The Cult of Apple: Should We Be Surprised that the iPhone5 is Destined for Success?
By Gene Marbach
For the past several weeks, my daughter Sarah has been anxiously awaiting the day when she could pre-order the Apple iPhone5. I’m sure she wasn’t the only one to constantly check the company’s website for details on its launch. With abackground in technology, she is an avowed Apple fan and owns many of the tech giant’s gadgets.
What causes such customer loyalty? Is it the hype that surrounds the company? The company’s cool marketing approach? Perhaps, however, you have to deliver on those promises… and Apple delivers which has led to the creation of the “Cult of Apple” with its legion of fans and followers around the world. This is a company that has taken the term “brand loyalty” to a new level.
It appears that the iPhone5 will be another homerun for the company. While I won’t delve into the technical aspects of the product (I’ll leave that to the “geekazoids” as they’ll do it better than I ever will), I note that, as this is being written, Goldman Sachs has raised its target price for Apple to $800 on the heels of the iPhone5’s introduction.
Apple is quite a bit more than hype and showmanship… The secrets to the company’s success are really not all that secret.
Let’s unveil some of them…
- “Gotta Have It Products” – Try walking into your firm’s graphics department and announcing that the firm will be dispensing with all Apple products. You’ll be lucky to escape alive. In addition to the above reference about my daughter, I’ve watched in wonder as my three-year old granddaughter plays a game on her dad’s iPad. The point: Apple creates products that become “must haves” and traverse generations of users.
- “Make Them Pretty and Functional” – Apple is noted for its design. Its products are sleek and elegant and stand out. The new iPhone sports a larger screen, which may benefit older users. Their stores are also a study in economy of design, smartly appointed to allow customers to try out their products.
- Quality and Customer Care – Face it, unless you’re one of the aforementioned “geekazoids,” you will have computer issues. The quality of Apple products is top flight and so is the customer support. The stores have people who actually know what they’re talking about (compare that to most retail operations). I can illustrate the value of customer support with a story: my daughter was having difficulty linking her HP printer to her Mac book. She called HP only to be told that they don’t support Apple – end of conversation. She called Apple and the fellow said, “I really shouldn’t be doing this, but…” He spent considerable time and succeeded in helping her. The point: Check the price of Hewlett-Packard’s stock for the answer.
- Management Bench Strength – Remember all of the pundits who were wringing their hands about the future of Apple following the death of founder Steve Jobs? The company has continued to grow under the leadership of Tim Cook. Apple appears to have a deep pool of capable managers committed to the company’s vision.
- “Swing for the Fences” – Apple under the late Mr. Jobs showed no fear of failure. And, while the company did have a number of failures, the home runs far outweighed the strikeouts.
I guess it comes down to a few things… Anticipate customer needs. Build quality products. Differentiate through design. Love your customers and they will love you. And do it all with attitude…