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Marketing

Published August 9th 2013

The Success Behind the World’s Least Social Brand

In July 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak embarked on the challenge of marketing their newly created Apple 1, for which the advert looked like this:
Apple 1
How times have changed. Fast forward nearly 40 years and Apple is the world’s most powerful brand, with 47.8 million iPhones, 22.9 million iPads and 4.1 million Macs being sold in one quarter alone.

What really stands out when visiting an Apple store is how sociable the staff are and the high quality customer service they provide you with – and don’t think this has gone unnoticed. There are thousands of pages on Facebook and Twitter created by dedicated fans to express their love and interest in the Apple brand.

Considering that Apple are an overly sociable, innovative and technological company, it comes as a great surprise to many people that they are not yet present on any form of social media, especially as there are millions of fans generating online conversation about them already.

To make this fact even more shocking; the late Steve Jobs spent $100million marketing the iMac, and they continue to dedicate a huge advertising budget to their products.

So why aren’t they on social media, and would it benefit them to be?

Many will argue that it would, after all Brian Solis says we are competing in a perpetual era of “Digital Darwinism”, and you have to compete to survive.

Their silence could create an unnecessary PR crisis that could have devastating effects on a brand.

An example of this being Trader Joe’s, whereby a concession’s product recall was misinterpreted to the public as Trader Joe’s mistake by the media. If they had a Twitter feed they could have set the record straight and avoided a lot of negative press.

But, Apple is an emotional brand with an overwhelming presence and cult following. An emotive brand appeals to a consumer’s needs and aspirations; this video shows emotional branding at its finest, in this case focusing on nostalgia:

This marketing strategy enables the consumer to honestly put themselves into the lifestyle of owning the product. Apple does this particularly well.

Everyone knows someone who will spend fortunes on buying every single product they release (even if it does mean missing a meal or two). But they say that owning these products is a culture, it is a way of living, rather than simply the products themselves.

I'm a mac

Is Apple’s brand personality big enough and established enough to afford not using social media?

Potentially the answer is yes, and that being present on Twitter could present more negatives than positives for Apple.

Firstly, because the brand embodied Steve Job’s personality in recent years, it will be very hard for them to recreate this, and could receive a lot of stick for trying to do so.

While he was alive he never implemented the use of social media for the Apple brand, and they may think this decision should be respected.

Secondly, Apple is a brand that is constantly (and often deliberately) clouded with mystery, especially when it comes to what they will be releasing next, and social media could weaken this visage.

Finally, being the marketing geniuses they are, of course it is unlikely that this decision was made lightly. Indeed, Apple and its products is already one of the most oft-mentioned brands online, even without it having an official presence.

Apple is most likely investing in its advocates’ offline to encourage conversation online – which means they are still able to engage in social listening, social monitoring and gain valuable insights on its consumers’ habits.

Whatever it is doing, it is working somehow, because even if we are not talking about the brand’s presence on Twitter, we are talking about why it doesn’t have one.

 

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