Apple: The Brand that became a Religion
As brands go, Apple is that rare breed that goes beyond. Apple makes… no, let me rephrase that… Apple creates consumer products that people don’t just want, but desire with a fervor bordering on religious. Consumers who purchase Apple products simply feel that they can’t live without a particular Apple product – they need their Apple “fix.”
The latest problem they’re having with their new IPhones is meaningless. Why? Because facing this type of consumer desire, Apple can do no wrong. Apple, so far, has devised the ultimate brand. And they’ve arrived at the “Holy Land” of a brand – creating an obsessive desire within a consumer’s heart and mind for a particular product or service which only “they” can fulfill. Look at the pilgrimage that all the Appleites make to their favorite church (the Apple Store) to get the latest products. (By the way I just added Appleites to the dictionary on my word processor.)
The obsessive – albeit positive relationship consumers have with Apple, and human nature being so “human” makes it difficult to exactly identify what Apple does to make them what they are. (If it was easy all product makers would be doing it.) One of the things that I believe makes Apple different is in their having an exceptionally relevant knack for creating and delivering on products that touch the heart of the people who feel they “think different” while validating that “different thinking.” And really, who deep down doesn’t like to believe that they think different - in a good way, regardless if you use Apple stuff or not.
Then again, it could be as simple as this: People love the products Apple makes because Apple truly loves the products that it makes. As I recall, Steve Jobs and Apple didn't set out to "put a computer on every desktop, running so-and-so software," Apple's desire was to change the world.
With all the social-this-and-social-that hoopla, Apple seems instinctively to know “social” maybe better than any other company. An example would be to simply look at the “app” craze; Apple has mainstreamed the term. It’s part of our culture and our language now. There are apps for so many of our own personal tastes that one really can’t help but think any other way than “hey, that’s an app for me.” Take a peek at an app called Bump. It takes the personal side of social to a whole new level. Apple’s apps are about as viral (and consistently so) as viral can get. People feel that whatever Apple makes, it's exclusively for us - not them.
One of the most over-used and over-hyped marketing terms has been “user experience.” Apple is one of the few brands who truly delivers on this term. They’ve done this by capturing, holding and tantalizing not quite all, but most, of our 5 senses with their product offerings in tandem with an aura of longing for more. Apple products take the user somewhere. The majority of consumer products out there are lucky if they deliver a positive engagement to even one of our senses.
With Apple, it's a ballet of seduction, not selling, because they can. And, seducing is a lot more fun.
Apple, you could say, is the Di Vinci or Michelangelo of the digital age. You generally don’t look at the work done by these guys - you experience and are taken in by them. So don’t be surprised if someone finds an IPad in one of the Vatican’s vaults under Divine Artifacts somewhere down the road.
But, like anything else, powerful brands and religions have come and gone, so we’ll see.For now though, one thing is sure, Apple does “think different” and millions of consumers love it.
By the way, I read that Apple’s market cap has surpassed Microsoft’s - how about them Apples.
This useless observation brought to you courtesy of Blackball Online Marketing, home of the Pittsburgh Online Marketing Technologist.