Apple Inc. is a company that deals with mobile electronic devices. It was founded by Steve Jobs. The company uses the Apple brand to market its products and compete in the highly competitive global business environment. Some of the areas that this company deals with include: the manufacture of personal computers, notably the Macintosh line of computers and other consumer electronics such as the iPod and iPhone.
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The company has a heavy presence in the consumer electronics products industry and has done its best to remain the top brand in this industry. Over the years, one of the branding strategies that this company has used has been the creation of innovative products. This has kept the company ahead of its competitors and has helped it cut a niche for itself in the competitive global business environment.
When a company wants to do a brand promotion, a multi-product strategy is usually adopted. This means that the name of the company is used as the common name under which all the products of that particular company are being marketed. Apple Inc. is one of the companies that have chosen to direct its energies towards branding its corporate name instead of focusing on individual products that it manufactures.
Apple Inc. is a renowned electronics company based in the US. The company is involved in the designing and selling of electronics, computers and computer software. Finding a niche in the competitive business environment globally is not a cheap and easy venture (Alan, 2000).
Companies globally are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of corporate branding to any business enterprise. Branding basically involves distinguishing a company’s goods and services from the rest in the market through the creation of exceptional identity and position of these products in the competitive business environment. Apple Inc. is one of the corporations that have identified the value of branding of its products and uses it to create a distinction between its products and those of its competitors in the market.
This paper shall look into the branding strategies of Apple Inc. as well as the advantages and disadvantages of these strategies. An analysis of this company using secondary data shall then be provided and recommendations given.
The information in this paper has been gathered from secondary sources. These include books and articles by other writers based on prior research. Only information about branding strategies of Apple Inc. and the advantages and disadvantages of these strategies has been used. A SWOT analysis of this company has been done using these secondary sources.
Branding strategies of Apple Inc
A Store Just for Apple
As a strategy for branding, Apple Inc. opened stores that only deal with its products only (Apple’s Competitive Strategy, 2011). This has helped this company to set its unique products apart from the rest that are in the same business environment. The stores are customer friendly and customers have the opportunity to explore some of the technology that Apple Inc. offers. This move has helped the company create loyal customers.
Offering complete solutions
Apple Inc. products come in packages that complement one another. Moreover, the products complete one another (Kahney, 2002). This means that most of the programs that Apple Inc. products need are also produced by the same company. The customer does not have to struggle looking for these programs elsewhere. Solutions for most of their needs when dealing with Apple Inc. products are also provided by the same company.
While promoting its products, Apple Inc. tries as much as possible to identify with everything that is young, smart and trendy (Dairymple, 2008). For example, the company ran a campaign dabbed ‘I’m a mac’, which depicted ‘a mac guy’ as one who is young and bold. This attracts many people because everyone would like to identify with whatever is young, smart and trendy.
Manufacture of varied products
Due to the high cost of buying some Apple Inc. products, such as Apple computers, the company has diversified its products to come up with products that are not as costly as the computers. Customers who are not able to buy high cost products such as the computers are able to buy products such as iPod, which they can afford (Seeking Alpha, 2011).
This provides the customers with an opportunity to sample some of the Apple Inc. products. This also makes it easier for the customers to consider buying the high cost products such as the computers when they are in need because they have confidence in the Apple brands.
Selling of products used in the education sector
Apple Inc. sells most of its products to education institutions. Young people in schools and universities are introduced to Apple Inc. products at a tender age. When these students desire to buy their own electronics in future, chances of buying apple products are very high.
This is because the students feel more comfortable using the products that they have used all along while in school than buying new brands that they are not familiar with (Inside CRM Editors, 2008.). Apple Inc. is therefore able to capture customers, who are very young. The company retains most of its customers after their first purchase.
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Manufacture of products that always deliver
Before Apple Inc. manufactures any of its products, an extensive research is done to identify the needs of the customers (Rosenthal, 2011). This helps in ensuring that the company manufactures products that meet the needs of the customers, resulting to high customer satisfaction. This also makes the customers happy and willing to buy products from this company in future, because they are assured that their needs are going to be met.
Consistency in manufacture of the products
Apple Inc. is very consistent in the way it manufactures its products. This means that all the new products that are developed follow the same basic architectural structure.
person who is conversant with any of the Apple Inc. products has some basic knowledge of what to expect whenever they are buying a product from this company. A person who has prior knowledge of Apple products adapts to new hardware from this company more easily than one who has never interacted with the company’s products. Consequently, such people are likely to make repeat purchase.
Apple Inc. products are innovative and diverse (Jeffrey & William, 2005). This gives the customers an opportunity enjoy the services of Apple Inc. products in various locations and at their convenience. It is possible for consumers to have variety of products, ranging from those that can be used in the office, at home of even while one is away from these places.
Manufacture of attractive products
Apple Inc. manufactures products that are colorful and generally attractive to the users. The use of smiling icons, as well as bright colors, makes the products look attractive and appealing to the customers.
Advantages of branding of Apple
There are immense benefits experienced by Apple Inc. as a result of their branding strategy. One of the advantages that Apple Inc. has as a result of branding is having a platform where new products can be launched in future. Due to superior branding that this company has created, consumers are likely to buy products because they are viewed by many as an epitome of technological superiority and modernity (OGrady, 2009).
Through branding, Apple Inc. has been able to differentiate its products from the rest in the market, in terms of the quality and value of the products. These products are usually identified with positive factors, such as being of high quality, trendy and reliable, among other qualities.
This positive brand image has helped the company to sell the existing products to the customers easily and introduce and sell new products without struggle. Apple Inc. relies mostly on the corporate name that it has created and the unique products brands it offers to market its products.
One of the major disadvantages of branding is the high costs involved in advertising. In order for a company to set up a local or an international brand, a lot of time and resources are needed. There are high costs incurred in issues related to public relations, advertising and in offering exceptional customer care service.
This is because; it takes a lot of time to create a brand name both locally and internationally. During this time, a lot of advertisement is required, since a brand name cannot be created within a short period or by running a few advertisements (Miller, Vandome & McBrewster, 2009).
The adverts should continue being aired, even during economic turndowns, in order to avoid giving competitors a loophole that they can use to outdo Apple Inc.
The brand image can also be a disadvantage to a company. If a brand becomes associated with a particular person, their departure, either due to natural causes such as death, or if they willingly walk out of the company, can affect the brand image. For example, when there were rumors that Steve Jobs, the founder and chairman of Apple Inc, was on the verge of death due to cancer, most of the people sought to withdraw their shares from the company. This was a big blow to the brand image of Apple Inc.
Poor customer service
The issue of poor customer service by retailers is also a disadvantage to branding of Apple Inc. This arises when the retailers fail to treat customers well. Even though the company has done its best to create a good brand image both locally and internationally, such ill treatment can cause customer dissatisfaction, which may be detrimental to the brand image (Morgan, 2011).
Recall of products
Issues with the manufactured products that may lead to the recall of the products may also be dangerous to the brand image. This may cause customers to lose their trust in Apple products, regardless of the long time that the company has taken to create a positive brand image. Moreover, recall of the already manufactured products would mean that the company has to incur more costs, which may lead to the company registering losses for that period.
SWOT analysis of Apple Inc
This is a very successful company that has high sales of electronics such as iPod, iPhone and the Macintosh computers. It is also one of the established brands in the manufacture of electronics (A2Z Everything, 2010).
Most of its customers are loyal. Apple Inc. is also able to attract new customers and retain them. This means that the company is able to sell the existing products to these customers easily, as well as introduced new products to them without much struggle.
Some of the products were reported to be faulty (Linzmayer, 1999). For example, the Apple iPod Nano was reported to have faulty screen, something which couldcause customer dissatisfaction. In addition, some of the iPod produced previously had faulty batteries and the company had to give its customers other batteries.
There is an opportunity for Apple Inc. to develop the iTunes that they currently offer into another more convenient format such as the mobile phone. This would increase its sales, as well as meeting the needs of many users of the Apple products.
The greatest threat to leading IT producers such as Apple Inc is the stiff competition that exists in this industry. Being a leader in this industry, Apple Inc has attracted a lot of competitors. This means that the company has to remain vigilant always and be innovative in order to stay ahead of its competitors.
The high product substitution that is on the rise with new inventions is also a threat to this company. In the recent past, the CDs and Vinyl were some of the leaders in the music industry. However, the MP3 and iPods are the ones reigning currently. With these changing trends, one is never sure what to expect in the IT industry.
Apple Inc. should consider co-branding, as a way of reducing on the costs incurred in branding. Co-branding involves a joint venture of branding that is done by several companies. In addition to reducing the costs for branding, co-branding allows easier market penetration.
However, if Apple Inc. is to adopt this method, it should be ready to share the credit with the rest of the companies because co-branding usually has a dilutive effect. Moreover, a negative brand image of one of the companies involved in co-branding is likely to affect the brand image of the other companies involved in the joint venture.
Apple Inc. should try as much as possible not to have a single person who is associated with the brand. This would help minimize any negative brand image that may arise if any person leaves that company.
This is also important in protecting the brand image, in case one of the people in the company is surrounded by negative events, which may ruin the reputation of the brand when the brand is associated with such a person (King, 2011).
Extensive monitoring should also be done to ensure that the brand image is not tarnished by outsiders, who may try to use the brand name for their own selfish gains.
Apple Inc. is one of the leading producers of IT products. It has managed to create a niche for itself in the global business environment through branding. However, this has come with advantages and disadvantages that the company has to cope with. A SWOT analysis of the company reveals some of the major strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that the company faces.
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