Ben Hafner: 900282113
Let’s be honest, if you’re reading this you know what Apple is. You might not currently own an Apple product but I’m going to take a guess that you either have or will. I mean I have owned few since 2002, long before those horrible white headphones came out and started attaching themselves to everyone. Most though would probably be aware of Apple since the iPhone, however, it’s been around well before they came into play in 2007, and in that time every MBA student has blogged on Apple’s marketing strategy.
Let’s talk branding for a second. We know from Aaker’s work on ‘Brand and Equity’, that to make a brand successful it must have Loyalty (from customers), Awareness (people must know it exists), Perceived Quality (build a quality product), Associations (a reason why you should have it) and Propriety Assists (why is it better than others?).
There is no doubt that Apple has loyal fans, but it must continue to create and recreate itself with good products.
In Aaker’s case on Apple he makes the point that Apple times the release of their products, and provides services that revolutionised the products use, which give them the competitive advantage. Years later we know this as the iTunes Store.
The Services: Apple offers a complete online service, which claims that it was built ‘to change people’s lives‘ it offers apps, music, movies, books, not to mention the iCloud linking all your devices together. It really is a one stop shop that spans across their products linking you into their most powerful service; the Apple Eco System which is considered the service which makes it hard for customers to leave. They design quality products to deliver a service to you, to make your life easier. They become part of your day to day life.
What do we know about them? Apple runs three 3 events yearly; 2 keynotes and a WWDC conference. These events are considered one of their greatest products. In this they host an event for thousands to attend which is streamed online to millions. This platform provides Apple with an opportunity for them to tell you what innovations they have implemented and to highlight the reasons why you need their new product.
So they have a platform and deliver a service, but what about the actual product?
Let’s talk Apple products… they don’t have many. They make a couple of laptops and desktop computers, an iPad, iPhone and an apple TV. Of course they are in different configurations, but they even make those choices for you. Some would say this strategy of reduction to assist with decision difficulty to be a clever model in today’s excess choice market.
So with one iPhone, that has been provided since 2007 how did they just manage to sell 1 billion? It’s through their creative ability to continually reinvent the product. It’s through their awareness of the product life cycle and drive to innovate.
Let’s take a look at a typical Product Life Cycle (PLC).
With all this in mind and the case of Apple and their yearly product launch, they:
Introduce: Remember those Keynotes we just spoke of? Before you even get your hands on one, you have already had it explained as to why you need one, how it will benefit your life and how easy it is going to make it. Quartz themselves refer to Apple’s Keynote Launches as one of their most successful products.
Growth: They set and promote a release date. Where normally most companies would just release their products and they may infiltrate over time, Apple controls the release which means all stores (including their own) get them on a particular day. This in itself creates demand. Apple is strong on Product Development, this innovations helps sets them apart as market leaders and according to Iacobucci (2013) leads to keeping customers happy.
Maturity: They continue to correct software issues and utilise their amazing service of updating your devices, to continue the ongoing sales and ensure that decline isn’t as rapid.
Decline: Apple is aware of the sales drop, so perfectly timed in the fourth quarter is the release of new software. This is for early adopters to take on and understand what and how the software will work on the new, yet to be released iPhone. This is exceptionally strategic, as 3 months of software trialing and bug fixing has occurred which assists the new phone to be more stable.
Before I even realised what was happening Apple had started the Life Cycle of the iPhone again, and I’m standing in line waiting to get one.
Iacobucci, D 2013, MM4, South-Western, Cengage Learning, Mason OH, USA.
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