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Comparing Apple to Oranges

Last week AdWeek featured a one-minute piece featuring Lee Clow. Clow helped to create the brand defining “1984” Macintosh ad that helped to put Apple on the map (and it’s still revered 28 years later). Clow, in this short video, reflects on what ties Apple products together and what Steve Jobs intended with each new product. The iPod was meant to introduce Apple to a younger generation at a time when Macs were primarily off in a corner with a graphic designer in the business world. The iPhone was developed not only to take the concept of readily accessible music to the next level but also to be a more user-friendly smart phone. The iPad was meant to take photo and music sharing to still another level while adding even more to the user.

Clow notes that all Apple products are touchable, usable, and likable. Those rounded corners, the intuitive nature of the devices, and the feeling that using these products makes you “hip” all have helped Apple become one of the most beloved brands on the planet.

What are you offering with your products?

It’s true, of course, that not everyone can be Apple, but you can learn a lot from the concept of Apple, no matter what your business is. What your company needs to do is to figure out what your brand is all about. For Apple, the brand is still about the message told by the 1984 commercial. Apple is for the people looking to buck the trends. Apple is for creative geniuses, forward-thinking people, and people who are on top of the latest innovations. Who is your product for? What can a customer or prospect expect from any product that you offer? Will they find the same experience or is every product like beginning a relationship with a new company?

What is your mission?

If you contact a sales rep anywhere in the country or anywhere in the world and you ask them what your company’s mission is, would they be able to answer? If not, you have a branding problem.

If you go to any Apple store, you get a strong sense that all of the sales people know what Apple is all about. It’s about fun, ease-of-use, and massive productivity in the palm of your hands, quite literally. They can sell the Apple experience from the “genius bar” to the feel of the entire store.

Can someone get a feel for your product and your brand if they are learning about you at a conference five states away from where your headquarters are located? Does your brand have that kind of power with your sales force?

What are you offering to your customers?

Perhaps one of Apples most overlooked “wins” was deciding to put a lower case “i” before all of its product names. Why? In a subtle way, it reminds the customer that the power is in the customer’s hands. The Apple products are great, but what really makes them go, Apple indicates, is the fact that they can enhance what people are capable of. They can highlight peoples’ talents. They can help already gifted people go even further. The tale Apple tells is one of empowerment. If you get an iPad, you can read faster, you can share more easily. With an Apple computer, you can make movies and music with fewer obstacles in your way.

How do your products empower your customers? Do they increase efficiency? Do they enhance the quality your customers are already capable of producing? Do your customers know that your products can accomplish these things?

These are just a few of the lessons that can learned at the feet of one of the greatest brands on the planet. What can you learn from Apple and how can apply it to your company? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jordanmerrick/420042130/ via Creative Commons

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