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Brandz Apple 01 06(1)

Brandz Apple 01 06(1)

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Published by Bilal Raja

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Published by: Bilal Raja on Jun 04, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Apple was launched successfully in 1976by Founders Steve Jobs and SteveWozniak (“the two Steves”) with thecompany initially growing at a tremendousrate -led by the Apple II and other stateof the art computer products.Apple’s success continued into the mid1980’s. Although following this,circumstances changed. In particular, aninjury to Wozniak necessitated Jobs toemploy a new CEO. Internal tensionfollowed which resulted in Jobs alsoleaving his company in the late 1980’s.The new CEO was ousted in 1993 butfurther leadership changes and internaluncertainty followed -resulting in a lack of company focus up until 1997.
What Apple can teach us about brand revitalisation 
In 1998 Apple was a well known brand butin consumers eyes it lacked strongadvantages on which to choose it abovethe competition –therefore hindering itsgrowth potential. The internal strugglewith company focus outwardly projected alack of clarity around what its brand stoodfor. Within BrandZ™a brand displayingcharacteristics akin to Apple’s at that timeis termed a Defender brand. Defendersoccupy a middle ground in their market –attempting to take on the big playerswhile having to fight off advances fromemerging brands.Apple’s Brand Signature™-a summary of relative strengths and weaknesses versusthe competition -indicated it was strongat presence but poorer at converting thisawareness to loyalty. For many Applelacked relevance -as it was perceived tobe expensive -and worryingly it displayedperformance issues (seen as not easy touse) which contradicted with the ‘userfriendly’core essence that was intended atbirth. A lack of appeal, higher opinion,popularity, advocacy and trend settingimagery all reduced Apple’s perceivedadvantage above the competition.
Out of fashion
While Apple battled with its internalstruggles competitors rose to the newtechnological opportunities on offer. 1998BrandZ™data evaluates Apple’s positionin an IT Hardware context. Plotting itspresence relative to the competitionagainst Voltage™-a measure of thelikelihood to build share –illustrates thepressure Apple was experiencing fromHewlett Packard and IBM but also how itlacked the momentum to grow.
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Apple foundedby Jobs& WozniakLaunch of Apple IIWozniakinjured, Jobsemploy newCEOSteve Jobswalks outCEOoustedFurtherleadershipchangesGrowing at tremendousrate with state of theart productsBad times hit withincreased competitionfrom IBM & Microsoft
 After a successful launch in 1976, leadership changes in the 1980’sto early 1990’s led to a lack of focus at Apple -further exacerbatedby increased pressure from the competition
The new trend
So there was clearly a need to revitaliseApple and the good news was that in 1997Founder Steve Jobs returned to help guidethe company through its recovery phase.One of his most effective early actionswas to re-focus the company strategy andR&D plan back onto the core essence thatmade Apple successful at launch.Essentially he cut 13 R&D projects downto 2 –the G4 chip and iMac which bothfitted with Apple’s original brandproposition of ‘technical’, ‘stylish’and ‘user-friendly’.From that point onwards Apple experiencedthe first profits for years, continuing to thecurrent day with the significant arrival of Ipodin 2003. The success is evident inApple’s share price which has shown a risingtrend since 2003.Through re-focussing, Apple has revitaliseditself into a ‘Specialist’brand –it isn’trelevant to everyone, but very strongamongst a core following. Apple’s 2004Brand Signature™still shows that it isn’trelevant to everyone (and should continue todo so today) however the factors driving thisnow contribute to the brands position ratherthan hinder it. Not meeting everyone’sneeds and not connecting to just any oldcomputer device is something whichsupports its Specialist nature -rather thanthe usage barrier seen back in 1998(whether perceived or real). In 2004 Apple’sadvantages over the competition includeunaided awareness, popularity and trendsetting imagery and for those who love Appleare bonded –it has built solid leadershipcredentials.
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In 1998, Apple displayed characteristics of a Defender brand -well knownbut lacking strong advantages vs the competition.
Apple Signature™BondingAdvantagePerformanceRelevancePresenceSeen as not easy to useSeen as expensiveLacks appeal, high opinion, popularity,advocacy and trend setting imageryBase: IT Hardware UK 1998 (403)Different, but lacks leadershipcredentials
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Steve Jobsreturns toAppleFocussed R&D with 13 projects cut to 2(the G4 chip & iMac). Both fitted withApple’s original core essence of  ‘Technical’, ‘stylish’and ’user-friendly’ and with what made the companysuccessful in the first placeFirst profits for years& continued success
When founder Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 he re-focussed the company’s strategy on the core essence that hadmade it a success originally
Apple foundedby Jobs& WozniakLaunch of Apple IIWozniakinjured, Jobsemploy newCEOSteve Jobswalks outCEOoustedFurtherleadershipchangesGrowing at tremendousrate with state of theart productsBad times hit withincreased competitionfrom IBM & Microsoft
Although recognised as different, in 1998Apple lacked the leadership credentials toentice stronger bonding and really ride thewave in this fast developing market
So since 1998 through focusing its effortsApple has narrowed down who it appeals too-and therefore its presence relative to thecompetition -but by building appeal amongstits core followers Apple now has increasedmomentum behind it to grow share(Voltage™).Driving Apple’s good reputation is a senseof ‘leadership and success’. TheCorporate Reputation Signature measuresrelative strengths and weaknesses across3 broad areas -public responsibility,consumer fairness and leadership andsuccess. Apple’s Corporate Signature™isdefined by strength in leadership andsuccess.Innovation is behind Apple’s leadershipand success –seen as a company thatcomes up with new ideas, is different andleads the way. Image profiles highlightdefining characteristics relative to thecompetition and Apple Computer Inc’sispositive in these ‘innovation’areas.In addition, a 2004 WPP study into thecorporate reputation of 100 major companiesin the UK (called ReputationZ) also showedhow Apple Computer Inc has a goodcorporate image in consumer’s eyes. This isparticularly important for Apple as it is acompany for whom corporate reputation hasa strong relationship with its product sales.

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