When Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne started Apple Computer Company in 1976, in the garage of Job’s California based residence, I’m sure they had little knowledge that it would go on to become one of the most successful companies the world will ever see, operating more than 500 stores, generating hundreds of billions of dollars, and employing more than 1.4 lakh people across the globe.
Nearly 45 years since its establishment, Apple Inc. has gone on to become one of the most profitable company the world has witnessed. In fact, as of 2019, Apple falls behind only to 2 companies in terms of profitability. If we talk specifically about the smartphone industry, only 20% of smartphone users are iPhone users, yet Apple accounts for approximately 65% of all the profits in this industry.
But what exactly makes Apple Inc. so successful? Here is my take on this question...
Simplicity and uniqueness: Apple makes its products so unique, yet so simple. Take Apple Pencil for example. Every time you put it down, the engraved “pencil”, along with the apple logo, always comes on top. Go ahead, try it if you have one. This sounds so simple that many times it even goes unnoticed. But in reality, Apple spent months working on this weight distribution technique.
I have another one for you. Just have a look at the box of an iPhone. Apple tested hundreds of prototypes before coming up with a box that opens at a constant velocity. It is not too slow but slow enough that it creates anticipation and excitement of unboxing a new phone. Every product Apple produces somehow tries to make the user experience as simple and as effortless as possible.
Marketing strategy: Apple’s marketing and advertising strategies play a pivotal role in its success. Apple, unlike most of its competitors, is silent for almost the entire year. While other brands make hundreds of promotional posts throughout the year, and on different social media platforms, Apple rarely makes a post promoting its products. It only speaks when it has something big to share. So when Apple talks, the whole world stops to listen.
And when it's finally time to promote and advertise the products, Apple talks about benefits rather than features. If you have seen the launch of any Apple product, you’ll surely agree with me on this. But why do they do this? The answer is not very hard to guess... To make things SIMPLE for users. Take the launch of the first gen iPod, for example. Instead of marketing it as a device that can store up to 5 GB songs, they marketed it as a device that allows users to store 1000 songs in their pockets. This way, even those who weren't very learned technically, were made aware about the benefits of this product and how it could completely change the way they listened to songs.
Much to the dismay of tech savvy individuals, Apple rarely talks about features, but only benefits of using their products. In addition, Apple hardly compares its products to other brands. Instead, you’ll often see them comparing their new products to their previous products and why the new product is better than its predecessors. It is as if Apple is living in a parallel universe where the only tech products are Apple products.
Retaining customers: One thing Apple does better than any other brand in the smartphone industry is retaining customers. In fact, according to Marketing Charts, Apple is the 4th best brand in the world, and 1st in the smartphone market, in terms of customer loyalty. As of 2019, 73% of existing iPhone users planned to stick to Apple for their next smartphone purchase. Such high percentage of loyal customers is an encouraging factor for any brand. However, this does not take away Apple’s ability to attract new customers. In recent years, a significant proportion of Android users have turned into iPhone users. This success can be attributed to the launch of iPhone SE which was designed to target customers belonging to rising income group, who were using Android phones.