In 2018, Apple became the first American company to exceed $1 trillion in market capitalization, in 2020 it doubled. It wouldn’t have happened if the company didn't do an incredible job in marketing its products. Apple doesn’t really invent anything fundamentally new as it used to, but it does sell its gadgets like no one else on the market. Of course, the quality and convenience of what they do are on point, but marketing is what I admire Apple for in the first place. Steve Jobs managed to build a brand that still remains one of the strongest ones to this day. No one can replicate his legacy but it’s possible to learn some lessons. Here I wanted to share his best marketing principles that you can apply to your own company or personal brand.
Don’t Sell Features
“We don’t stand a chance of advertising with features and benefits and with RAMs and with charts and comparisons. The only chance we have of communicating is with a feeling.”
The best you can learn from Apple’s co-founder is, in my opinion, to sell emotions, not features. Steve perfected it in Apple and we can still see his influence to this day.
You don’t buy an iPad to draw or watch movies, Apple sells a belief that people who buy an iPad will be able to learn, express themselves, and change the world anywhere they go with an iPad. Oh, and yeah, you can watch movies there too.
But how do you achieve this level of product’s value? You will have to set a goal of what feeling you want to achieve and work backward. Your features should also align with the belief you sell, for example: if Apple says that an iPad is a device that will help us to study, work, play everywhere we go, it should be portable, i.e. compact, thin, and light. iPad achieves that, which makes customers believe in its portability.
You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology — not the other way around.
Another way to show the emotions or experience customers will get from a certain product is to make it obvious in the commercials or social media channels. If you share your values properly, people will start to inevitably associate a brand with how you run your Instagram page. Commercials work similarly, if your ad is full of young people, the brand will be associated with this demographic. Or maybe you will show that your product is made with love and attention to detail, this will help customers take a look behind the scenes and trust you more. Setting values through your ads and social media will make a big difference if you are in a highly competitive niche where the product is more or less the same, like coffee. You can set a price that will be your unique selling point, but if you justify it with your views through social media (If it’s relatively expensive, explain why it is so, for example, highest quality, best atmosphere), then people will have an easier choice between you and another coffee shop across the street.
A different way to show your values is through collaborations. For example, Nike sponsoring athletes, or Apple collaborating with artists like Selena Gomez, Drake, or Taylor Swift. Brand ambassadors also make a difference. What would you associate a brand with if George Clooney was the ambassador vs if it was Billie Eilish? Completely different images. That’s why it’s important to understand what will an ambassador bring to your brand.
Build a Tribe
Turn Consumers Into Evangelists, Not Just Customers.
People who buy Apple products are not just customers, they are treated differently. The culture behind Apple evolved through the years. The anticipation before an Apple event is unique, the hype after the new iPhone’s release is just unlike any other product in the world. By turning people who buy your stuff into fans, it automatically becomes a free tool to make your brand more recognizable.
We always wanted to belong, we are social animals, it’s our nature to be a part of a tribe. Whether it’s personal or company brand building, it’s clear that the most successful ones are a community, I think that we can see it in a lot of car brands, like Porsche or BMW where car owners are true fans of the brand. And people like to be a part of a community, especially if it’s easy to become a member. Because Steve Jobs managed to make a strong brand, now people who like Apple are actively sharing news, facts, and waiting for events that are now a yearly tradition. It’s hard to build a tribe around you, but it pays off.
Show Who You are Selling To
Apple is famous for its unique commercials. One thing that I find interesting about them (apart from the filmmaking and editing) is that they are constantly telling who are their customers. They are selling their products to artists, professionals, creative people, and those who think differently. Just look at this commercial, it clearly shows who uses MacBook. Or this one, where you can see creative people behind the Mac, -“There is a certain kind of person who doesn’t wait for greatness, they make it”. As I mentioned before, we love to associate ourselves with something, Apple uses these commercials to show who are the products made for, it also helps to build up that brand image.
Perhaps the most important thing about Apple products is that they are really easy to use. And this alone is a unique selling point that got Apple the first place in tech. It is easy to use from the moment you buy it. You don’t need to wait in a queue in the Apple store, no one rushes you, spend as much time in the store as you want to. When you open the box, it’s incredibly easy to set up an iPhone. MacBook turns on itself when you first open the laptop. iCloud makes it easy to sync all of your devices with each other. And buying a new product is as easy as using them. People don’t buy AirPods because of the sound, they just work seamlessly with an iPhone and other Apple devices, that’s it. Maybe you can’t design your products as Steve Jobs did for Apple, but you can get rid of friction. Make the experience of buying your product frictionless and enjoyable, people will choose you over the competitors who didn’t prioritize this.
Another thing that can win your competition is the relationship with the customer. One friend of mine told me how she stopped going to a store where the staff was rude to her, and she would rather walk farther just to go to another store. And I think that setting the customer relationship above all else is vital. Steve Jobs also set this value and we can still see how Apple treats their customers. I won’t go in-depth into this because Apple really tries to get the best experience for customers possible, from their stores to their services or support, it’s simply pleasant when a company tries to help you with your problem and treats you as an individual.
We can see how brands all over the world are trying to replicate what Apple has done. If you want to get your company to the next level, then you can use the strategies Steve Jobs used to make his company the greatest:
Build a community around your products.
Show who you are making your product for.
Make it frictionless.
Customers above all else.
People often say that Steve Jobs didn’t do anything in the company except marketing, even if it is so, he absolutely nailed it. Apple is criticized for the price of their products, but I think that when you get this type of convenience, customer support, quality, and emotions, it’s worth paying for.
“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” — Steve Jobs
Article originally published to Medium
Written by Rufat Rassulov