Apple Inc. is a global company specializing in consumer electronics such as PCs, computer software, and commercial servers. Besides, the company divested the distribution of digital media content through its innovative iTunes Music Store in 2003. Its core products include Macintosh Computers, I pads, tablet PCs, iPhones, and iPod portable media players. The company has also gained a reputation for its iOS range of smartphones. Through its new designs and innovations, the sleek product models have managed to constantly keep the brand on top of the market (Interbrand., 2019). Apple’s brand awareness is aggressively high and enhanced owing to its users’ positive expTecherience (Massad & Carr, 2017). The study proposes looking at Apple’s brand perception through an elusive and complex lens to determine consumers’ view of the brand by depicting how it currently ranks as compared to its core competitors. Further, the investigation will ascertain the overall position of the brand by depicting whether its current market share is stable, improving, or declining.
Having been founded in 1976, Apple has grown to be one of the most successful brands globally and has attained admirable perception from consumers who view its product portfolio of products s the best due to its groundbreaking product lines. The company is renowned for its innovative and user-friendly products, which has given it a competitive edge over other firms in the electronics market (Dissanayake & Amarasuriya, 2015). Moreover, the company’s brand equity has a high reputation owing to its distribution and marketing strategies. In 2012, the company ranked among the top companies by trading volume and market capitalization of about $630 billion, making it leger than Microsoft and Google combined (Anantachart & Tangsritrakul, 2019). Since then, the electronic giant has maintained its innovation and production of high-quality products that differentiate it from other companies hence a competitive edge.
Underpinned by innovation, the launch of the iPhone has been the most definitive of the company’s success. It has enabled several attributes to make the iPhone a top smartphone brand, including its reliable OS, innovation, intuitiveness, coolness, stylishness, uniqueness, ability to multitask, and retina display (Gabl et al., 2016). iPhones have been successful in the market as they have fetched premium prices. At the time iPhones were launched, Blackberry was its main competitor. Blackberry phones operated on the Blackberry OS were among the most sophisticated and savviest technologies for networking. However, the company needed to maintain its reputation and elite positioning, which gave room for android based OS companies like Samsung to bolster its market reach. Currently, Samsung is the chief competitor of Apple in both smartphone, and I pad categories due to its features and specifications that are loved by its users (Massad & Carr, 2017). Moreover, most of Samsung’s products are more affordable than Apple’s; hence the former is reaping big from its price differentiation strategy.
Apple sells its products through outlet stores and retailers like Best Buy, Target, and Walmart, besides its online presence via its website, iTunes store, and Apps store. Gabl et al. (2016) note that the variety of distribution networks for browsing and buying products makes it very convenient and easy for consumers to acquire iPhones. The communication strategy adopted by electronic brands mainly focuses on the features and benefits of its products, which they have leveraged well to attract their consumers (Interbrand, 2019). Being the most valuable tech company globally, it is symbolized by a bitten apple which is the icon of its products. Although its price is higher than its competitors, iPhone’s sleek design, uniqueness, stylishness, and high performance make it loveable among consumers (Massad & Carr, 2017).
Product and Service Idea
It is not surprising that the iPhone has been a dominant force in the electronic industry since its launch. Its ability to multitask and multi-usage make it suitable for communication, internet access, and multimedia in the form of music, photos, and videos. Besides how the company packages its products, the simplicity of its branding and the features and functions of the iPhone is an indispensable experiences (Dissanayake & Amarasuriya, 2015). Despite evolving and producing new products, Apple has maintained its brand experience and promise to its consumers (Martin, 2022). The consistency, which has been extended by fresh ideas and innovativeness that has seen the brand continuously improve, adapt, and evolve with the needs and values of the customers, is among the company’s key strengths. iPhone users have among the best user experiences compared to android OS providers like Samsung, which has led to brand loyalty.
The company is product-driven; it develops its products and then finds a market for them. Social media marketing is a tool that the company has effectively leveraged to tap into its target market. The company’s sleekness and unique designs fit the younger tech-savvy generations who like cool essential gadgets and defining technological innovations like iPhones. Generation Z has a strong brand awareness of Apple’s products and a high-income level and can afford iPhones (Orazi et al., 2017). The youths also love the products since they come with powerful in-built apps suitable for the vast array of functions they wish to perform. The developer platform is also handy as it gives the users the power to create solutions that make everything possible for them (Martin, 2022). Additionally, the tech giants have a strong online presence, including blogs, Myspace, Facebook, and YouTube, where they rigorously share various content and interact with their customers.
Other firms in the consumer electronics sector create stiff competition, especially those that offer smartphones and tablets and significantly lower prices. Nonetheless, the company has perceived healthy competition and has stuck to its quality products with premium offerings (Dissanayake & Amarasuriya, 2015). Its strategy of offering great products is based on offering quality products without considering the quantity. The move is unlike other companies with very diversified product mixes, which churn out several products and models in very short durations (Anantachart & Tangsritrakul, 2019). Apple focuses on selected products that they continuously enhance rather than producing several variants within similar categories. For instance, there are only iPhone 20 and iPhone 20 plus as opposed to Samsung A series smartphones, which consist of about 15 different phone models. Considering numbers and unit sales, companies like Samsung perform better than Apple. Samsung’s larger market share only offers mere competition and is not a threat to Apple, which is known to be a premium brand and producer of quality products.
Apple is well-positioned in that it takes advantage of resultant trends and opportunities presented by the digital economy. With its product differentiation, the brand positioning of the iPhone is such that it presents versatility and convenience for both personal and professional uses (Massad & Carr, 2017). Every mention of Apple brings about the idea of quality and innovation. The culture of innovation is seen in its product and its employees, who are strongly encouraged to think outside the box to come up with breakthrough ideas (Merlo et al., 2014; Massad & Carr, 2017). It has been central in keeping the company at the front of the consumer electronic industry and allowing it to attract and retain customers. The company gets several preorders even before a new product is released to the market, regardless of the high price tags attached to the products. Furthermore, people crowd around Apple’s retiling stores every time a new product is launched, which suggests its strong product strategy.
The consumer electronic sector is dynamic and subject to continuous changes and demands. Most companies have responded by coming up with new products. However, Apple is more concerned with improving its products through updates than venturing into new products (Dissanayake & Amarasuriya, 2015). It is evidenced by the regular updates and refreshed scheduled by the company. The updated versions have similar features to the older versions with improvements that optimize their functionalities and correct their shortcomings. As such, iPhone 20 plus is not a new product but a much-improved version of the iPhone 20. The changes have resonated well with iPhone users who appreciate the firm’s commitment to continuously improving their products (Orazi et al., 2017). It has also attracted potential consumers enabling the company to increase its market share.
Design is the foundation of the development of Apple Inc. as a company. The business is about only settling for the best, reflected in its excellent products. Also mutually supportive of the brand are its values, personality, and identity. The company’s branding strategy is based on emotions, and its personality is about regaining liberty, innovation, imagination, lifestyle, and the power they gain by using revolutionary technology (Anantachart & Tangsritrakul, 2019). On the other hand, its personality instills a sense of simplicity through a people-centered product design attained through the company’s emotional connection to its consumers. In s much s the company is generating revenue, the most important thing for them is consumer engagement and satisfaction.
Apple’s model has never been about being direct to the consumer, although it leverages people’s points of view in designing its products. Instead, the company’s guess of what its consumers need is driven by studying the market and technological advancements (McElhearn, 2019). For this reason, it has been slow to respond to micro changes, feedback, and hype cycles and takes time to rush its products into the market (Martin, 2022). The company has also benefitted from having a loyal customer base who trust it to get devices that will meet their preferences, and when that is not the case, there are further improvements in consequent versions.
The company’s retail side is defined by vertical integration that gives it unique opportunities to control its brand experience and achieve desirable journeys for its customers. Part of the retail programs includes educating and training prospective and existing consumers on the various products and services in Apple’s ecosystem. Taking advantage of both online and offline distribution channels, Apple products are sold through their physical store locations, online stores, and company-owned websites (Forbes, 2019). Its distribution network also involves telecom firms like AT&T and Verizon that deal with iPhones. There are also authorized dealers in other online stores non-affiliated with the company, such as eBay and Amazon.
Apple’s promotional strategies are among its most fascinating aspects. Marketing strategies from its competitors focus on the product’s new features, quality, price, and performance. In contrast, Apple is barely not a functional brand and does not involve itself with the product concerning its users but instead with what the product says about its users when they choose to use its products (Orazi et al., 2017). The company chooses to conceal most of the information and specification on its products which makes people excited about them and builds anticipation as consumers prepare for launch. Sales promotions, advertisements, public relations, and personal selling are some of how the business promotes its range of products. Sales promotions are mostly in stores and performed by authorized dealers. The ads are run on prominent websites. At the same time, personal selling is directed at furnishing consumers with information to purchase, and public relations is about building the company’s brand image.
Apple’s pricing strategy is hinged on both premium and freemium pricing strategies. The former refers to selling its products at a price higher than the usual market value. Apple products fetch premium prices s compared to its core competitors like Samsung. However, due to product differentiation, innovations, and the uniqueness of their electronics, price variations are not an issue for their consumers (Orazi et al., 2017). On the other hand, the latter is where users get certain features and functionalities of their products for free but have to pay more to access advanced features.
Apple employs the Net Promoter Score (NPS) index, which determines the willingness of its user to recommend its products and services. It measures the customers’ experiences using the brand and predicts the growth of the business. It is beneficial for the sales team as it restricts them from cross-selling or selling up to consumers who are not interested in purchasing other products (Fisher & Kordupleski, 2019). NPS will be an appropriate measure of the consumers’ perception. Moreover, as an indicator of growth, it is the best way to gauge customer experience and management. The index can also be used to measure customer scores, their feedback after specific interactions with the brand or after certain events like product releases, and determine how customer sentiment shifts over time (Hamilton et al., 2014). However, it should complement other metrics and insights to provide better and more comprehensive consumer experience performance.
Another measurement technique is the product engagement score (PES). PES determines how engaged the consumers are with the product offerings, assuming that higher engagement is synonymous with higher levels of satisfaction (Crofts, 2020). As opposed to NPS, which relies on product user surveys to obtain data on satisfaction, PES is obtained by averaging retention, feature adoption, and stickiness. The result is a single score that is easy to track over time, creating a temporal picture of overall product performance, which is pertinent in reflecting on future actions like upgrades and renewals and reducing churn (Crofts, 2020). Furthermore, since it lacks the survey element, it is not subject to any unintended bias from survey processes.
The study delved into Apple’s brand audit, product offering, position, and execution. The analysis has determined factors that give Apple a competitive edge over its competitors like Samsung. With loyal customers and a well-position brand, the electronics giant is leading a saturated consumer electronics industry by redefining its gadgets through product differentiation. The consumers’ experience while using its products is another factor that has helped build brand loyalty. By keeping its users satisfied, the brand resonates well and is memorable among its consumers. From the study on Apple, it is imperative to note that it is important to create products that the customers can relate to and feel a part of. The ability of Apple to keep its products simple and intuitive has set it apart from other tech giants. Moreover, it spells out the necessity of having several strategies in place that act to keep the brand competitive.
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Martin, U. R. (2022). Apple Brand Loyalty: How Customer Loyalty Can Lead to a Competitive Advantage By Ronan Martin September 19, 2017 August 4th, 2022 No Comments 7 min read.
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