What historical events helped Apple go from being a niche brand to one that is mainstream? Essay Example

Apple Analysis as an Iconic Brand

Apple was created by Steven Jobs and Gary Wozniak and launched their first computer titled Apple I in 1976. In 1977 the company was incorporated in California, and for the next 20 years, Apple Computers Inc. has been recognized as the original manufacturer and supplier of Power Mac, Apple I, Apple II, Apple III and Macintosh. In 2001 Steve Jobs introduced the iPod music player to the market which brought immense success to the company leading to the creation of iPad and iPhone. Presently Apple is identified as one of the leading innovative and Technology Company globally (Apple, 2014).

Apple continues to invest in consumer experiences as an opportunity to reinforce its brand and develop products that incorporate users. The design of Apple products such as the iPod, iPhone or the iPad, is straightforward and modern with the iconic logo of Apple strategically placed on their surface. Cawthorne (2011) suggests that consumers quickly identify with Apple products and the company use the logo to retain customer loyalty and attract new customers.

Apple has maintained its position in the marketplace and continues to be recognized as an iconic brand which symbolizes change and unity. The company’s understanding of the socio-cultural changes has assisted it in influencing the professional, social and academic sectors in the world. This way, Apple has successfully managed to manipulate the myth market and thrive in the digital and technological world (Holt, 2005). Apple has benefitted from the cultural shifts by demonstrating the counterculture ideologies associated with race, gender, and unity. Apple identified these changes and capitalized on them to come up with new inventions inspired by these ideals.

The philosophy to maintain simple designs and consumer friendly products has enabled Apple to achieve its success and growth throughout the years. Apple’s brand strategy is mainly focused on user experience and appreciation. Wired.com (2009, 2) states that “Apple’s emotional branding, a brand that is felt in the heart and mind of the consumer.” Its innovative and imaginative designs and creations vividly represent Apple’s brand. Apple’s branding strategy is implemented in the marketplace through its products, advertisement and consumer experience. The company’s core values are achieved through consistency and repetitiveness in product and retail. The Company’s brand is reflected on its productions which include; computers, smartphones, and portable electronic devices.

Apple’s logo is among the most popular signage systems globally. It has become an iconic symbol which people around the world relate to as a sign of digital and technological growth in the 21st century (Lusensky, 2014). Consumers can associate the logo to elements of quality, style, and class. According to Storper (2001), a logo is the most significant aspect of a brand since it is the first feature that attracts the interest of the audience. As the brand’s visual and identity, a logo informs buyers of the product through the signs and symbols embedded in it. Apple continues to stand out as a brand that is digitally and technologically advanced while maintaining some degree of creativity.

Its aesthetics appeal and mechanical inbuilt features are user-friendly thus enabling consumers to relate to the various products by Apple (Apple, 2014). Therefore the brand has a ‘human characteristic’ which users can easily compare to making it the number one consumer choice when it comes to technology devices. Apple has become popular for its logo and is a company that solely relied on its logo for marketing. Its first logo, depicting Sir Newton sitting under a tree was a representation of innovation and excellence. Whereas it’s current logo of a bitten apple represents eagerness and desire. The symbol of an apple on its products is one that consumers are attracted to. The apple represents nature a common component which is basic and has deep cultural roots. The visual symbol of the bitten apple serves as a signifier for customers. According to Chandler (2007, 3) signs «take the form of words, images, sounds, gestures, and objects.» Thus the signifier is the object while the cultural meaning is what is being signified by a sign.

The cultural ideologies of Apple were greatly inspired by its co-founder Steve Jobs. Jobs is identified as the archetypal visionary of Apple (Tsai, 2006). Steve Jobs was able to transition Apple and propel it to become an iconic brand through adapting to cultural shifts. The company has adopted a branding technique which is intimate and connects customers to their products while empowering them to overcome the human challenges through technology. Holt (2005), describes a cultural branding model as a strategy that allows a brand to meet consumer expectations by addressing their cultural concerns. Holt (2006) suggests that iconic brands are created when a company can perform identity myths that address consumers’ cultural issues and enlighten them of a new world beyond the consumers’ realities.

Since its inception, Apple has used its brand for self-actualization of the myths in the marketplace. It has achieved this by addressing the customer needs and wants, thus creating products the enabled people to experience the ‘myth’ in their daily living. For instance, during the launch of the Apple iPad, the company embodied the advertisement strategy that just stated: «Touching is believing.» Through the use of this identity myth, Apple’s approach is to reach its target market and communicate to the consumers that the company is committed to creating products that give meaning and fulfillment to the lives of consumers (Lury, 2011).

Identity myth relieves users of their cultural worries that arise as a result of contradicting ideologies (Press & Cooper, 2003). Evidently, identity myth is imperative in the 21st century in a society where people are in constant search of their unique individuality (Tacey, 1998). Apple’s identity myth is focused on addressing the cultural anxieties in the digital world where everybody is trying being whole and fit in. The company has managed to remain relevant and consistent in the digital age while responding to the professional, education and entertainment needs of consumers.

Over the years, Apple has continued to associate itself to myth markets. The company has further used this as an advertising strategy to convince consumers that by engaging in the current consumer cultures, which is buying their products, Apple will make this myth apart of their real life. For instance, Apple introduces new products in the market and convinces consumers that if they purchased the latest Apple’s product, a customer would realize his or her full potential. Macbooks are believed to allow a user to express their creativity in numerous ways that a regular PC with similar features as the Macbook would not enable a user to.

Myths markets are created as a result of emerging ideas brought about by cultural products or events such as TV shows, sporting events, film or music (Press & Cooper, 2003). According to Holt (2005), the myths in the marketplace take advantage of the consumer culture by revealing the beliefs in consumer ideologies as opposed to the reality. Thus iconic brands such as Apple rely on cultural products to advertise and promote their brand growth. As a result, Apple has grown to be an iconic brand that develops products that match the current consumer trends such as fashion and technology advancements. Cultural trends have assisted Apple in formulating new ideas that attract consumers to their products. Ideology functions as a strategy that companies can use to convince consumers into buying their products (Schirato & Susan, 2000). According to Hodson (2012), companies use ideology in myth markets to convince buyers that their products are unique and provide timeless and historical features.

Holt (2005, 372), argues that cultural contradictions in ideology lead to the emerging issues and contradictions within the society. Apple’s ideology has been inspired by the cultural shift experienced in the 21st century which is characterized by changes in traditional authority to freedom from authority and conventional ways of thinking. The ability of Apple to successfully capitalize on cultural shifts and become a counterculture idol has made it possible for people to recognize it as an iconic brand which has revolutionized and personified technology. Holt (2006) argues that Apple has developed into a brand that the 21st generation could easily relate to due to its ability to remain flexible and address the cultural changes in fashion, style and digital change.

Conclusion

Cultural branding is one of the key competencies of Apple. The company has successfully retained its position in the marketplace by capitalizing on the cultural changes experienced globally. It develops new products that address consumer concerns based on the cultural shifts. This way the company has grown to be an iconic figure and brand in the digital world. Consumers globally quickly identify with Apple and relate to products by the corporation. Apple’s capability to normalize consumer cultural myths has enabled it to manipulate the market and capitalize on it. It is therefore recognized as a prolific brand that can address customer concerns and create a brand that is communal and customers can easily relate to in their everyday living.

References

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