Yin/Yang: Apple Inc.
About Yin/Yang: I’ve started a review of companies/initiatives using the premise of two energies, called “yin” (bad) and “yang” (good). I’ve adopted the terms to look at marketing/management and highlight things I feel they are doing well (Yang!), and things leading to destruction (Yin!)
Yang! As masters in Marketing and Product Development, we all can learn from Apple.
- Develop an easy-to-use product – seems like a no brainer right? You wouldn’t think so if you saw the number of products that come out that have an insanely large user manual.
- Design matters – sleek and sexy wins every time. Aesthetics are really important. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
- Market your product highlights, not your company – Apple is the master at marketing their products. The ipod ads evoked emotion, the “Get a Mac” ads were funny and illustrated product features, and the iphone ads showcase interesting aps and ease of use. All were winning ideas that have earned them much fanfare in the advertising and marketing world.
Yin! Apple is their own worst enemy. Learn by doing the opposite of what they have done in these areas.
Don’t undo years of branding through corporate action.
Apple began building its brand equity as a humanizing and empowering computer company back in 1984 with an Ad that referenced Orwell’s 1984. While a bit esoteric for advertising, one message rang clear: “we are the opposite of big brother, the opposite of corporate America – we accept and encourage your individuality.”
The problem is that in recent years, Apple’s actions don’t align with their brand. As a COMPANY they sure don’t act like the friendly, easy going, guy depicted by Justin Long in the “Get a Mac” commercials. When considering Apple’s recent actions, they seem to have more in common with big brother from 1984. Some examples of this include: iphone bricking, attack on Adobe, and the mismanagement of the Iphone 4G prototype leak.
Don’t be an arrogant CEO (or at least stay away from the Media!)
Apple was once championed as the creative hipster “underdog” by the media and consumers, but that has begun to change. Apple’s corporate persona (including its illustrious CEO) is affecting its brand equity negatively – undoing decades of carefully planned advertising, branding and product development.
Steve Jobs is brilliant. He’s a visionary. But he’s no Lee Iacocca; Jobs lacks charisma and often comes off as an arrogant jerk. That’s fine for a dramatic product unveiling, but keep him away from the rest of the media– he’s doing more harm than good.
When Jobs was questioned about the 10 hour battery on the Ipad – He said: “You’re not going to read for 10 hours” – which isn’t really a great way to highlight your product.
That’s like producing an uncomfortable chair and trying to defend it by saying “you won’t be sitting in it 24 hours a day.”
What he should have said: “It may seem like a short amount of time, but 10 hours is more than most netbooks last.”
In a recent flame war with a blogger, the last email Jobs sent said “What have you done that is so great?” to the blogger. Seriously? That’s not fitting behavior for the CEO of a respected company. That’s the behavior of a 12 year old. Also, Don’t get into flame wars with bloggers!
Don’t operate without a mission statement!
Apple’s mission statement on the investor’s page is actually just a brief history of apple’s products. Contrary to popular belief, Mission Statements are not a “marketing ploy” – but rather a “road map for the organization” – Phil Gerbyshak makes a great case for mission statements in his article:
Why do you need a mission statement? To paraphrase the old parable, imagine you’re climbing a ladder in your life, higher and higher you climb, not looking down, just climbing. One day, you look down and you realize you’ve been climbing up the right ladder, but it’s set against the wrong house. The wrong house problem happens because you didn’t set your mission.
Have additional Yins or Yangs for Apple? Let me know in the comments!
Both comments and pings are currently closed.