From computer geek to style iconNicole KennedyWhat Apple can teach us about brand revitalisationApple was launched successfully in 1976by Founders Steve Jobs and SteveWozniak (“the two Steves”) with thecompany initially growing at a tremendousrate - led by the Apple II and other stateof the art computer products.Apple’s success continued into the mid1980’s. Although following this,circumstances changed. In particular, aninjury to Wozniak necessitated Jobs toemploy a new CEO. Internal tensionfollowed which resulted in Jobs alsoleaving his company in the late 1980’s.The new CEO was ousted in 1993 but In 1998 Apple was a well known brand butfurther leadership changes and internal in consumers eyes it lacked stronguncertainty followed - resulting in a lack of advantages on which to choose it abovecompany focus up until 1997. the competition – therefore hindering its growth potential. The internal struggle After a successful launch in 1976, leadership changes in the 1980’s to early 1990’s led to a lack of focus at Apple - further exacerbated with company focus outwardly projected a by increased pressure from the competition lack of clarity around what its brand stood for. Within BrandZ™ a brand displaying Wozniak injured, Jobs employ new CEO characteristics akin to Apple’s at that time Apple founded is termed a Defender brand. Defenders ousted by Jobs CEO Steve Jobs Further & Wozniak walks out leadership occupy a middle ground in their market – changes 1976 1977 1993 1997 attempting to take on the big players while having to fight off advances from Launch of Apple II Bad times hit with increased competition emerging brands. Growing at tremendous from IBM & Microsoft rate with state of the art products Apple’s Brand Signature™ - a summary of relative strengths and weaknesses versus [drive:directory pathfilename.ppt 1 ] the competition - indicated it was strong at presence but poorer at converting thisOut of fashion awareness to loyalty. For many Apple lacked relevance - as it was perceived toWhile Apple battled with its internal be expensive - and worryingly it displayedstruggles competitors rose to the new performance issues (seen as not easy totechnological opportunities on offer. 1998 use) which contradicted with the ‘userBrandZ™ data evaluates Apple’s position friendly’ core essence that was intended atin an IT Hardware context. Plotting its birth. A lack of appeal, higher opinion,presence relative to the competition popularity, advocacy and trend settingagainst Voltage™ - a measure of the imagery all reduced Apple’s perceivedlikelihood to build share – illustrates the advantage above the competition.pressure Apple was experiencing fromHewlett Packard and IBM but also how itlacked the momentum to grow.
Although recognised as different, in 1998Apple lacked the leadership credentials toentice stronger bonding and really ride thewave in this fast developing market In 1998, Apple displayed characteristics of a Defender brand - well known but lacking strong advantages vs the competition. • Apple Signature™ Different, but lacks leadership Bonding 2 credentials Lacks appeal, high opinion, popularity, Advantage -7 advocacy and trend setting imagery Performance -13 Seen as not easy to use Relevance -7 Seen as expensive Presence 21 Through re-focussing, Apple has revitalised itself into a ‘Specialist’ brand – it isn’t Base: IT Hardware UK 1998 (403) [drive:directory pathfilename.ppt 3 ] relevant to everyone, but very strongThe new trend amongst a core following. Apple’s 2004 Brand Signature™ still shows that it isn’tSo there was clearly a need to revitalise relevant to everyone (and should continue toApple and the good news was that in 1997 do so today) however the factors driving thisFounder Steve Jobs returned to help guide now contribute to the brands position ratherthe company through its recovery phase. than hinder it. Not meeting everyone’sOne of his most effective early actions needs and not connecting to just any oldwas to re-focus the company strategy and computer device is something whichR&D plan back onto the core essence that supports its Specialist nature - rather thanmade Apple successful at launch. the usage barrier seen back in 1998Essentially he cut 13 R&D projects down (whether perceived or real). In 2004 Apple’sto 2 – the G4 chip and iMac – which both advantages over the competition includefitted with Apple’s original brand unaided awareness, popularity and trendproposition of ‘technical’, ‘stylish’ and setting imagery and for those who love Apple‘user-friendly’. – are bonded – it has built solid leadership credentials. When founder Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 he re- focussed the company’s strategy on the core essence that had made it a success originally Wozniak injured, Jobs Steve Jobs CEO returns to employ new ousted Ipod Apple founded Steve Jobs Apple CEO Further Ipod shuffle by Jobs walks out leadership launched launched & Wozniak changes 1976 1977 1993 1997 2003 2005 Launch of Bad times hit with First profits for years Apple II increased competition & continued success from IBM & Microsoft Growing at tremendous rate with state of the art products Focussed R&D with 13 projects cut to 2 (the G4 chip & iMac). Both fitted with Apple’s original core essence of ‘Technical’, ‘stylish’ and ’user-friendly’ and with what made the company successful in the first place [drive:directory pathfilename.ppt 4 ]From that point onwards Apple experiencedthe first profits for years, continuing to thecurrent day with the significant arrival ofIpod in 2003. The success is evident inApple’s share price which has shown a risingtrend since 2003.
So since 1998 through focusing its efforts Driving Apple’s good reputation is a senseApple has narrowed down who it appeals too of ‘leadership and success’. The- and therefore its presence relative to the Corporate Reputation Signature measurescompetition - but by building appeal amongst relative strengths and weaknesses acrossits core followers Apple now has increased 3 broad areas - public responsibility,momentum behind it to grow share consumer fairness and leadership and(Voltage™). success. Apple’s Corporate Signature™ is defined by strength in leadership and success. Innovation is behind Apple’s leadership and success – seen as a company that comes up with new ideas, is different and leads the way. Image profiles highlight defining characteristics relative to the competition and Apple Computer Inc’s is positive in these ‘innovation’ areas.In addition, a 2004 WPP study into thecorporate reputation of 100 major companiesin the UK (called ReputationZ) also showedhow Apple Computer Inc has a goodcorporate image in consumer’s eyes. This isparticularly important for Apple as it is acompany for whom corporate reputation hasa strong relationship with its product sales.
Designer catwalksApple Computer Inc’s portrayal ofleadership and innovation at a corporatelevel provides a company focus but alsoallows it the credibility to transfer thesesame values to its products and brands.The relatively recent launch of the Ipodfollows along these lines – an innovative,stylish addition to Apple’s portfolio and aconsumer must-have. All of Ipod’sconsumer touchpoints – includingproduct, packaging and Marketing activityfit with the innovative, stylish focus forthe brand (and company).And the media coverage on Ipod? … theylove it! So what does Apple teach us about brand revitalisation?Millward Brown Precis is a public relationsand news measurement analysis service that • Strip out what makes the brand great -provides a measure of media coverage. The focus communication and productincidence and tone of reporting on various development on thistopic areas, such as attributes (product or • Don’t feel pressured to appeal to everyonecorporate) and key messages, can be – greater loyalty amongst a smaller grouptracked. Tracking of Ipod’s media coverage can be just as powerful.using the Precis:cubed™ real-time media • Believe in your brand – internal confidenceevaluation service in Oct/Nov 2005 showed helps drive consumer credibilityseveral positive feelings appeared regularly • Exploit halo opportunities - where there isin the reporting – most noticeably ‘love’ but a clear link between Corporate identity andalso an element of ‘surprise’ around their brands facilitate a two way transfer oflatest innovation - the launch of a new Ipod credible valuescapable of playing videos. • Be consistent – drive clarity of associations right through the line For this type of analysis go to https://mb.brandz.com or contact Brandz@uk.millwardbrown.com Nicole Kennedy is an Account Manager at BrandZ is the WPP funded global brand equity Millward Brown, the leading International brand study available to clients and potential clients via and communications research consultancy WPP owned companies. It is validated against sales and quantifies and diagnoses the strengths and weaknesses of brands. Reference: ‘Apple’, University of Wales Aberystwyth, 2004