Probably no advertising slogan in the past 20 years so clearly epitomized a company than Apple’s award winning campaign of Think Different ads.
For better or worse, differentiation is a hallmark of product marketing. Those companies that differentiate well, succeed where others do not. Apple’s true key to success is based upon a different perspective, therefore different actions, when compared to competitors.
Apple By Any Other Name
With apologies to William Shakespeare and the tragedy that befell Romeo and Juliet, ‘Apple, by another other name, would be just as successful.’
That’s because Apple doesn’t just dare to think different about product marketing. The company– from executives to engineers to designers and marketers– all buy into the same mantra.
That means Apple constantly works, as a company where the sum is greater than the total of the parts, to create a better way. Or, at worse, a different way that appears to many as better.
Apple seems to view product design as the whole, rather than merely the looks of a product. Simple is better. Less is more. Look at an iMac and compare it to today’s plastic marvels of throw-away design.
It’s as if the entire device is a screen sculpted of an aluminum frame that disappears as you use it. Aluminum is there for a reason. It’s durable and strong. It’s elegant and recyclable. And, it’s a distinctly Apple look that pervades other products.
iPhones and iPads have a light but sturdy feel which evokes quality and no compromise (though everything in product manufacturing is a compromise), thoroughly differentiated from cheaper plastic knock offs.
Nothing More Than Feelings
Far beyond any other competitor in the tech gadget industries, Apple cares more about ‘feel‘ than others. Samsung has had some success by copying Apple’s basic look but fails to capture the less tangible ‘feel‘ inherent in iPhones and iPads.
Only Apple controls both hardware and software to create the differentiated feel of the products, while PC makers, smartphone and tablet makers are left to differentiate their wares from each other but using the same components at every point.
Apple’s attention to detail is rewarded in how each product feels to the customer; Mac, iPhone, iPad. That feel is at the heart of Apple’s success. Without it, Apple would be nothing more than a common purveyor of plastic, wholly undifferentiated from the likes of Samsung, HTC, Dell, or HP.
Think Different, indeed.