The Key to Apple’s Success


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?

References:

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/

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “The Key to Apple’s Success

  1. I think what makes Apple so successful is that they have revolutionized multiple markets, most specifically the music market with their iPods and iTunes. Apple has always had a very clear idea of what they want their product to be which is another huge reason they are so successful. They want their products to be simple and easy to use. They want the aesthetic of the product to be top notch and they are always striving to improve. That is why I disagree with your statement that people only buy apple because it’s an Apple product and it looks nice. Right now the rest of the industries have caught up to where Apple is with their products, but I believe they have always done things better than other companies. Steve Job’s vision was that he wanted products to be an extension of what humans do naturally and I think they have always followed that vision. Right now with the smart phone industry, there are other phones that are as good, if not better. But Apple is involved in so many different markets that it’s important to look at their widespread success over multiple industries.

    A huge reason why I purchase Apple products is because they work seamlessly together. I own a Macbook Pro, Ipad, Iphone and Apple TV and I am always impressed with how these products flow cross platform. Nothing is more frustrating when you buy a new piece of technology and it doesn’t work properly with the other things that you have. Of course what initially attracted me to their products was the slick aesthetics but when it comes down to it, I appreciate the simplicity of use and the cross platform coordination of their products. The learning curve is also a lot smaller when you already own other apple products because the user interface is very similar and follow the same logic.

  2. Much to to the shock of my peers, I have never once owned an iPhone in my life before. It’s an unusual quirk of mine but I have always stood firm on my belief of standing out from the crowd and not becoming “just another apple user”. Everytime I take a train or bus and see everyone around me busy whatsapping or playing candy crush on their iPhones, I somehow get a sense of satisfaction and pride that I am “special”.

    However, two years ago, I found myself in a dilemma. My computer had just broken down and I desperately needed a laptop to prepare for my upcoming exams and presentations. At that time, I was still contemplating on which new laptop to buy and almost everyone I knew said: “Get the Macbook of course! Why are you even thinking?” It was not long later that I gave in to temptation and found myself with my first ever Apple product.

    I guess it is this fervant customer loyalty and word-of-mouth, psycho-advertising that has greatly boosted the popularity and sales of Apple. Apple fans are well-known for their faithfulness and allegiance to the brand. I read in the news that one fan even wept when she wasn’t able to get in line to buy the new iPhone 6 during it’s official release. However, to be fair, this fierce loyalty comes with great customer satisfaction. As I came to discover (after I bought my second Macbook), Apple buys consumers for life.

    And what causes this customer satisfaction and strong brand value? Well, there are many factors such as platform stickiness, an easy to use and friendly interface, the iTunes and the AppStore, the sleek exterior design, the high product quality, etc. I could go on and on but if I really have to choose one then I would go with Effective Leadership.

    To me, Steve Jobs was a legend. His mission for Apple in 1980 was “To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind” and he should definitely be proud because he has indeed attained his goal. Steve jobs assumed the consumer role while innovating new products. He predicted what consumers would want and need and he invested this desire into every new product that Apple created. This is a different approach from many other tech companies who worked with the technology they had on hand before evaluating whether it would suit the masses. Under his leadership, Apple designers designed products not because they could, but because they were products that they simply couldn’t live without.

    Jobs also understood the power of the consumer and the importance of customer service. He knew that if the company was going to succeed, he would first need to change the mindset of consumers and gain their trust. He also knew that while facing with new technology, some consumers might get confused and would need some assistance. That is why he introduced the first Apple retail store in Tokyo and went on building many more around the world. When I first stepped into the legendary Apple Store in New York City, I understood what made Apple the amazing brand it is today. Everything was just so clean and white and simple, and there were Apple staff all around ready to help anyone who looked lost or in need. There were also work stations that dealt with every single aspect from product tutorials to service repair to entertainment. It was really customer service at the highest level.

    Now, even though Steve Jobs has passed on, I hope his attitude and values continue to live in the hearts of the Apple employees. I have faith that as long as they stay on the path that Mr Jobs has carved for them and continue redefining technology with consumer satisfaction as their end-goal, Apple will remain successful in the years to come.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s