Branding in business – why Apple does it right

Branding is a key element of any company, whether it’s brand new, up and coming or pre-established. Forbes recently ranked Apple as the world’s most valuable brand, coming in at an astonishing £139.6 billion for brand value and £175.2 billion for brand revenue.

So why is Apple’s branding so successful, and what caused it to become America’s first £500 billion dollar company and one of the world’s most respected and recognised brands.

Apple’s iconic branding strategy has placed most of its focus on emotion. Creating that connection with the consumers, which is returned to them tenfold. By developing emotion in customers rather than just reasoning to buy the product, a memorable connection is developed between consumer and company.

Steve Jobs once said:  “the chance to make a memory is the essence of brand marketing”, which couldn’t be truer in today’s market.

Not only is the Apple branding focused on creating that emotional connection, so are its campaigns. For example, the ‘Shot on iPhone’ campaign, which is now a yearly staple in Apple’s marketing calendar, is built around 15 second clips uploaded by users, each highlighting a unique feature of the iPhone camera. The first round of the campaign was seen at least 6.5 billion different times, and mentioned by over 24,000 ‘opinion leaders’. It also signalled Apple’s entry onto Instagram in 2017, amassing 350,000 followers in a matter of days

Developing that emotional connection goes further than just promoting what your company produces, it must go to the very heart of what the company stands for and believes in, and transparency and trustworthiness in campaigns.

Apple’s mission statement focuses on all of that; “Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.”

In documents released by Stanford University, the Apple Macintosh launch strategy back in 1984 had this exact same focus on customers and their experience with its products;

“To achieve the objectives set out, an integrated, intelligent sales tool must be developed. The chosen approach is to utilise a Macintosh system, controlling a video disk player, enclosed in an unobtrusive fixture, that not only sells the benefits of the Macintosh, but involves the customer in experiencing the Macintosh personality”

Apple’s TV advertising over the years has also followed a similar route. Its 1984 Super Bowl advert - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zfqw8nhUwA - created a feeling of exclusivity for the viewers, as though they were part of something not many others were involved in.

As did its iPod launch advert in 2004; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlHUz99l-eo.

And the iPad Air and Pencil advert in 2013; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_snOtlJ21yI.

Each campaign focuses not only on the product being promoted, but the feelings linked to it. The branding concept and ideals run through everything produced. Going further into the campaigns and adverts produced by Apple, you need to look at the voice and text elements involved. There’s no tech talk, because who would want that on a typical advert? Instead they use terminology like ‘the most advanced yet’ which creates a sense of prestige.

Ahead of the 2012 launch of the iPad 3, Apple released event invitations that simply said; "We have something you really have to see. And touch." This was on top of what appeared to be an iPad, and it sent the world crazy with anticipation.

All this just touches on the surface of Apple’s branding, ideals and image – but there is a lot other companies can take away. In today’s world, businesses can’t just promote a product, they must also promote a feeling, an emotion and an experience linked to those products – and it’s making these elements work together that could signal the difference between the failure or success of a business’ branding.

Written by Kennady Smith, 12/10/2018