Apple is one of the most recognized brands in the world, and one of the most profitable. In the last quarter of 2014, the company posted quarterly revenue of $42.1 billion and quarterly net profit of $8.5 billion.
What makes Apple such an iconic brand? It didn’t hurt to acquire John Sculley early in their marketing game. Perhaps Steve Jobs will always be the face of the brand but it was Sculley, a former marketing executive from Pepsi, who boosted brand awareness by increasing the advertising budget from $15 million to $100 million and making Apple a household name.
Undeniably one of Apple’s biggest attributes is style. When one thinks of Apple, images of sleek modernity arise. The Apple retail store in Manhattan, New York, looks like a delicate glass box gently placed amid a sea of concrete. Even the Apple retail stores inside shopping malls are imbued with a sense of slick clean modernism. Not to mention the products themselves. It is undeniable that Apple technology is designed not only with functionality in mind, but with the idea of consistency and style.
Perhaps part of Apple’s success stems from the fact that Steve Jobs ensured that the brand developed its own core values. Jobs was hands-on when it came to being involved in presentations and seminars and he once gave an inspiring seven-minute marketing talk in which he stressed that Apple’s core value stems from the idea that people with passion can change the world. He famously said that your customers don’t know what they want, it’s your job to tell them what they want.
But Apple remained relevant precisely because Jobs knew that branding and marketing alone weren’t enough. As he once said, “Even a great brand needs investment and caring if it’s going to maintain its relevance and vitality.”
Despite how recognizable the Apple logo is around the world, few people realize how the company got its name. While the validity of the story has been questioned, it is rumoured that Jobs was brainstorming prospective names for the company when he proclaimed that he would call the company Apple Computer if the group present couldn’t come up with anything better by the end of the day. In a marketing talk, Jobs himself said, “I like apples, used to work for Atari, (and Apple) comes earlier (alphabetically)… (Apple is a) juxtaposition of what we were going after: simplicity, but refined sophistication: Apple seemed to symbolize that.”