As he walked onto the stage the audience was quiet but you could feel the anticipation in the air. The speaker, Steve Jobs, was ready to announce Apple’s latest innovation: the iPhone.
Since its inception, the iPhone, like most Apple products has been a leader. It has led the way in not only user satisfaction but profits as well. Although iPhone does not lead in actual cell phone sales, it makes up 90% of the profit shares. This means that although they did not sell the most phones, they still made the most money. They made the most money because its customers are willing to pay top dollar to be #teamiphone. What would inspire such brand loyalty you might ask? Well, last week we discussed 5 reasons why people love those other brands. Today we are looking specifically at Apple to see how those 5 reasons show up in real life.
Apple’s brand foundation, although not explicitly stated, is expressed in a number of ways. For example, on their website, Apple states: “Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.”
In addition, shortly after the passing of Steve Jobs, Apple’s current CEO Tim Cook stated:
We believe that we’re on the face of the Earth to make great products, and that’s not changing. We’re constantly focusing on innovating. We believe in the simple, not the complex… We believe in saying no to thousands of projects so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us. We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot. And frankly, we don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change. And I think, regardless of who is in what job, those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well.
With such shining examples like these, we can clearly locate all 5 reasons that make people love Apple. So without further ado let’s jump into reason #1.
The things that Apple finds important are obvious. They say them all the time: innovation, creativity, simplicity, collaboration, and excellence. The focus on these things has gained them a certain reputation. It is a reputation of being on the cutting edge of technology and being the best. It has a reputation for being the best.
When you think about your values. Are those things what you are known for? Or is there a disconnect from what you say you value and how it’s represented in the world? Your values provide structure to your business so your customers can easily find their place in it.
Chances are you are reading this on your iPhone, MacBook Pro, iMac, or whatever Apple product of your choice. If you are, you’re one of the millions who the Apple brand has successfully and intentionally connected with. As the statement from their website above indicated, they have no problem letting you know who they create their products for.
Are the people you reach confused about who you serve? Are you known for being the go-to for a particular niche? Everyone once a solution specific to their needs. Focusing on a particular niche increases the connection you have to people in that industry and makes them able to focus on you as a viable option for their needs.
Apple’s mission is to provide the best personal computing experience. If you haven’t already seen Simon Sinek Ted talking discussing Apple mission you should do so. He highlights that Apple’s mission is to create innovative products that just happen to be computers and phones. The focus isn’t so much on the specific product offered, but the experience you would like to your customer’s to have.
When considering your mission for your business it should be specific enough that your clients know what type of experience they are going to get regardless of the specific product you are offering. When you create a strong mission it guides you on the best way to deliver the products you offer.
Apple’s vision is to think differently and change the status quo. We all know there are many problems in the world today and Apple seeks to set a stand of excellence that inspires others to do the same. They understand that true excellence comes through the diversity of thought and makes an effort to collaborate with others. They subscribe to the notion that a rising tide lifts all boats and is not only a leader in profits but a leader in creating community and change in the world.
What impact do you want to leave on the world through your business? Do the choices in your business support that? Or are you jumping on every opportunity that comes your way? In the quote from Tim Cook above he highlights the importance of saying no to a lot of things so that you can say yes to the opportunities that are meaningful to you. Creating a brand that inspires loyalty is all about connecting with others who find value in the same things as you.
Lastly, but most importantly is Apple’s story. Apple’s story is one of how hard work, dedication, and commitment to your values and dreams ultimately wins. Having such a powerful story that has both highs and lows allows them to resonate on an emotional level and makes them the authority on what it takes to succeed. Especially as an entrepreneur, I like many of you have experienced both highs and lows on this journey. Having a figure that ultimately made it despite the troubles that plagued them serves as inspiration and makes you want to be a part of that winning team.
How does the story of your brand relate to your customers? Can they see who they were, are or will be in your story? What makes them want to be on your team? People are hardwired for stories and having a good one engages people. If you want to inspire a loyal following make sure you have a story people can relate to.
If seeing how these reasons play out in the real world has you hyped to get started on building your brand I have a free workbook to help you get your brand on point. And for those of you who need a little more help figuring things out, I have something special to share with you next week!