애플이 말하지 않을_10가지(market_watch20120807)

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애플이 말하지 않을_10가지(market_watch20120807)

  1. 1. www.marketwatch.com애플이 말하지 않을 10가지Aug. 7, 2012, 12:02 a.m. EDTBy Quentin Fottrell다음은 애플이 자사 제품 및 비즈니스에 대해 말하지 않을 10가지다.1. “고객이 지쳤다.”애플의 충실한 고객들조차 계속되는 신제품 출시에 기분이 상한다. 최신 애플 제품을 사도 회사는 이미새 제품을 준비하고 있다고 기술 컨설턴트 패천 바스가 말했다. 그는 지난 20년간 애플사 제품 25개를구입했다. “어떤 애플 제품을 구입해도 이미 구식이 된다.” 2001년 이후로 6종류의 아이팟, 2종류의 아이팟 미니, 6종류의 아이팟 나노, 4종류의 아이팟 셔플, 4종류의 아이팟 터치가 나왔다. 2007년 이후로 5개의 아이폰 모델이 나왔고 아이패드는 2010년 이후 3개의 모델이 나왔다.물론 신규 모델들은 더 슬림해지거나 빨라지거나 카메라 성능이 좋아지거나 스크린 화질이 개선되었다.(3월에 애플 대변인은 최신 아이패드에서 “굉장한” 스크린 디스플레이가 특징이라고 말했다.) 그렇다고재정 상황이 안 좋은 일부 고객들을 달랠 순 없다. 마케팅매거진(Marketing Magazine)이 2천명의 고객들을 대상으로 최근 실시한 조사에 따르면 고객들의 약 50%가 신제품을 구입할 의지가 점점 사라진다고말했다.소프트웨어 업그레이드도 신규 하드웨어를 구입하게 자극한다. 지난 달 애플사는 에어플레이 소프트웨어의 신규 버전을 출시했다. 하지만 이 신규 버전은 2011년 중반 전에 아이맥과 맥북 에어를 구입한 고객들은 이용할 수 없다. 일부 고객들은 불쾌감을 온라인에서 드러냈다. -1-
  2. 2. www.marketwatch.com2. “앱 조심해야 한다.”록빌에 사는 8살 매디슨 케이는 아이패드에서 스머프빌리지(Smurfs’ Village) 게임을 하면서 가상 열매인스머프베리 구입에 1,400달러를 썼다. 매디슨의 엄마가 항의한 이후 청구요금을 한 번 변제 받았다. 이런 게임들은 앱스토어에서 ‘무료’로 이용할 수 있지만 일정 시간이나 특정 레벨까지만 무료라고 기술 문화 저자 데몬 브라운이 전했다.3. “인간관계에 방해된다.”저녁시간에 아이폰으로 페이스북 업데이트를 확인하는 것이 일부 커플들의 걱정거리가 되었다. 스마트폰이 인간관계에서 방해물이 되었다고 뉴욕의 테라피스트 어슐라 오프만이 말했다. “사람들이 자신만의 개인 공간으로 돌아가려고 한다. 하지만 침대에서 아이폰을 확인하는 건 분명히 문제다.”그리고 신과의 관계가 주머니 속의 진동음 때문에 방해를 받기도 한다. 룩아웃(LookOut)이 실시한 조사에 따르면 10명 중 1명은 종교적 시간에 휴대폰을 본다. “에티켓에 어긋난다고 생각하지 않는 사람도 있다”고 워싱턴 프로토콜스쿨의 크리스 영이 말한다.매너 등의 이유를 제쳐두더라도 사람들이 아이폰은 내려놓지 못하는 또 다른 이유가 있다고 한다. “애플제품은 중독성이 있다”고 iDisorder의 저자 래리 로슨이 전했다. 사실 많은 유저들이 자신이 아이폰에 중독돼 있음을 알고 있다. 스탠포드대의 2010년 여론조사에 의하면, 25%가 아이폰이 치명적인 매력이 있다고 대답했고 41%는 아이폰을 잃어버리는 건 비극이라고 대답했다.4. “더 많은 돈 지출한다.”애플 제품이 타사 제품에 비해 비쌀 뿐만 아니라, 고객들은 애플 제품 이용에 더 많은 돈을 지출한다. 아 -2-
  3. 3. www.marketwatch.com이폰 소유자의 월평균 청구요금은 다른 선불 스마트폰들에 비해 10% 이상 많은 90달러라고 모닝스타(Morningstar)의 마이클 호델 애널리스트가 추정했다. 아이패드 유저들도 다른 태블릿 유저들에 비해 상업용 웹사이트에서 더 지출한다. 리치렐리번스(RichRelevance)의 최근 조사에 따르면 아이패드 소유자들이 주문 당 158달러를 지출하는 데 비해 다른 태블릿 사용자들은 105달러를 썼다.왜 그럴까? 일부에서는 아이패드가 고가 상점처럼 느껴지기 때문이라고 말한다. 또 아이패드가 사용하기쉽기 때문이라고도 한다. “아마존의 원클릭 구매처럼 아이패드는 충동구매를 고무한다”고 컨설팅회사 피노(Fino)의 마크 아이젠버그가 말했다. 게다가 499달러의 아이패드를 구입할 여력이 있는 사람들이 안드로이드 태블릿 구입자들보다 가처분소득이 많을 것 같다고 마케팅회사 럭셔리 인스티튜트(LuxuryInstitute LLC)의 밀턴 페드라자가 밝혔다.5. “혁신적 제품이 필요하다.”업그레이드 피로감이 비평가들이 애플의 제품 출시를 싫어하는 유일한 이유가 아니다. 일부에서는 신제품이 전혀 새롭지 않다고 말한다. 투자자들이 애플에 혁신적 기술을 계속 요구하고 있다. 애플이 다시 모바일 시장을 뒤흔들 때라고 BTIG의 월트 피사이크 기술 애널리스트가 전했다. 그는 아이폰4S의 소매가649달러보다 저렴하면서도 완전히 새로운 애플폰이 좋은 시작이 될 거라고 언급했다. 다른 기술회사들의스마트폰과도 경쟁해야 한다.아이폰 매출은 여전히 강력하다. 그러나 회사가 하나의 휴대폰에만 의존하면 안 된다고 피사이크가 말한다. 아이폰이 애플 매출의 50% 이상을 차지하고 있다. “시장 점유율은 매우 빨리 변할 수 있다”고 피사이크가 언급했다. 또 통신사들이 고객들에게 대규모 보조금을 지급하게 되면 사람들이 휴대폰 당 600달러를 지불하지 않을 거라고 한다. 애플은 동의하지 않는다. 2월에 회사 대변인은 높은 가격에도 불구하고“아이폰4S가 전세계에서 믿을 수 없는 매출을 올렸다”고 말했다. -3-
  4. 4. www.marketwatch.com6. “(아이패드에 비해서도) 아이폰 너무 비싸다.”아이폰은 아이패드보다 몇 백 달러 적은 비용이 드는데도 애플은 아이폰에서 훨씬 더 많은 마진을 챙긴다고 전문가들이 말한다. “고객들이 아이패드에 비해 아이폰에 더 높은 프리미엄을 지불한다”고 기술 컨설턴트 제프 케이건이 말한다. “아이폰은 비싸다.” 그는 고객들은 무선통신사가 당초 소매가의 3분의 2를 흡수하기 때문에 아이폰을 저렴하게 구입했다고 생각한다고 전한다. 하지만 구입 후 2년 뒤 계약을갱신할 때 고객들은 오래된 휴대폰의 사용을 위해 프리미엄을 지불해야 한다고 케이건이 언급했다.7. “판매 기술에 속지 말라.”The Apple Experience의 저자 카민 갤로가 최근에 플레젠튼에 있는 애플 스토어에 방문했을 때 직원은그의 두 아이들과 아이패드에서 나오는 디즈니 영화에 대해 얘기하려 했다. 아이들을 사로잡은 뒤에야그 직원은 갤로에게 왔다. “매우 기술적인 판매 전략”이라고 갤로가 말했다.애플은 아이들이 애플 제품을 원하면 부모도 원하게 되는 걸 알고 있다. 그리고 절대로 고객에게 기술적얘기를 하지 않는다. “직원들은 고객의 라이프스타일 등의 질문으로 시작한다”고 Brandwashed의 저자마틴 린드스트롬이 전했다. “감정적으로 호소하기 때문에 애플 제품을 거절하기가 힘들다.”초현대적인 매장 디자인도 중요한 전략 중 하나라고 전문가들이 말한다. “환상적인 공간으로 들어오면서사람들은 외부 세계를 잊는다”고 텍사스대학교의 티나 로레이 마케팅 교수가 말했다. 이런 전략은 효과가 있는 것 같다. 아심코(Asymco)의 2012년 조사에 따르면 애플은 미국 체인 중에서 평방피트당 매출이가장 높았다. -4-
  5. 5. www.marketwatch.com8. “애플 제품 뒤쳐졌다.”워싱턴 D.C.에 사는 교사 낸시 배철러는 화면이 너무 작아서 최근에 아이폰 사용을 포기했다고 말한다.그녀는 4.3인치의 모토로라 및 HTC 제품을 사용하면 될 것이다. 삼성은 디스플레이가 4.8인치인 제품도있다. 그녀뿐만이 아니다.이제 아이폰이 구식으로 느껴지기 시작했다고 일부 애널리스트들이 말한다. 아이폰 유저들은 스타벅스에서 배터리를 충전한다. 삼성의 SIII는 여분의 배터리가 있다. 게다가 SIII 배터리가 아이폰보다 성능이 좋다. “SIII가 현재 아이폰의 최대 경쟁 제품”이라고 기술 애널리스트 케이건이 말한다. 여러 면에서 “아이폰보다 훨씬 낫다.”아이폰4S의 신기술인 음성검색엔진 시리는 고객들의 기대에 부응하지 못했다. 파이퍼 제프레이(PiperJaffray)에 따르면 질문의 68%만 정확하게 대답했다. 올 가을에 아이폰5가 출시될 것으로 예상되지만 고객들의 입맛은 빠르게 바뀐다. 스트래티지 애널리틱스(Strategy Analytics)의 조사에 따르면 최근에 삼성이 애플을 제치고 제1의 스마트폰 판매 회사가 되었다.9. “평생 벗어나지 못한다.”디지털 콘텐츠를 애플의 ‘에코시스템’에 저장함으로써 고객들은 평생 거기에서 벗어나지 못할 수 있다.애플이 5GB 메모리를 아이클라우드에서 무료로 제공하는 데는 그 만한 이유가 있다고 애널리스트들이말한다. 아이클라우드는 다른 가상 저장 시스템과 다르다고 한다. 애플 제품으로만 이용할 수 있기 때문이다.또 아이튠스의 디지털 파일을 킨들파이어 같은 기기에서 이용할 수 있는 파일로 전환하기도 어렵다. 그리고 아이튠스의 자동 DJ 기능이 비애플 제품에는 적용되지 않는다. -5-
  6. 6. www.marketwatch.com10. “애플 팬은 끝까지 충성한다.”물론 많은 고객들이 애플의 글로벌 커뮤니티에 참여하는 걸 좋아한다. 페이스북 페이지인 팬스 오브 애플(Fans of Apple)은 935,000명 이상의 친구가 있다. 로레이 마케팅 교수는 애플 팬들을 할리 데이빗슨소유자들과 비교했다. “예전에는 이런 그룹의 사람들이 서로 연락할 방법이 없었다. 그러나 지금은 온라인 커뮤니티가 있다.”사실 많은 애플 고객들이 실망감에도 불구하고 여전히 애플에 충성하고 있다. 연초에 한 애플 고객 그룹은 중국 공장의 근로조건을 개선시켜 달라는 청원서를 애플에 보냈다. 하지만 이 그룹은 애플 제품을 폐기하거나 재사용하지 않을 것이라고 말했다. 또 애플은 자사의 단점을 공개함으로써 비평가들을 일부 진정시켰다. 공장의 62%가 근로시간 규정을 위반했고 5곳의 공장에서 미성년자를 고용했다고 밝혔다.애플의 “동화 같은” 또는 “종교적인” 발언들이 애플 브랜드를 열성적으로 지지하게 만든다고 브랜드 전문가 린드스트롬이 언급했다. “애플은 고객을 고무하는 방법을 잘 알고 있다.” 애플사 웹사이트는 “아이패드는 당신과 당신이 사랑하는 것 사이에 아무 것도 없을 때 마법의 창문이 됩니다”라고 말하고 있다.This is from www.marketwatch.comhttp://www.marketwatch.com/story/10-things-apple-wont-tell-you-2012-08-07?link=MW_popular -6-
  7. 7. www.marketwatch.com10 things Apple won’t tell youAug. 7, 2012, 12:02 a.m. EDTBy Quentin FottrellFrom customer service to app safety and even how its devices affect our relationships, here are 10things Apple won’t likely tell you about its products and its business.1. “Our customers are worn out.”All that initial excitement over the first iPhone or iPad has quickly given way to what analysts aredubbing “upgrade fatigue”—with even Apple’s most loyal customers upset about the steady stream ofnewer models. In fact, when people buy Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) latest product, the company isusually already preparing its replacement, said technology consultant Patchen Barrs, who has owned25 Apple products over the past 20 years. “Everything we buy from them is already out of date,” hesays. Take a count: Since 2001, there have been six iPods, two iPod minis, six iPod Nanos, four iPodShuffles and four editions of the iPod Touch. Apple has released five iPhone models since 2007 andhas had three iPads since 2010.Of course, newer models have their upsides: They’re usually slimmer, faster and have additionalfeatures like better cameras and improved screen quality. And Apple, which declined to comment forthis story, has said that such improvements more than justify the fast pace of their new additions. (InMarch, for example, Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said the latest iPad delivered a “stunning”screen display.) But that argument isn’t enough to appease some cash-strapped consumers. Almost50% of consumers say they’re increasingly unwilling to buy new products for fear that they will berendered outdated by even newer versions, according to a recent survey of 2,000 people by MarketingMagazine in the U.K.It doesn’t stop with devices, said experts: Software upgrades also gently nudge people to buy newhardware. Last month, Apple launched a new version of its Airplay software, which virtually connectsApple gadgets and can beam video from computers to Apple TV. But the new Airplay is not compatiblewith iMacs and MacBook Air computers bought before mid-2011. Some Mac owners expressed theirunhappiness online. One irate Mac customer wrote: “I don’t care how much you plan for obsolescence,there is no way that new software should not be backward compatible for at least a couple years.” -7-
  8. 8. www.marketwatch.com2. “Be careful of that app.”Smurfberries—that virtual red fruit that’s the primary source of nutrition for Smurfs—may sound likecheap fun, but costs can add up. Madison Kay, an eight-year-old from Rockville, Md., unwittinglyspent $1,400 buying Smurfberries while playing the game “Smurfs’ Village” on the family iPad, theWashington Post reported. After complaining, Madison’s mother received a one-time reimbursement.These games are available in the App Store and referred to as “freemium.” They’re free to play, butonly for a certain amount of time or before reaching a certain level, says Damon Brown, author ofseveral books on tech culture. Under the tutorship of Papa Smurf, players like Madison are given theoption to buy Smurfberries to unlock Smurfs and growth formulas to build their own Smurf Village.3. “We’re getting in the way.”Checking an occasional Facebook update via iPhone during dinner is the least of some couple’sworries. One in five people reach for their phone as a 21st Century replacement for the post-coitalcigarette, according to a recent report from mobile security company LookOut.It’s just one moreextreme example of how the smartphone has become a third wheel in relationships, says Ursula Ofman,a New York-based therapist. “People find all sorts of ways to get back to their own personal space,she says. “But clearly it’s a problem if someone wants to check their iPhone in the bedroom.”Some people’s relationship with their God is also being interrupted by that familiar buzzing sound intheir pocket—or the pockets of their neighbors in the pews. One in 10 people check their phonesduring religious services, another LookOut survey says. “People don’t even tend to think about any ofthis as a breach of etiquette anymore,” says Chris Young, executive director of The Protocol School ofWashington. “They see their phones as an extension of themselves.”Personal responsibility and manners aside, there are other theories about why people can’t put theiriPhone down. “Apple’s products are addictive,” says Larry Rosen, author of “iDisorder: UnderstandingOur Obsession with Technology and Overcoming Its Hold on Us.” In fact, many users are aware of theirattachment to their iPhones. Some 25% of people see their iPhone as “dangerously alluring” and 41%said losing their iPhone would be “a tragedy,” according to a 2010 Stanford University poll.4. “You may spend more with our devices.” -8-
  9. 9. www.marketwatch.comNot only do Apple’s products tend to be pricier than those of competitors, people spend more usingthem. The average iPhone owner, for example, spends over 10% more on their monthly bills than otherpre-paid smartphone users—$90 versus $81—according to estimates by Morningstar analyst MichaelHodel. Owners of iPads also tend to spend more at ecommerce sites than other tablet users. iPadowners spend $158 per order—the highest order of any device—versus $105 by people on othermobile devices, according to a recent study by RichRelevance, personalized product recommendationcompany.Why the splurge? Some say the iPad feels like a high-end store—the virtual equivalent of Saks FifthAvenue or Barney’s. Others say it’s because the iPad is easy to use: “The iPad is a very intuitive andcompelling product,” says Mark Eisenberg, director at Fino, a technology and consulting firm. “Just likeAmazon’s one-click buy, Apple’s iPad encourages people to make impulse purchases.” Plus, thosewho can afford $499 or more for an iPad are more likely to have higher disposable income than thosewho buy Android tablets, says Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute LLC, a marketing firm.5. “We need another game-changing gadget.”Upgrade fatigue isn’t the only thing critics dislike about Apple’s product rollouts; some say the newproducts aren’t new enough. Investors are growing impatient with Apple’s pipeline and calling foranother tech revolution. It’s time for Apple to shake up the mobile market again, says Walt Piecyk,technology analyst with BTIG brokerage. He says a completely new Apple phone that costs less thanthe $649 starting retail price for the iPhone 4S would be a good start. Other deep-pocketed techcompanies are also poised to compete with the iPhone with their own smartphones. Facebook(NASDAQ:FB) is also reportedly considering developing its own phone and Google(NASDAQ:GOOG) , which bought Motorola last year, is reportedly building its own phone. (Facebookand Google declined to comment.)Apple still has strong iPhone sales, but no company should be so dependent on one mobile phone,Piecyk says. In fact, the iPhone market makes up more than 50% of Apple’s sales, according toresearch by investment bank Piper Jaffray. “Remember when Nokia, Motorola and RIM led the mobilephone market?” he says. “Market share can change very quickly.” Another reason for a phone thataddresses the lower end of the market: the days of carriers offering massive subsidies to consumersare numbered, Piecyk says. If and when that happens, he says most people won’t pay $600 for a -9-
  10. 10. www.marketwatch.comphone. Apple disagrees. A company spokeswoman noted in February that despite its price tag,“iPhone 4S has been an incredible hit with customers around the world.”6. “The iPhone is overpriced—even compared to the iPad.”The iPhone costs hundreds of dollars less than the iPad, but Apple has much higher profit margins forthe phone than the tablet, experts say. Here’s how it breaks down: Apple earned gross margins of upto 58% on its United States iPhone sales between April 2010 and March 2012 and margins of just 23%to 32% on the iPad, according to a statement filed by Apple earlier this month as part of its patentbattle with Samsung Electronics Co. It costs Apple $215 to make the 32GB iPhone 4S—less than athird of the original retail price, according to technology research company IHS iSuppli. But it costs$375 to make the 32GB version of the new iPad, around half the retail price. As a result, consumers arepaying a bigger premium on iPhones than the iPad, says technology consultant Jeff Kagan. “Is theiPhone expensive? Yes,” Kagan says. “It is overpriced? Yes.” Consumers think they pay a cheaperprice for iPhones as wireless carriers absorb two-thirds of the original retail price, he says. However,customers who keep their iPhone and renew their contract after the initial two-year contract expires arepaying a premium for using an old phone, he says.7. “Don’t be fooled by our soft sell.”When Carmine Gallo recently walked into the glass-fronted Apple Store in Pleasanton, Calif., the“concierge” wanted to talk to his two children about what Disney movies they could get on the iPad.Only after he had charmed both children did the employee turn to Gallo. “It was an extremely artfulpiece of salesmanship,” says Gallo, author of “The Apple Experience.” Art dealer James O’Halloranhad a slightly different experience in the San Francisco Apple store when he approached a member ofthe Genius Bar brandishing a broken iPod. “It will make a cool paperweight,” the Genius Bar membertold O’Halloran before promptly offering him a new one.These two stories illustrate two things, experts say: Apple’s staff knows if children want Apple’sproducts their parents will want them too—and they never bombard customers with tech-talk. “Theyalways start off by asking you about your lifestyle and your needs,” says Martin Lindstrom, author of“Brandwashed.” “They emotionally engage you so it’s harder to say no to their products.” Otherelectronic stores focus on price and technical specifications, but are slowly taking a cue from AppleStores, he says. - 10 -
  11. 11. www.marketwatch.comThe gleaming, futuristic store designs are another important piece of Apple’s retail puzzle, experts say.“Entering these spectacular, fantasy retail environments helps people forget about the outside world,”says Tina M. Lowrey, professor of marketing at the University of Texas in San Antonio. “They worshipthe product like they would in a church.” The approach appears to be working: Apple is the top sellerper square foot among major U.S. chains, according to a 2012 survey by market researcher Asymco.For the four quarters to August 2011, Apple sold $5,626 per square foot worldwide versus $330 formall-based stores, the survey found.8. “Our features are falling behind.”Some consumers want Apple’s iPhone to follow the Android market’s lead by bringing out biggerscreens. Nancy Batchelor, a teacher who lives in Washington D.C., recently gave up her iPhonebecause it was too small. “I seriously can’t read anything on that phone,” she says. “I feel old and,worse, large-thumbed.” (She’s 42.) Batchelor has plenty of other options to choose from: MotorolaDroid Razr Maxx and HTC’s One X both have a 4.3-inch display. And Samsung’s SII has a 4.8-inchdisplay—dwarfing the iPhone’s 3.5 inches. She’s not alone. According to review site TechRadar.com:“3.5 inch screens just don’t cut it anymore.”Five years after its launch and several upgrades later, some analysts say the iPhone is starting to feeldated. iPhone users can often be found trying to recharge their batteries in Starbucks, says Yung Trang,president of TechBargains.com. Samsung’s new SIII has a removable battery, allowing consumers tocarry a replacement. What’s more, fans point out that the SIII battery has more power than theiPhone—more than 10 hours talk time versus eight hours for the iPhone on 3G. “The Samsung SIII isthe best iPhone competitor in the space today,” says technology analyst Kagan. In many respects, it’seven better than the iPhone.” For big talkers, the Razr has 21.5 hours of talk time.One of the biggest new features on the iPhone 4S—the voice-activated search engine Siri—has notalways lived up to customers’ expectations. Siri answers questions correctly 68% of the time,according to recent research by Piper Jaffray. (An Apple spokeswoman recently told the media: “Siri isone of the most popular features of iPhone 4S and customers love it.”) That said, Apple continues tohave one big advantage over the competition, say experts: The cool factor. Plus, it has yet to releasethe iPhone 5, which is expected later this fall. But tastes can change quickly. In fact, Samsung recentlyovertook Apple to become the number one smartphone vendor by volume, according to research firmStrategy Analytics. - 11 -
  12. 12. www.marketwatch.com9. “We’ll hook you for life.”Storing digital content like movies, music and books on Apple’s “ecosystem”—the company’scompatible suite of hardware and software—may lock in customers for life. There’s good reason Appleoffers 5GB of memory free on its iCloud virtual storage system , analysts say. “Once you’re in, it’s aone-stop shop,” Fino’s Eisenberg says. Apple’s iCloud is different from other companies’ virtualstorage systems for one critical reason: It works exclusively with other Apple products, while Google’sCloud will work with an HTC Thunderbolt, Motorola’s Droid or any device using Google’s operatingsystem, he says. Meanwhile, there are a range of third party clouds like Microsoft’s SkyDrive andDropbox that allow customers to store files from Microsoft, Android or iPhone.It’s also difficult to transport digital files from iTunes to a third-party device like the Kindle Fire.(Though it’s not impossible: There are other third-party apps like iSyncr and Double Twist designed tomake the transition easier.) Experts say iTunes has other sticky features, too. By rating your library ofmusic on iTunes, for instance, the automatic DJ will shuffle songs and play your favorite music moreoften. But the feature is not transferrable to non-Apple devices. Tech-culture writer Damon Brown sayshe has rated hundreds of hours worth of songs on iTunes, but will lose those ratings if he transfers to aKindle Fire. “I made a commitment to shop with Apple,” he says, “and now I’m stuck with it.”10. “Our fans don’t care if we screw up.”Of course, many customers are happy to be part of Apple’s global community: A Facebook page,“Fans of Apple,” has over 935,000 members. And when it comes to controversy about or criticism ofthe company, experts say the company’s loyal fan base often have a blind spot. Lowrey, the marketingprofessor, compares Apple’s cult-like following among some users to bikers who own Harley-Davidsonmotorcycles. “In the old days these groups didn’t have any way to communicate with each otherexcept in person,” she says. “But today there are online communities that rally around brands.”Indeed, many Apple customers stay loyal to the company even when it disappoints them. Earlier thisyear a group of Apple customers led by Change.org, a for-profit advocacy group, sent a petition toApple imploring it to improve working conditions at its factories, especially in China. However, thegroup’s members said they won’t be discarding their Apple products, or even recycling them. AsSmartMoney.com reported, one organizer at Change.org said: “I love them and I don’t want to stopusing them.” Apple may also have stolen some of its critics’ thunder by being open about its - 12 -
  13. 13. www.marketwatch.comshortcomings. The company released its own report about its factories, admitting that 62% of itssuppliers failed to comply with working-hour limits and revealing that five facilities employed underageworkers. The report, titled “Apple Supplier Responsibility,” stated: “We require that our suppliersprovide safe working conditions” and “treat workers with dignity and respect.”But Apple’s marketing also encourages this tribal following, industry pros say. The company’sborderline “fairytale” or “religious” language also helps stir up passionate support for the brand andupsets people when apple is criticized, says Lindstrom, the branding expert and author, who adds,“Apple knows how to inspire its customers.” Case in point: the company’s website contains thisstatement about the third incarnation of its tablet computer: “The iPad is a magical window wherenothing comes between you and what you love.” - 13 -

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