What’s at the core of Apple? (Part One)

Have you ever looked at the queues snaking for hundreds of metres outside the Apple Stores the night before a new iPhone is put on sale? Have you ever thought, wow, I wish I had customers like that, rushing to buy my latest product even before the old one had become even slightly used?

What is it that draws buyers to their stores and on-line shops to buy products with an almost religious fervour? The fact that Apple make great consumer electronics that are both innovative and imaginative is indisputable – but they are not unique in that.

Yes, they were the first with the modern mobile phone and music storage devices – even phones you can wear on your wrist! – but other manufacturers have developed similar and, some may say, superior products at lower prices.

What Apple is selling is more than a product – it’s a way of life, a sense of style, a certain image that their sleek designs convey. They have created a successful brand.

Some say that a brand is a logo, or an easily identifiable symbol. However, it’s much more than that. It is the gut feeling that people have when they own, use, eat or drive a certain product.

It conveys a whole host of reactions and, most importantly, emotions. People choose Apple for the feeling they get owning a smart and stylish personal computer, painstakingly crafted to provide both entertainment and an efficient means of communication.

Apple are not alone in this, however. Replace Apple with Disney, Coca-Cola, Nike, Virgin, BMW and, perhaps until recently, VW. The appeal of a strong brand has its own monetary value – often in the billions of dollars. It is a crucial element towards successfully marketing your business.

But how do you get to the position where your brand is worth so much that people queue to buy your product, and only yours? Well, here’s your answer.

They want to buy you – for what you make, sell or provide. In essence, they are not buying the product, they are buying why you make it. The late Steve Jobs and his designer colleague Jonathan Ives knew all about that – their effort didn’t just go into the technology, but also the emotions of the consumer. The feeling it provided to the purchaser was as important (probably more so to many) as the quality and facilities of the product.

It’s the emotional appeal that comes from buying a particular brand that is so powerful. Whether purchasing or investing, emotions play a large part with regard to financial decisions. Apple-ites trusted Steve Jobs and co. to make products that would enhance their lives, and make them feel good about themselves.

This trust is a vital component in any decision – whether it’s a personal commitment to another human being to marry or the financial commitment to invest a life’s savings.

Getting to “yes” is a process of engagement and collaboration leading to trust and then commitment. Unless the feelings are there within that process, it’s likely to collapse at an early stage. The same is true in business as it is in all areas of human life.

Being open, transparent and willing to share thoughts and ideas are a large part of this building process. Failing to effectively follow this path is a common reason for businesses to fail. Sharing why you make something is as vital as what you make and how you do it.

Just exactly why this is so important is something we’ll cover in our next article. By the way, do you like your new iPhone 6?

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