Lessons from Apple: Turn Your Brand into a Lifestyle
This post comes from INK intern Vi Tran.
On Aug. 28, Apple released an invitation to the media and loyal fans that read, “9.9.2014” printed in typical san-serif font, followed by “wish we could say more.” The cryptic nature of the invite caused a stir across all digital outlets ranging from top names to brand advocate blog posts.
For the past year, consumers have been anxiously waiting and asking, “when will the iPhone 6 be released?” “Is the iWatch actually a thing?” On Sept. 9, questions will be answered, but in Apple fashion, mystery will loom over the tech community until then.
A lifestyle brand embodies the interests, attitudes and opinions of a group. In a sense, a lifestyle brand has established its own culture. A consumer who uses the product or service is reinforcing his or her identity by using that product or service. When developing your brand image, keep in mind the four main ways to position yourself as a lifestyle brand.
Since the original 1984 ad that captured the intrigue of the mass public, Apple has continued a branding effort that focuses on simplicity, innovation and style. When one thinks of a typical Apple product user, the image of a trendsetter who is cool and creative comes to mind.
When developing a strategy to innovate your own brand, ask yourself, “When someone thinks about my brand, what images come to mind? What do I want them to imagine?” An alternative thinker? An entrepreneurial spirit? Or the next-door neighbor who will lend you a hand?
Once your brand has demonstrated its impact on the industry, everyone watches more intently – waiting for the latest release. When Apple announces a product, not only do tech writers want to cover it, but organizations are also paying attention because Apple’s products may also impact and influence their business decisions. The recent release of HomeKit for iOS 8 attracted the eyes of developers and journalists alike.
When developing a product or service, think about how it can potentially integrate into other systems and how it can position you as a thought leader in your targeted space. Have you built a product that positions you as a thought leader? Have you branded your product or service in a manner that allows you to become an expert within your industry?
Functional and Cool
The success of Apple is not solely based on the design of its products, but also its functionality. Whether you are an advocate of the brand or not, one thing remains true: the synchronization of all Apple products is seamless, and the lightweight design allows for easy transportation.
Does your product or service have a quality that is functional, efficient or versatile? Show it off in your branding. Make sure you let your consumers know that your product is not only well-designed, but also fits into your lifestyle.
Your People = Your Biggest Advocates
If you walk around Apple’s Cupertino HQ, you’ll notice no one has a cover for his or her devices. The risk of a cracked screen may be high, but for employees, a protective cover ruins the aesthetics of the product. When asked how they feel about the brand? “I live Apple.”
Are your employees passionate enough about your product or service that they will live it too? If you want to succeed as a lifestyle brand, make sure your internal publics also believe in your message. Brand advocacy starts from within an organization.