Another year, and another Apple keynote event has passed, but yet rarely is the question asked why people perceive Apple’s products to be worthy of such attention. Why is it that Apple’s press events are global media events, while those of competitors merely sideshows? Why is it that Apple products are regarded by many as “better” despite featuring similar parts and worse specs than competitors?
Why do so many people buy into the Cult of Apple?
The answer has very little to do with the actually physical value of the product - at least in any quantifiable way - but rather, has a lot more to do with an incredibly finely tuned and highly successful marketing machine. In particular the company makes use of three key techniques in order keep fans coming back for new product after new product.
Attention to Form
One of the main things which Apple does in order to build a brand which people can identify with is the use of a consistent visual design. Apple designs its products with an emphasis not just on specs and computing power, but also on form. While there is little need for a ‘good looking’ computer or phone, Apple exploits cognitive biases whereby the average person attaches far more value to objects which ‘look’ good rather than have good features. In addition Apple creates a unified design language so a customer is easily able to identify an Apple product out of a room filled with competing products.
Selling A Lifestyle
Another strategy used by Apple is the sale of not just a product to the consumer by also a lifestyle. Apple users are marketed as being ‘cool’, ‘creative’ and ‘trendy’, while competing products are shown to be boring and nerdy. To achieve this Apple uses targeted advertising, celebrity endorsements, and focuses on creating applications which are good for these sort of creative uses, and little else.
Aspirational Price Positioning
While it is strange to hear, Apple products’ high price points might actually help the company’s overall brand power. This is due to the fact that again people perceive more expensive good to be better, without any real justification for this belief. By positioning their products as ‘aspirational’ goods, not only can the company make more money, but they also show that buying one of their products allows not just access to the Apple lifestyle, but also allows a customer to show people around them that they are of a certain socio-economic class.
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