung commercials are bemoaning the fact that ‘we had big phones first’. Demand for new iPhones is so high that many customers will have to wait until mid-October to get theirs.
But here’s the thing: People will wait. Apple has the most powerful brand in all of technology, and certainly one of the strongest brands across all consumer products as well. As marketers, the obvious question is: why?
The answer is that Apple has acheived the Branding Trifecta. First, the products have always been incredibly easy to use. (Remember that for decades the Apple OS was the no-brainer alternative to a messy Windows operating system. That’s the brand’s legacy.) Second, Apple gets that product design should be simple & beautiful. They incorporate this esthetic into everything they make. Third, they build the brand with brilliant marketing & advertising.
From the early days, Apple understood that the way to build real allegiance was to make the customer feel smart about choosing Apple design and technology. ‘Think Different’ told the Apple user that he or she was intelligent (and brave) enough to stand apart from the crowd. This type of messaging is a rare occurrence in advertising – typically brands want to convince you how great the product features are. Or, in the case of the current Samsung commercials, they simply want to try and put down Apple.
The Branding Trifecta has been incredibly successful for Apple. And while the advertising of recent years hasn’t been nearly as powerful as it was in 1984, the brand is so firmly established, it almost doesn’t matter.
How does your brand measure up against the Apple yardstick? Is your product easier to use than competitive versions? Is it beautifully designed and packaged? Is your marketing brave and intrusive? Does it make your customer feel smarter for choosing your brand?
These criteria aren’t easy to achieve. And even though they’ve made many mistakes over the years, that’s also why Apple stands alone in the mind of the consumer.