Apple…The Consumer Behavior Savior!

By Ashley Fowler, Student ID: 215390465


Unless you have been living under a rock these last few decades, you will have heard of Apple. Doesn’t ring any bells? Well it should! How about iPhone, iPod portable media players or the infamous Mac personal computers? There we go, you are with me now……

Apple Inc. is an American multinational technology company that is based in Cupertino, California. Apple is responsible for the design, development and sales of the largest computer software, consumer electronics and online services in the world. Founded on April the 1st, 1976, by Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne, Apple Inc. is the worlds largest information technology company by revenue and the worlds second largest phone manufacturer, racking in US$233 billion dollars in 2015. So you can see that Apple Inc. has become a big deal!Apple-Revenues-1995-to-2015

So how does Apple Inc. do it? How do they continue to thrive in a changing digitised society? Understanding and analysing consumer behavior and its application in marketing its product is key.

Apple falls from the tree straight into the hands of consumers……

There are a number of ways that Apple Inc. uses the marketing science of customer behavior in order to market their product effectively.

Apple Inc. is not the first company to utilise sensation and perception in marketing. For years, marketers have been experimenting with the senses and subsequent sensory experiences to create better perceptions of their products. As marketers and managers become more aware of the importance in sensation and perception in marketing, advertisements and packaging have become more sensory in nature.

Take the Apple logo for example. Remember the original rainbow coloured logo? In 1998, with the millennium fast approaching, Steve Jobs changed the brand logo into a modern, chrome colour apple that aligned with the strategic direction of the company into the millennium. In the eyes of the consumer, Apple Inc. had re-positioned itself for a new century that promised exciting new developments and products beyond the consumers wildest dreams. The new logo was met with a wave of hype and anticipation for great things to come.


Although simple, Apple Inc. logo creates a familiarity in the mind of the consumer, that conveys a brand identity that stands out a cut above the rest.

Similarly, Apple Inc. advertising campaigns such as the one shown below, captivate the consumers sense of sight and sound in an advertisement that uses black and white imagery and elegant classical music to convey a message of continuous improvement, change and perspective. What marketers have done here is highlight the key messages with euphoric splashes of colour “a whole new take”, “together” and “change things” to create that customer first feeling.

Following on from the above sensations and perceptions, flows the inevitable learning and memory that occurs with these brand associations.  Brand associations play an important role in consumer product association and choice. Consumers use associations and attributes of products as retrieval cues for information about product performance which can affect consumer decision-making over time.

Take Apple Inc. logo and Ivan Pavlov’s theory of classical conditioning. Initially the Apple Inc logo introduced in 1976 would not have conveyed any information at all, much like Pavlov’s bell. However over time, this logo has become an iconic symbol across the globe that is associated with the “i” products we are so familiar with today.

Similarly, Apple Inc. uses the theory of operant conditioning to reinforce learned behaviors that ensure customer brand loyalty is forged. Apple Inc’s loyalty program that focuses on the “big spenders” such as businesses sees customers rewarded for spending between $5000-$35000 a year with huge discounted savings across the board on iPad’s, iPhone’s and now the application of business friendly Apple T.V. Could this be a new strategic move by Apple Inc. to make the iPhone and iPad the go to product for corporate communications?

Apple Cracks the Basic Needs of a Human!

As Abraham Maslow suggests using the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, to understand what motivates consumer behavior, humans must meet basic needs such as having food on the table, before more desirable needs are met.

Across the market segments of Apple Inc., many of the customers are fortunate enough to have the basic needs as highlighted on the hierarchy met. Therefore Apple Inc. is able to position it’s products higher on the hierarchy evoking feelings of belonging and respect.

At a higher level, Apple Inc. has aimed to position its ‘need’ in customers at a corporate level. Next time you are in a meeting, take note of the devices your CEO or executive members use…..Apple.





Krishna, A., 2013. Customer sense: how the five senses influence buying behaviour , New York : Palgrave Macmillan .

Van Osselaer, S. & Janiszewski, C., 2001. Two Ways of Learning Brand associations. Journal of Consumer Research, 28(2), pp. 202-223.

Iacobucci, D 2013, MM4, South-Western, Cengage Learning, Mason OH, USA.




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