Apple has one of the best and most admired success stories of all time. After the return of original founder Steve Jobs, it rose to fame and started to produce some of the most sought-after products for consumers of electronics. Now, it’s probable that most of your classmates own an Apple product. There were many factors that led to the success of Apple, and created the brand image that is so widely loved today.
The Cult Following
Similar to communist leaders, Apple also has its own cult of personality. We see loyal customers who not only require the latest Apple product, but also find it essential to splurge on multiple Apple products. Apple takes advantage of this by releasing a new product every year, oftentimes only adding a slight improvement from the previous model. The group of Apple lovers has grown considerably larger, with many fan-groups and specialty magazines popping up everyday.
The Coolness Factor
Consumers buy Apple products because they are “cool and hip!” Pop culture in today’s society has caused consumers to believe that Apple products are a necessity in order to be “in” and fashionable. TV shows have characters with iPhones and other Apple products, while the word “iPod” is used interchangeably with “MP3 player”. The current trend of “I need to get an Apple product because everyone else I know has one” benefits both the company and the consumers. This marketing strategy, often known as the “bandwagon” effect, where everyone wants to be part of the group that is the latest thing, probably contributes the most to the success of Apple.
The simplicity of Apple contributes to an appealing vibe for consumers. The emphasis placed on the appearance of Apple products was a first for the technology world during that time, and it was this winning combination of aesthetics and functionality that allowed Apple to appeal to and eventually dominate the market. Consumers were attracted to the “simple but elegant” elements created by Apple. Moreover, Apple products were probably more user friendly, further influencing consumers. The simplicity was replicated in Apple advertising campaigns, such as in the silhouette dancing while listening to an iPod, and successfully generated publicity for Apple. The effect of simplicity helped contribute to the amount of loyal customers, and the “coolness” of Apple products.
Opposed to Change
Although it might seem like Apple is constantly modifying and changing their products, in reality, Apple products have not changed much in the past few years. Consumers in general do not like change, often preferring to stay within their comfort zone. Because of the integrated and intuitive nature of Apple, consumers often find that once they learn how to use one Apple product, they can easily transition to using other Apple products. Old customers continue to desire Apple products because Apple has not alienated or at least distanced their fan base, but instead provided cushions in the form of very similar products. The Mac is essentially the iPad, with a desktop, sidebar and additional functions. The iPad is in fact a bigger version of the iPod Touch. The iPhone is really an iPod Touch that can make phone calls. And the iPod is actually a compressed version of iTunes with some extra functions. It is evident that this integration and lack of variety produces a very loyal customer base.
These factors have added up to create the great success of Apple, and cause the downward spiral of competitive products, such as Microsoft’s Zune, and the classic, indestructible Nokia phones. However, many speculate that Apple has already reached its peak and will soon embark on its own decline, especially with the passing of former CEO Steve Jobs. Maybe it’s time for other companies, such as HTC, to improve on Apple’s success formula, and seize the opportunity to share the spotlight with Apple.
Photo by Ed Yourdon via Flickr