July 29, 2010

Apple’s iPhone shows the value of strong branding

Buying into Apple's branding.

I have to admit — from the moment I saw the original commercial my inner geek shouted with joy. Not only was the original iPhone the answer to what I had been dreaming about for five years — since walking around with a Palm Pilot and a rather large, uncomfortable cell phone tucked into my pants pocket — but it was also produced by a company that creates intuitive, sexy computers that I’ve been using since college — Apple! This was a dream come true.

Since picking up my iPhone I’ve come to realize something that no marketing professional ever wants to admit — I bought the brand.

Let’s look at the facts: The iPhone is not the fastest phone on the market. It’s only available through AT&T and their network is weak compared to a lot of other providers. The new iPhone features a new higher-resolution camera and video capabilities — but not as good as those of several phones already on the market. Other apps that make the iPhone so cool and fun to play with are also available on other phones.

In short, the iPhone isn’t bigger, better, faster or stronger — it’s simply sexier. And when it comes to cell phones, that’s an important attribute. I’m pretty sure it all started with the Motorola Razor, which, coincidently, would have fit well in my pocket with my Palm. While the new iPhone probably isn’t the best deal on the market, Apple continues to see huge numbers of sales.

So, Apple, in spite of your antenna issues, and accusations against some poor tech bloggers who beat you to your own iPhone 4 launch, I take off my hat to you. I was almost embarrassed to admit to buying so wholeheartedly into your brand. But then this crucial thought came to me: This is the product I waited five years for. It plays movies. It runs apps. It has a built-in GPS. It plays MP3s. It has a video camera. It…well, you get the picture.

And, obviously, so does Apple.

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