Every person is brand conscious to a certain extent. From the basic things we use to our niche preferences, we all have reliable brands that we always return to even if we’ve tried their promising competitors. Some brands are so good that they develop a deep sense of loyalty from its customers. Their patrons keep increasing regardless of what happens to the economy. Others are so bad that the mere mention of their names make consumers think of nothing but poor quality. Truth be told, there are so many things we can explore in the branding world.
So today, we’re launching a new blog series on The Bold and The Brilliant—brands that made a difference by being different. Over the coming weeks we’ll look at key brands that have changed or influenced our lifestyle in more ways than one. And what better way to kick off this series by looking at the newly crowned world’s top brand, Apple.
The New Leader
For 13 years, Coca-cola held the number one spot as the world’s most valuable brand. The throne has found its new king this year with Apple being at the helm of a new generation of brand leaders. The study released by Interbrand, a brand consultancy firm, showed Apple dominating the list with a brand value of $98.3 billion, up by 28% from last year.
Interbrand CEO Jez Frampton said in the annual report, “Every so often, a company changes our lives—not just with its products, but with its ethos… Apple has set a high bar for aesthetics, simplicity, and ease of use that all other brands are now expected to match. Apple’s ability to ‘think different’ and deeply consider the customer experience is what makes the brand a leader—one that has inspired a loyal following and has the whole world anticipating its next big move. Brands, as Apple exemplifies so well, are business strategy brought to life.”
Interbrand uses a three-part brand-value formula to assess the value of a certain brand. This involves the company’s financial standing, the role of brand index (RBI), and brand strength. Apple’s operating profit has been growing at a steady pace while the other two factors can easily be validated with the growing number of Apple users across all its gadgets from the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. So it comes as no surprise that Apple leads the pack as technology shapes the way we live our lives today.
What Makes Apple Different?
When people think of Apple two things immediately come to mind—innovation and simplicity. Frampton said that Apple’s current CEO Tim Cook has put together a “solid leadership team” and retained the vision of its founder Steve Jobs intact. This allowed the company to continue its creation of pioneering products that dictate the next big thing.
Apple is all about making things better and simpler. It’s the driving force behind their every product. Jonathan Ive, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Industrial Design, said in an interview that they have simple goals within the company. They aim to “design and make better products.” He said that if they can’t accomplish this then they won’t push through with it.
Many people have been questioning Apple’s ability to create new products since the passing of Jobs but this didn’t seem to faze Cook. When asked for his response to people who doubt Apple’s innovative ability, he simply enumerated what’s coming—the Retina iPad mini, the new iPhone (5s and 5c), the iWatch (this fall), and the Apple TV which will cap off 2013 for the company. His confidence on his team’s ability to create revolutionary products is resolute.
Jobs said in his biography, “Some people say, ‘Give the customers what they want.’ But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do.” He added that he doesn’t depend on market research because Apple’s main task is to read what’s yet to be written. By being ahead of everybody else, even their own consumers, Apple is able to sprint to the future leaving its competitors behind.
The first marketing brochure that Apple released in 1977 contained this powerful statement, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” It has then been the anchor that steered Apple’s course to greatness. Jobs had said time and time again the value of simplicity in their company’s culture. One of his mantras is simplicity because he claimed that simple things are harder to create compared to complex ones. He added that when you want to make something simple you need to clear your head. He asserted that it’s worth it doing that because when you reach that point “you can move mountains.”
Ive translates simplicity in his designs as well. He said that their main goal is to make simple products. He emphasized that the more you make things simpler the more focused you become on the object. You can clearly see this design aesthetic from the Mac to the iPad. It’s intuitive that three-year-old kids can use the iPhone with no difficulty. Simplicity may seem cliché but the dynamic it brings is valuable to the complex lifestyles of millions of Apple users.
Try the Apple Way
Whatever business you have, you can be an innovator in that industry. Remember that Apple products are not original Apple ideas to begin with. They just made it BETTER. They simplified complex products and made ease of use the top priority in their design. They continuously came up with better solutions which resulted to a more gratifying user experience for its consumers. More importantly, Apple stayed faithful to the things they value most—innovation and simplicity.
Think of the things you can improve in your field. It doesn’t have to be big. Small steps eventually lead to giant leaps. Small innovations give birth to bigger and better ideas over time. Focus on your core values and think of the things that truly matter to your company. Make it the foundation of every creation and venture you will embark on. Companies like Apple exist to show us that it can be done. The possibilities are endless to the one who is willing to learn from successful organizations.
Check out other brands on our Bold and Brilliant Series!
- The Bold and the Brilliant: How Facebook Created a Global Social Network
- The Bold and the Brilliant: How Google Became More than a Brand
- The Bold and the Brilliant: Brands that Made a Difference by Being Different
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