Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Apple Brand

For many years, an apple was a piece of fruit that came in a handy, portable, easy to use package. The only thing left was the core when you were done with it.

Well after a few decades, the Apple is much, much more. Read more from the Thinking Blog:

Soft Economy? No, Soft Marketers.

Posted: 11 Jun 2008 07:45 AM CDT

Photo Courtesy of Morguefile
You hear many marketers complaining today about our soft economy. I wouldn’t call it soft. I’d call it challenging for the marketer with a challenged brand. With prices on necessities escalating, consumers are having to choose their discretionary items more carefully. But they are still spending money on the things they want.

If your product or service is not one of those items, it is your fault. You have not made a personal connection with your customer.

Look around at what is selling. People can’t wait to spend money on the new Apple 3G iPhone. Why?

It’s all about the Apple brand, which has made one of the most incredible connections with customers I have ever seen. The Apple afficionado drank the Kool-Aid and went back for more. Robert Scoble had an excellent piece on the Apple brand a few months back that is worth a read. Says Scoble,

We believe Apple’s marketing so deeply that we aren’t willing to question it

1. If your machine behaves badly it’s your fault.

2. Any idiot can use an Apple machine (that’s what they tell you before you buy one) but if your machine crashes then you must be a “genius” to fix it (they have bars at stores now where you can “borrow” a genius, but only after waiting in line — my son twice has been turned away from genius bars because they were too busy and was told to “come back tomorrow at 10 a.m.”). Oh, and if you are having problems at 10 p.m., and dare tell people on your blog about your problems you’ll get tons of abuse back “how DARE you be an Apple user and not know you needed to flash your PRAM.” Translation: any idiot can use a Mac, but not really.

OK, they are spending money on Apple and not on your product. They also are willing to spend $9 per pound to customize M&Ms, but not anything on your product. A MediaPost story about a new M&Ms line extension points out,

And whereas virtually every product is now in search of ways to customize, the genius of this M&M’s brand extension lay in recognizing how well the brand lends itself to personalization, as one former Masterfoods USA executive noted to Personalization doesn’t work for commodity items–”There has to be a connection with the product,” said John Helferich. “It depends on the emotional equity of the brand.”

A connection with the product gets consumers to buy even in challenging economies. Is it time for you to conduct a brand autopsy to figure out why you aren’t making the connection?

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