How Apple Built Its Brand

It’s difficult to argue that Apple are anything other than the undisputed King of Brands. Everybody knows them. Every business owner wants their company to be like them. They’ve got the world by the tail and aren’t letting go any time soon.

Taking a peek into the storybook of how a brilliant brand was built is the first step to uncovering how it became so successful in the first place. It can give you clues as to where you need to go when you first start out, where to go when you’re feeling stuck, and what choices to make when you encounter a setback – and let’s face it, there always will be obstacles to overcome when you’re building a business from scratch.

What better brand to look at for lessons than the mega multinational technology corporation that is Apple?

Identification & Loyalty

No doubt you will have heard someone in your lifetime state four little words that are music to Apple’s ears: “I’m an Apple user”. If you haven’t done yet, you will do soon. Apple users are a loyal bunch of customers, and almost exclusively stick to buying Apple products when it comes to technology. In a competitive marketplace where new companies are always coming out with brand new ideas, on the face of things it may seem a little strange that Apple have managed to obtain such a high percentage of customer retention. When you take a closer look, it’s not actually strange at all.

Apple have understood exactly what’s most important about building a brand – creating customer loyalty. Over time, Apple have welcomed their customers with open arms, thanked them for every single purchase, promised high quality for every single product, and made customers feel like part of the Apple family.

Amassing a dedicated group of users not only guarantees sales for the foreseeable future, it also sees word of your brand spread to new customers looking for a product to try. Customers who are treated with respect and dignity will recommend brands to friends. Take care of your customers, and they’ll take care of your company. They’ll identify with your brand, and will never need to look elsewhere for an alternative.

Why?

This is what the customer wants to know. Why your brand? What makes your products better than a competitor’s? This is another aspect of branding where Apple have hit the nail on the head. The late, great Steve Jobs and his team always issued statements about new products that immediately told consumers WHY Apple funded their new invention. They continue to guarantee that each new idea will make a terrific contribution to culture, and change the world in new and exciting ways. This is what your brand ought to do too. Tell your customers right from the beginning why your brand is so unique, and why it was even thought up in the first place.

Think Different

“Think Different” is Apple’s philosophy, and one of the key reasons why they’ve done so well when it comes to establishing a foothold (and subsequently an enormous share) in the market. Apple always put themselves in the customer’s shoes before thinking up a new idea. What does the world really need? And in what new way can you provide it?

Don’t follow the herd. Think differently. Be something that other brands are not. Tricky, yes. Impossible? Never. Keep seeking inspiration and you will find it. After all, you’re an entrepreneur.


5 Things That Can Damage Your Brand

Building a brand is one of the most difficult aspects of being an entrepreneur. That’s why you need to make things easy as possible for yourself along the way, ensuring everything you do is both positive and supportive – not damaging and detrimental.

1.  Self-Promoting 

It’s all well and good advertising your brand as the best in town, but if you constantly and repeatedly shove this message down your customers’ throats, soon enough you won’t have any customers to sell to. Indulging in excessive self-promotion is one of the worst things an entrepreneur can do when it comes to building a brand. By all means promise high quality products (if you can deliver them), but don’t go overboard and shout about how good you are from the top of the hills. After all, the best brands don’t need to tell everyone how good they are – the products speak for themselves.

2.  Delivering Cheap Digs

You may have seen the likes of mega supermarkets delivering sly digs at competitors on television – advertising the prices of their products right alongside a rival’s. Doing this yourself is a big no-no. When you’re first starting out, casually mocking or demeaning bigger competitors comes across as desperate, cheap and tacky. What’s more, it’ll only add to the value of the brand you’re attacking – not yours. Stick to your own message, focus on yourself and reserve your thoughts and feelings about other brands for coffee talk among friends.

3.  Telling Your Customers What They Need, Rather Than Listening To What They Want

A lot of entrepreneurs – both amateur and experienced – make the mistake of thinking they know what’s best for the customer. Sure, you might have a great product that could enrich their lives, but you need to adapt it so that it’s attainable, affordable and beneficial for them in the right ways. Invite feedback from your customers and listen to what they have to say – tweaking your product accordingly. Stubbornness will get your brand nowhere fast.

4.  Not Protecting Your Brand 

It’s a dog eat dog world out there. The sad truth is that if you don’t protect your idea, somebody else will snatch it. Make sure you have everything locked down as soon as possible. Recruiting a capable lawyer to write up all the necessary T&C’s for you is not difficult, and will be worth forking out a chunk of your budget for in the long run.

5.  Ignoring Social Media 

Social Media is a huge part of branding now, and without linking your creation up to a wide variety of channels, you’re going to get left behind. So much brand awareness comes from scrolling up and down Twitter and Facebook feeds, and you need to ensure that you’re projecting a positive image about your brand on a daily basis in a variety of different ways. Think images, content, videos, GIFs, cartoons and interviews.