On September 9th, 2014 the world waited as Apple was prepared to host their annual event. Every year, consumers are told about the newest Apple products that will come on the market, the most important almost always being the design of the new iPhone. This year was no different, consumers knew that there would be an improved iPhone coming, and they were right. Apple introduced not one, but two new iPhones, namely the 6 and the 6 Plus. The phones had a very different appearance than the iPhone 5; exhibiting a much longer but thinner body. Aside from that there were also many new features such as a better and bigger Retina Display, increased battery life, and improved Camera. The first week following the new phones released brought on some bad publicity for Apple due to some users who claimed their phones “bent”. Still, statistics show that this did not hurt their sales as they still managed to sell over 10 million iPhones shortly after its release (Jones, 2014). Why is Apple so successful and what keeps it successful despite the negative influence it sometimes receives?
Aral and Walker (2011) discuss social influence and explain that this happens when customers share their experiences with their peers. This is really the best way to spread the word about a product or brand. The authors also argue that the key to social influence is having a “different” feature in their products. With Apple though, I feel that it’s successful simply because it is “an Apple product”. Apple consumers do not really discuss the great features of Apple, but are more concerned with the aesthetics of the products. Therefore Apple’s social influence becomes somewhat different from what is discussed by Aral and Walker (2011). There is no one feature or viral feature of Apple that makes it great; it is the brand itself that has a big influence on its consumers.
Apple makes their products not necessarily for the individual consumer, but for the consumers’ peers. To explain this statement, we will need to go back to when the Apple logo on Macbooks were upside down.
There was a time when the Apple logo faced its user when the laptop was closed. Steve Jobs felt that it was more important for the user to see the logo upright than the user’s peers. But over time, this changed. Jobs realized that is was more important for the people surrounding the user to see the logo (Bell, 2012). Thus, the social influence that Apple has doesn’t come solely through word-of-mouth or sharing of opinions on the products, a big part of it comes from simply having an Apple device and using it next to your peers.
This Jimmy Kimmel video will show the influence of the Apple Logo.
What do you think makes Apple so successful? Do you have an Apple product, and why did you decided to get (or not get) it?
Aral, S., &Walker, D. (2011). Creating social contagion through viral product design: A randomized trial of peer influence in networks. Management Science, 57(9), 1623-1639. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1110.1421
Bell, K. (2012, May 21). The Upside Down Apple Logo: A Steve Jobs Mistake. Cult Of Mac. Retrieved from http://www.cultofmac.com/168377/the-upside-down-apple-logo-a-steve-jobs-mistake/
Jones, C. (2014, Sep 22). Tim Cook Does It Again With Over 10 Million iPhone Sales. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckjones/2014/09/22/tim-cook-does-it-again-with-over-10-million-iphone-6-sales/