1.0 Background information of Apple 苹果的背景信息
Apple Inc. is a high-tech company in the United States. It was founded in 1976 and it is committed to the design, development and sales of electronic products, computer software, online services and personal computers (Arruda-Filho and Lennon, 2011). Apple has not always been smooth in its development since its birth. In 1985 due to Apple's previous failure of launching products, Jobs, who was its CEO at that time, left Apple. In 1993, due to poor business year after year, Apple's market share has dropped from 20% to 5% (Lazonick, Mazzucato and Tulum, 2013; Kubilay, 2015). After 1997, Jobs returned to Apple and launched a series of successful products, including the introduction of iPod, the iTunes paid music download platform, and later imac iphone, ipad and other products. These successful products let Apple rank No. 9 in the World Top 500 list in 2016 (Filieri and Lin, 2017;Kubilay, 2015). Apple's great success is not only related to its excellent products, but also closely related to its special brand management strategy. The world's largest brand consulting firm named Interbrand released the world's most valuable brand list in 2017. With 1842 billion US dollars in the value of the brand, Apple ranked first (Interbrand, 2017), and this year is Apple's reelection of the throne for five consecutive years in this list, which shows how successful Apple's brand strategy is, study on Apple's brand strategy is a very valuable thing. This essay first of all reviews the theory of brand management strategy, and then according to these theories to analyze Apple's brand strategy to make recommendations on Apple's brand strategy about its deficiencies.
2.0 Brand positioning 品牌定位
From the perspective of brand positioning, Apple adopts focused marketing, namely, Apple positions itself as a high-end electronic technology brand and carries out marketing only towards high-level electronic goods market.
Apple's target consumers are mainly a group young people who pursue fashion and love the trend, of course, there are also some of these high-income, high-level people, to meet the needs of target customers, Apple positions its products as high-end electronic products with powerful functions, it is full of science, technology and hommization, the design has refined and unique personality and taste (Kubilay, 2015).
3.0 Marketing mix 营销组合
Apple is always in a certain range of costs to continuously improve products, services to meet customer demand for Apple products or services (Kubilay, 2015). For example, a simple MP3 can be transformed by Apple and make it become an iPod, the simple and personalized shape, powerful features and user-friendly settings will make almost every young people be willing to have an iPod. As Apple's product strategy over the years in the minds of consumers, Apple's products mean innovation, personality and hommization, excellence (Lazonick, Mazzucato and Tulum, 2013; Kubilay, 2015), when Apple achieves its success, almost every enterprise has began to study it and expects to imitate its success, some of the enterprises’ products also did make a lot of progress, but Apple's long-term accumulation of product reputation is difficult to be imitated and beyond by the competitors, it always has a part of the very loyal consumers (Truong, Klink, Simmons, Grinstein and Palmer, 2017; Kubilay, 2015).
From the price point of view, Apple's product price is positioned in the high-end market, price of Apple's products is 15% -50% higher than price of similar products of its main competitors, and Apple has a strict control of the discount rate and frequency of price cutting, consumers are difficult to buy Apple products with too low price in the market (Kubilay, 2015). Apple's high-end pricing strategy and Apple’s brand positioning are consistent, while Apple's restrictions on the discount ensure both Apple’s market positioning and the interests of consumers, so that consumers who have purchased Apple products will not regret the purchase because of Apple’s over-discount.
One of Apple's most important sales places is its store. However, Apple's store is not just a place to sell its products, it is also a place to promote Apple's brand and image. It is decorated in fashion, it is arranged like a modern museum which provides consumers with personalized service, where consumers can get what they need related to Apple products (Azize, Cemal and Hakan, 2012; Kubilay, 2015), and the service personnel try to meet consumer demand rather than rush to persuade consumers to buy and cause consumers’ resentment, consumers here can get a great consumer experience (Arruda-Filho and Lennon, 2011; Kubilay, 2015), Apple's store becomes a window for consumers to feel Apple products and services, it has also become a platform to promote Apple's brand image, what consumers acquire in Apple stores is not just Apple's products and services, and Apple acquires the consumers’ satisfaction and loyalty to the brand.#p#分页标题#e#
Apple is not only unique in product innovation, its brand communication means are also unique. For example, all of its product boxes are stylish and small, they look very warm and attractive; material of the surface is smooth and easy to be touched, indicating Apple brand's high-end, stylish and refined characteristics (Filieri and Lin, 2017; Kubilay, 2015).. Apple's advertising is also everywhere. In the CBD of all big cities around the world, there is a huge advertising show of Apple. Its advertising idea is also evocative, Apple uploads it to YouTube or social media, then users can play again and again, in addition, Apple generally chooses high-priced, high-quality advertising media, including fashion magazines and the world professional baseball tournament etc., its advertising never appears in low-cost media. Apple's advertising spending for each fiscal year is so high that its global advertising costs is more than $ 500 million (Montgomerie and Roscoe, 2013; Kubilay, 2015).
4.0 Brand equity 品牌资产
This section analyzes Apple's brand equity based on brand equity pyramid theory.
4.1 Brand identity
Apple's logo is an apple bitten, this logo is recognized as one of the world's best signs. The logo is simple and stylish, which is consistent with the appearance of its products. Using a bitten apple rather than an entire apple as a sign breaks people's habitual thinking and reflects Apple's innovative spirit, people-oriented spirit. Apple's logo change the past kind of cold brand image of science and technology products, consumers can easily distinguish between Apple’s logo and logos of other electronic products.
4.2 Brand meaning
Because of Adam and Eve’s story, as well as Newton's story, Apple was widely remembered, Apple uses an apple as a sign, showing that Apple's brand meaning is that their products will have a huge impact on the human society, like what those stories did, to change people's way of life. Apple's success has also confirmed that their brand meaning is true, so Apple is also considered to be the third important apple after Adam and Eve’s, Newton’s apples in the history of mankind, which is undoubtedly the biggest praise for the Apple brand.
4.3 Brand response
Apple's marketing strategy makes their products become one of the world's best-selling products, consumers have a lot of positive response for the Apple brand, such as: Apple product repair rate is low, so that consumers know Apple's quality is one of the best; Apple's design and software system let consumers know that Apple products are stylish and user-friendly products with high-tech. Of course, Apple's price strategy also allows consumers to understand that Apple is a high-end electronic product brand.
4.4 Brand relationship#p#分页标题#e#
Among all electronic products, consumers have the highest loyalty to Apple brand, consumers are more willing to spend more money to buy Apple's products, in many places, Apple is not just an electronic product, it also represents a kind of attitude towards life, personality and taste sought after by consumers.
5.0 Brand extension 品牌延伸
According to Ansoff Matrix to analyze, Apple takes product development strategy, that is, it introduces a new generation or related products to existing customers to improve the market share of Apple.
An important feature of Apple’s brand extension is that when it introduce a new product, it can be linked with other Apple products to ultimately form so-called apple ecology. When Apple introduces a new product, it is through the brand extension strategy to integrate the new products into its brand overall development strategy, which directly makes its loyal customers focus on the new product, greatly reducing the publicity cost when the new product is launched in the market initially (Lazonick, Mazzucato and Tulum, 2013; Kubilay, 2015). Relying on the influence of its existing brands, Apple brings its new products to market, through the brand extension to increase its brand market coverage, so that more consumers contact, understand its brand, thereby further enhancing the brand awareness. For example, it created the business model of combining iPod, iPhone, imac with iTunes, which brings users an unprecedented experience to use at the same time, but also improves customer loyalty to Apple (Filieri and Lin, 2017; Kubilay, 2015).
Another feature of Apple's brand extension strategy is that it does not have sub-brand, it launches all the products with a unified logo, products of all of its categories, from the computers to the headsets, whether it is product shape, function, user-friendly design or price, aim at high-end market demand and consumption characteristics, such a brand extension strategy shows that Apple is a producer of high-end electronics, its produced products, even a small headset is high quality, which is consistent with the brand positioning and brand equity.
6.0 Market extension 市场拓展
In the implementation of global brand globalization strategy, at the same time, Apple has adopted a global localization strategy, that is, to ensure that Apple's top brand image and culture in the world, while in the brand promotion and publicity, it pays attention to combining Apple's brand culture with local cultured, making the Apple brand be more easily accepted by local consumers (Kubilay, 2015; Montgomerie and Roscoe, 2013).
For example, in the era of Jobs, Apple smart phones provide consumers of different international cities with different fonts, such as in London, the users use old-fashioned serif font, and in Venice, the users use the art font, while in Geneva, they use Swiss serif font. In iOS 9, Apple's SIRi features were upgraded and optimized, and the SIRI system is not only able to identify the different languages of consumers in different countries, but also able to identify the spoken language of consumers in different regions of a same country. In addition, Apple is based on local language habits to adjust some of the name of the system, for example, Apple changes the "Trash" folder in mail application into "Rubbish". Because in general, Americans are more inclined to use "trash", while in other countries and regions, they may be more accustomed to using "rubbish". Apple’s these localized strategies are not just a simple behavior to please the local consumers, these actions also reflect the Apple’s brand image that from the era of Steve Jobs, it has always insisted on excellence and customer first. Apple's global localization strategy successfully allows the global consumers to experience Apple's brand culture, which is also an important reason for Apple's being recognized and accepted by consumers of different cultural backgrounds as a world's brand.#p#分页标题#e#
7.0 Justification of Apple’s brand strategy 苹果品牌战略的正当性
The success of Apple’s brand strategy is mainly reflected in three aspects. First, its brand strategy, including marketing mix, brand positioning and brand equity and other aspects of decisions help it to find the most valuable consumers and target markets for Apple to bring objective economic benefits and influence. Second, its brand strategy has a strong integrity, and each brand decision is consistent with its overall brand strategy, such as its brand extension strategy, product strategy, price strategy and its brand positioning strategy are consistent. Finally, its brand strategy has a strong consistency, since its inception, there is no big change in its brand strategy, which makes Apple's brand image be deeply implanted in the hearts of consumers’, and it also cultivates a large number of loyalty consumers for Apple.
Overall, Apple's brand strategy is successful, the success makes Apple become one of the world's most famous brands, the success of Apple's brand strategy is worth of learning by other enterprises. There are other advantages and disadvantages of the Apple brand, which needs to be further explored in the future researches.