What makes Apple successful?




What makes Apple so successful? The answer – A perfectly integrated customer experience delivered through brand. Apple, at the time of writing this piece, is the world’s most valuable company with a market cap of over $2.7trn. The Cupertino based tech giant are product design masters and gatekeepers of what is likely the greatest walled garden in business history. Interestingly, Apple’s true power lies in its ecosystem. Whilst their products are beautiful and their technology masterful, it’s in fact their perfectly crafted customer experience which continues to crown them winners.


The Founder


It is rather difficult for Apple users to switch to rival technology, especially when they are entrenched in iMessage conversations and reliant on iCloud storage. However, Apple has never really given their users any reason to switch, with their long standing focus on providing positive customer experiences. This quest to provide masterful customer experience started with their founder, Steve Jobs, who once stated that one has “got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around”.


The Infrastructure


This commitment to customer experience is extended to their stores and their website. Around the globe, Apple stores tend to be instantly recognisable or in impressive locations, such as their Opéra store in Paris that preserves a beautiful stone exterior or their more unique and imposing steel and glass structure in Beijing’s Sanlitun district, known for its nightlife and expensive dining scene. Their stores tend to be very well staffed and totally geared towards customer care, with operatives booking customers in for “appointments” at the ‘Genius Bar’ in order to deliver dedicated one on one service. This is a perfect example of Apple’s exceptional brand awareness, filtering their commitment to their brand identity from the top down, visible in every product, every store and even every interaction with an Apple employee.


Their website, as we mentioned before, is also far more complex than most ecommerce sites, that prioritise ease of transaction for one’s customers. Apple painstakingly breakdown their technology, and the updates on their previous generation products, to excite users and invoke a sense of trust, that their customers truly understand what they are buying when they purchase an iPhone or Macbook and so on. Inevitably, this digital experience is also designed beautifully in Apple’s iconic design language, further exemplifying their commitment to their brand identity and an imperative factor to their success.


Seamless Experience


The fantastic thing about Apple’s walled garden is the fact it benefits their users significantly. Everything syncs together seamlessly and this is what makes it very hard to choose a rival device, especially when you are entrenched in their iCloud infrastructure. The legendary technology company has a formidable ability to adapt to ever changing consumer demands, which indeed is staying true to their business’ ethos of putting the customer’s experience first. This commitment is also integral to Apple’s brand identity. It is abundantly clear to any smartphone user when the device one is interacting with is indeed an Apple device and this all consuming brand ecosystem is a vital part of what makes the Cupertino based tech giant so successful.


The strength of the overall brand and their commitment to painstaking brand management, reflecting the spirit of their late founder who was so pedantic about brand awareness that he once spent thirty minutes debating the shade of gray Apple should use for the bathroom signs in Apple stores, is also a reason why their marketing strategy can be so subtle as their iconic brand is managed so masterfully.


Brand Evolution


Apple’s latest move towards more sustainable devices and business practices displays their consistent forward thinking nature and the continuation of Steve Job’s spirit throughout the company.


The late Apple founder was a vegetarian for most of his life and a vegan for part of it. He would occasionally eat the same combination of fruits and vegetables for weeks and once spat out a mouthful of soup when he was informed there was butter in it. Jobs had always had an environmental conscience and in 1991, fifteen years after its 1976 founding, Apple began to carry this eco-consciousness into its operations by phasing out its use of lead in batteries: its first step of many to create more sustainable products and clean up its manufacturing processes. Forward to 2021 and the tech giant’s philosophy of striving to do better by the planet remains unchanged and its ambitions are, as insiders would term it, “relentlessly optimistic”.


Staying true to their founder’s spirit Apple has transitioned its facilities to run entirely on renewable energy and in the past year, all of the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch devices it released have been partly made with recycled materials. Apple have consistently stressed that this is not the end goal for them, they have set lofty ambitions way beyond this positive start. Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, explained to GQ that they have “set really big goals for ourselves” so lofty that “at one point they were even calling them crazy.


The tech giant’s goal is to be carbon neutral and powered by clean energy by 2030 and they are getting recognition for pursuing this mission (read their 2030 goals here). With the recent release of the iPhone 13 range, Apple continues to underscore and heavily promote the ever-widening percentage of recycled materials it has used to manufacture the phones more sustainably. This is an important part of Apple’s brand management. Staying true to Steve Job’s ethos and relentlessly striving to innovate further with an environmental conscience.


Apple deserve the crown


Overall, Apple continues to be the most successful at creating a brand that evolves with the times and continually delivers time after time for their consumers across every touch point of their business infrastructure. This includes; product, service and stores whilst working to develop this ethos in manufacturing and sourcing. Through meticulous attention to brand identity and management and some powerful innovations such as iCloud, Apple have made it very difficult for their users to switch to a rival, and why would they even want to? Apple has created the greatest walled garden in business history and it started with their exceptional brand management as well as their phenomenal technology.


Do you want a perfectly crafted customer experience?


At Opportunus, we are dedicated to building powerful customer experiences for our clients and Apple’s success is testament to the power of creating an engaging ecosystem that is hard to let go of, for one’s customers. Everything we do at Opportunus, revolves around leveraging brand management and identity, doubling down on what makes your business successful to stimulate growth through various channels. We discuss how we do this more here.


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