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