Apple’s legion of detractors, professional critics, and holier-than-thou tech pundits who claim to know what’s best for our favorite Cupertino, CA company. My case in point today comes from a contributor to Forbes. Yes, contributor. Not editor. Not writer. Contributor. Isn’t contributor just another name for an unpaid intern?
Brands Are Dynamic
A young writer on Forbes asked the musical question, “Is This the End of the Apple Brand As We Know It?”
You know the rules. If the headline of an article (or a Fox News headline) ends in a question mark, then the answer is ‘no.’ So it is with this Forbes missive.
Why would someone worry about Apple’s brand? After all, it’s considered one of the most valuable brands ever, and at the top or near the top every year for many years.
In this case there’s fear the brand is changing because Apple bought Beats Electronics, which also brought in a couple of executives to help Apple CEO Tim Cook and struggling underling Eddy Cue to shore up Apple’s music biz.
Alright. I get it. Apple is changing. Brands, by nature, are like companies. They’re dynamic and they change over time.
When Apple introduced the iPod in 2001, did anyone complain that the end of Apple’s brand was near? How about when Apple launched iTunes and iTunes Store for Windows users? Did Apple’s brand lapse into a coma?
That Was Then, This Is Now
Did Apple’s brand, however measured (customers, surveys, value, whatever) take a beating when the company launched Macs made with Intel CPUs? Did the brand suffer when the iPhone hit the streets?
You get the idea.
Companies change. Brands change. Apple is no longer Apple Computer, Inc., but plain and simple Apple Inc. That change doesn’t seem to have posed a problem to the brand, because the strength and value of a brand is more a reflection of the recent past, than the immediate future. Beats is not likely to harm Apple’s overall brand value, but might alter what Apple stands for among a new generation of customers.
Apple’s brand has taken some severe hits through the years but remains a valuable part of the company. Remember the Cube? How about MobileMe? Apple’s Maps app? Antennagate? Apple today is not the Apple of 10 years ago, or even five years ago, yet the brand remains one of the most well known brands in the world. The Beats acquisition won’t change that.