Like many people, I really like the emotional TV ads Apple is running showing average people getting fit and healthy, caring for their kids and so on. But it struck me that ‘average people’ is not what Apple is about. For years Steve Jobs positioned Apple as the brand for those who, quite literally, think different. He famously narrated the crazy ones Ad which said:
Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Now, look again at the current TV ads and you will see a lot of average people. What Steve knew was that we don’t aspire to be average. If Apple = average then it’s not a good outcome. He knew we aspire to stand out and perhaps even be exceptional. Now in a world where almost everyone has a smartphone and a big percentage have an iPhone, that does create a challenge. But I’d argue that Apple needs to get back to ‘Think Different’ instead of making Apple a warm and emotional brand that lacks edge. This is the brand Samsung has built and isn’t… well, different.
Apple will sell a boat load of iPhone 6s when they appear this fall. But I suspect they’ll sell a lot more if people view Apple as an aspirational brand rather than a household brand. But maybe I’m the one who’s crazy!