“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”- Steve Jobs, Think Different (1997)
Steve Jobs not only represents a brand, but actually a generation of users who follow in the footsteps of his creativity. The impact that Jobs has had on everyone’s lives can never be overestimated. Although you’re not always aware of it, his innovations have affected everything around you, from movies, to computers, music and mobile phones.
A lot of people still keep asking: “Why is Apple such a successful brand?” In order to answer this question, we should remember some of Steve Jobs’ key quotes, when he was just a young visionary:
“Marketing is about values. It’s a complicated and noisy world, and we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear about what we want them to know about us.”
And boy, was he right about what we remember! Not only were his products iconic, but they’re also his legacy. The key to Jobs’ success is a combination of quality, innovation, and market strategies that were designed extremely carefully. They were so effective that Apple managed to reinvent products that were already available on the market, and got consumers to think they had never seen anything like them before.
Steve Jobs not only reinvented Apple, but he redesigned and marketed thousands of products that were actually already on the market (e.g. mp3 players). Steve was so brilliant, that even when he was fired from his post as CEO of Apple, it didn’t stop him from returning to his post the second time, and this time increasing their sales.
1) MAKE A GREAT PRODUCT.
Since 1981, we’ve observed success, strategy, inspiration, and innovation. Very few entrepreneurs have managed to accomplish what Steve Jobs did: create an excellent product. From its performance, to the physical space each one occupies, the design, and the beautiful box it comes carefully wrapped in- when you buy an Apple product you know what to expect. For Jobs: (and thousands on his team, of course! After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day, or alone!) product quality comes first and not just a great packaging and excellent marketing strategies. The key is that the product is excellent. In his own words:
“It’s not about pop culture, and it’s not about fooling people, and it’s not about convincing people that they want something they don’t. We figure out what we want. And I think we’re pretty good at having the right discipline to think through whether a lot of other people are going to want it, too. That’s what we get paid to do. So you can’t go out and ask people, you know, what the next big [thing.] There’s a great quote by Henry Ford, right? He said, ‘If I’d have asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me ‘A faster horse’.”
2) DON’T SELL PRODUCTS, SELL DREAMS.
Apple’s strategy involves selling their consumers a global package of dreams, personal experiences, and status, and it makes almost all other products go unnoticed if they don’t carry the Apple logo.
As we said before, Apple managed to reinvent products that were already on the market. You know when you buy an Apple product, you’re not only buying a great piece of modern technology, you’re buying a little piece of ideology to put in your pocket. By carrying it, you adopt the visions that Steve Jobs had: dreams can be fulfilled, take a position in life and stand up for it, don’t squander your life living by someone else’s rules. Be true to yourself. Apple is different from all other brands because for Steve Jobs, consumers weren’t just consumers, they were people. People with dreams, hopes, and ambitions, and he got Apple to create products to help them achieve their dreams and goals.
Apple has always been innovative, from their products to how they market their message. An example is when they launched their famous Apple commercial “1984” (which we can see below). It demonstrated why 1984 wasn’t like”1984″ after it came out. It was like some sort of marketing-event, where the campaign itself was so revolutionary that the media even covered it like an event.
3) FOCUS ON THE EXPERIENCE.
Think different. Think like Nike and Apple. Focus on creating a universe of sensations, experiences, and values that the person gets when they buy your product. Analyze how it feels to use and buy your products, and think about what you need to improve, and what you need to focus on. When you purchase your Apple MacBook Air, you’re not only buying a computer where you can do your work, edit pics/videos, and connect with your friends. You’re buying Apple’s belief that people with passion can change the world and make it a better place.
In Nike’s case, they do sell a commodity, but when you think Nike, you think about the whole experience. When we say Nike, it doesn’t feel like we’re talking about a fleet of factories with the best calibrated machines or a company that just sells shoes, it feels like we’re talking about a lifestyle. Nike represents passion, crossing your limits, training, enduring and accomplishing your goals. Nike doesn’t even mention selling shoes in their ads, and that’s the key to their success.
4) TURN CONSUMERS INTO EVANGELISTS, NOT JUST CUSTOMERS.
One of Apple’s most important strategies is getting the consumer to want to recommend the brand, and without being paid for it. Like other iconic brands such as Harley Davidson, (the great motorcycle company that doesn’t just sell bikes, but rather a subculture, and a lifestyle); Apple users are advocates, sponsors, and fans of the brand. We’ve seen it in the classic fight between designers: which is better for designing computer graphics, Mac or PC? IPhone users preach that its the only option for cellphones all the time, right? Apple users are like evangelists who represent a way of thinking, a new generation, and a mission, something bigger than themselves. They’re part of the team and understand the vision of the company. Sidenote, while Apple managed to get their customers to be really loyal in the most profitable way, that is, by turning them into fans, Harley Davidson meanwhile, actually got them to take it even further: the consumers choose to tattoo themselves with the brand’s logo as a symbol of membership and belonging. Now we’re talkin about brand power!
5) MASTER THE MESSAGE, (and now that we’re on the subject, the delivery too).
You can have a great product but if communication fails, it’s like watching a stand-up comedian do a gig in a completely different language. Jobs gave us some of the best speeches in corporate history. He preached against PowerPoint presentations, saying you only have to use them when it’s really necessary. Mastering the topic, the message, and knowing how to present it without visual aids, speaks much more than a cute drawing created with some elegant color scheme. For large groups, PowerPoint is excellent but Jobs hated when people brought in presentations into meetings, because he saw it as a sign that they didn’t completely dominate the topic they were presenting.
6) DECISIONS SHOULD BE MADE BY A GROUP, NOT A COMMITTEE.
No wonder there aren’t any monuments of committees. Important decisions should be made by a group designated to decision making. A small group who trusts in each other and in their instincts because they are all immersed in the company’s objectives. You should always encourage the team to discuss ideas, but then only leave those most suitable to make the final decisions.
7) FIND AN ENEMY.
Think about Coca Cola versus Pepsi and all their media battles over time. Make it clear who the enemy is, and try to get people to take a side. Choosing sides is part of human behavior and was introduced as an idea by the French social psychologists Gabriel Tarde and Gustave Le Bon. The herd mentality or mob mentality is what happens when the collective consciousness occurs in a group of people influenced and pressured by the masses to adopt certain behaviors, follow trends, and/or purchase products. The desire to belong and to explain the disorder of the world makes consumers feel better about belonging to the ideology of a brand that matches their own thoughts and values. If you don’t stand up for what you believe in, you’ll go unnoticed. And what better way to state what you believe in, than stating clearly what you DON’T believe in?
Apple is well aware of this, so obviously so are its users, and you know it’s been made clear exactly who the enemy is: Bill Gates and what Microsoft brought to market, as Jobs puts it: bad taste. The biggest enemies of Apple are, complexity, lack of good taste, and conventional thinking, all aspects that Jobs made abundantly clear, that Microsoft possesses. Jobs stated: – “The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste. They have absolutely no taste. And I don’t mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don’t think of original ideas, and they don’t bring much culture into their products.” For Jobs, an important part of the development of a product is the aesthetics, and that the homogenous design that represents the brand is a style that you find in absolutely all of their products.
8) KEEP THE DESIGN SIMPLE, AND WHEN YOU GET THERE, SIMPLIFY IT EVEN MORE.
It’s the essence of the coveted Apple products. No other competing product beats their level of simplicity. From the user experience to its aesthetic design and delicate work put in to make their products intuitive. So, one thing is absolutely clear: less is more.
9) YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE THE FIRST, BUT YOU’VE GOT TO BE THE BEST.
As we’ve mentioned a few times, Apple didn’t invent MP3 players, Smartphones, Tablets or computers. However, they did redefine and invest all their efforts to create a world where their products gave us a before and after of new technology. Eventhough other competition was already on the market, Apple took those same products and improved the user experience, navigability, weight, packaging, and distribution channels. They achieved better design, size, they listened, paid attention, and managed to design products that are super convenient to carry with you everywhere you go.
10) INNOVATE OR DIE.
Steve Jobs knew that the key was diving into the user experience and identifying what they need, and what they want. Thinking outside the box, and constantly providing products and services that meet those needs. Apple remains a precursor in the current market, and has recently launched some apps that measure your health and can automate your home with its new iOS 8. The IOS 8 operating system was presented by Tim Cook at conference number 25 for enterprise developers, according to Reuters. The software includes, among others, HomeKit and HealthKit, perfecting the comfortable, simple and practical lifestyle that Apple seeks to provide with their products. Healthkit allows users to control their health and provides them with a data base where their information is recorded along with their info from other fitness related applications. HomeKit, meanwhile, allows the user to control their locks, lights, garage doors, etc.. from the device.
From the Genius Bars to Apple Stores, the vision and personal beliefs of Steve Jobs are alive in the legacy of the coolest products, whose sales efforts reach even the packaging. He believed that you don’t only have to innovate, but you’ve got to think and dream big, believe in something and then fight for it. And if you want to stand out in a highly competitive market, you need to take risks, but mostly you need to be different or else you’ll just blend in with the rest.
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”- Steve Jobs, Think Different (1997).
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post as much as I have