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Few modern companies can confidently claim to have a global community as loyal and dedicated as that of Apple. Recent years have seen plethora of new product lines stamped with that famous logo and without fail Apple supporters have ensured these product lines succeed. Apple has built its brand so successfully that there is a genuine desire amongst consumers to possess all that Apple has to offer (Mourdoukoutas, 2013).
One of Apple’s latest extension of its product line has come in the form of a very familiar and well tested tool, the Apple pencil. Although not a traditional pencil in the true sense of the word this stylus has somewhat guaranteed itself successful simply by utilising the Apple brand in its name.
Apple was lucky to have a “rebirth” at the turn of the century when it made the decision to purchase the software company NeXT, reacquiring Steve Jobs in the process (Kawamoto, 1996). Since then it has pushed new technological boundaries and in doing so has generated a brand synonymous with elegance, innovation and quality.
Each iteration of their products has contributed to the growth and recognition of its brand. Further additions to it’s product line continue to emphasis that Apple brand. Apple have made the intelligent choice not only to keep their products under the same Apple brand umbrella but to augment these benefits by including the brand name in the products themselves: Apple pencil, Apple music, Apple watch, Apple pay and Apple TV. This form of umbrella branding has guaranteed product association and brand awareness (Bhasin, 2016).
Without visualising the product or knowing any specification consumers immediately get a sense of what to expect with new Apple products. Although this can be extremely beneficial when it comes to sales it also adds pressure on Apple to ensure all of it’s products live up to expectations. Consumers have come to expect products from Apple that are aesthetically pleasing, minimalistic, sophisticated, innovative, high quality and user friendly. Many of these features are no longer considered value-added additions to the Apples products but part of their core business, if these feature are not evident on a new Apple product then the brand itself suffers.
The Apple pencil appears to tick all the right boxes to earn its name. The design is what we’ve come to expect, it’s elegant and simple, it has an ergonomic design and it outclasses its competitors with innovation and performance (Caldwell, 2016).
Clearly Apple is currently well positioned to slap its logo on any new product and generate a profit but to Apples credit it has earned this right. Apples glamourous promotion of its brand extends back to the marketing campaign it began with the introduction of the Mac during the Super Bowl in 1984. This high performance spectacular was the first of its kind and set the foundations for the next 30 years of Apple brand promotion (Stengel, 2016).
Even today Apple continue to introduce new products with significant fanfare. Annually Apple hold a number of events that showcase their innovations, these events include glamourous videos with executives unveiling their latest and greatest. Apple even show how “cool” they are by including musician such as U2 during their events. The goal of these performances is to maintain Apples appearance as an industry leader, a premium provider and a desirable brand.
Maintaining a successful brand over a large period of time requires reshaping the image and consumer perception to stay fresh and contemporary. Apple has made many iterations of it’s logo since the beginning while generally keeping the same shape that consumers all over the world have come to know and respect. This has allowed Apple to look new while staying recognisable (Think Marketing Team, 2012).
The Apple logo is so recognisable that Apple is comfortable changing it for event specific occasions such as the recent Earth Day, in fact such changes to a recognisable icon will often draw consumer attention to it.
The Apple name itself has evolved to better represent the companies position in the marketplace. In 2007 the company changed its name from Apple Computer to Apple Incorporated to better reflect its product line (Marketing Minds, 2015).
Product evolution has followed the brand evolution. The introduction of the Apple pencil is in stark contrast to the sentiments felt by the late Apple CEO and founder Steve Jobs who publically condemned the use of a stylus. Jobs also previously stated that consumer would never want a large iPhone (such as the successful iPhone Plus) or a larger iPad (such as the 12.9 inch iPad Pro) (Price, 2015). The decision to produce the new Apple pencil has come about with the evolution of accompanying technologies and the desires of consumers (Statt, 2015).
The genuine success of the Apple pencil as a stand alone unit has yet to be decided, what is guaranteed however is that the Apple pencil will sell due to that single recognisable symbol that is so familiar to so many, .
Bhasin, H. (2016, April 1). Marketing 91. Retrieved April 24, 2016, from What is Umbrella branding and its advantage in building a brand: http://www.marketing91.com/umbrella-branding/
CALDWELL, S. (2016, March 07). An Apple Pencil-drawn review of the Apple Pencil. Retrieved April 24, 2016, from iMore: http://www.imore.com/review-apple-pencil-drawn-review-apple-pencil
Kawamoto, D. (1996, December 20). Apple acquires Next, Jobs. Retrieved April 24, 2016, from CNET: http://www.cnet.com/news/apple-acquires-next-jobs/
Marketing Minds. (2015, Jan 1). Apple’s Branding Strategy. Retrieved Apr 24, 2016, from Marketing Minds: http://www.marketingminds.com.au/apple_branding_strategy.html
Mourdoukoutas, P. (2013, Oct 5). Apple’s Most Important Branding Lesson For Marketers. Retrieved Apr 23, 2016, from Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/panosmourdoukoutas/2013/10/05/apples-most-important-branding-lesson-for-marketers/#22d789c118e2
Price, R. (2015, Sept 9). Apple just announced a product that Steve Jobs famously hated. Retrieved Apr 25, 2016, from Business insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-announces-stylus-a-product-steve-jobs-hated-2015-9?r=UK&IR=T
Statt, N. (2015, Sept 9). Here’s why Apple made the stylus that Steve Jobs hated. Retrieved Apr 25, 2016, from The Verge: http://www.theverge.com/2015/9/9/9298117/apple-pencil-stylus-ipad-pro-steve-jobs
Stengel, J. (2016, Feb 6). The Ad That Changed The Super Bowl. Retrieved April 23, 2016, from Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimstengel/2016/02/06/the-ad-that-changed-the-super-bowl/#19c17cc7be8e
Think Marketing Team. (2012, June 22). Apple Logo Evolution Story. Retrieved April 23, 2016, from Think Marketing: https://thinkmarketingmagazine.com/apple-logo-evolution-story/