Brand Salience – look at Apple in terms of the CBBE pyramid
I first heard about the Apple brand when I was about 12 years old when my father bought a macintosh pc. It was the first PC that my father had bought for me. Although at the time, I used the PC to play games rather than doing anything else. But it was something I treasured. Apple is one of the first things I think about when I look for a laptop. I’m always interested in what new they’ve come up with every time I visit an electronics store. Even when I think of buying an mp3 player, the Apple IPod Video is the first image that comes to my mind. But when I think of buying a phone, the Apple IPhone ranks below Nokia and Sony Ericcsson. One of my main reasons for the attachment to the Apple IPod is because of their commercials. In their commercials, you’ll see lots of happy, energetic people dancing in silhouette against a colourful and ever-changing background. Notice the distinctive white headphones flowing in unison to the owner’s movements. What you don’t see is a focus on iPod. No close-ups of how you select a song or adjust the volume level. Why would Apple take all the time to make a great user interface only to not show it on television? The reason is simple:
Apple isn’t selling you an MP3 player. They are inviting you to experience the Apple lifestyle and to become part of the iPod community. Use any other MP3 player and you’ll hear good music. Use an iPod and you’ll feel good. You’ll fit in. Product features don’t create fans. The focus on what people do and show how they feel using Apple’s stuff.
Those white iPod headphones were not designed by engineers – I think they are a pure Apple marketing trick designed to make the visible part of their product a status symbol. Wear white headphones and you are a member of the club. Think back to the first PowerBook – it was a unique dark grey colour (it was patterned after a colour designed by Whirlpool’s Refrigerator research to hide or eliminate fingerprints) In both cases, the distinctive grey PowerBook case and the more recent white iPod headphones are status symbols (and uniquely Apple.) Even the glowing Apple logo was fixed to be right-side up for others (it’s upside down to you when you open your new MacBook because you are selling the brand to others for Apple). These factors have really worked for me in terms of brand recall.
When I hear the word “Innovation”, Apple is the first brand that comes in picture. However, when it comes to buying other computer accessories like mouse, keyboard, or headphones, I think more of other brands like Sony, HP or Logitech instead of Apple. This is mainly because of the price factor associated with Apple products. I would buy Apple products mainly just for say gifting my family or treat myself once in a while. It’s not something that I would go and buy every time I need an item in the same product line. Consumer encounters trigger purchase at the Apple store.
Apple is a great brand and I adore it but then the price always comes into picture. The price is there to differentiate it from others but that also prevents it from being more accessible. I think Apple’s launch of the IPod Shuffle was brilliant in this regard as it made the brand more accessible especially in terms of price. I think they should work more on the price factor to resolve this issue of accessibility to the segments they target as other brands like HP and Dell also have great products in similar price ranges.