Whether you're on a crowded New York City street or driving through rural Canada, the Apple logo is unmistakable. Whenever you see an iPhone or a Mac, you'll instantly know who made it.
Apple has achieved more than just technical dominance. The company has managed to achieve what many dream of – global brand awareness and a legacy that will long outlive anyone in the world.
However, this type of success doesn't come overnight and is difficult to replicate. So what's the secret apple sauce? This is what we think.
A clear mission
Apple did not find success by accident. The company made it very clear from the start how it should influence the world. An article on The Balance Everyday explains that, according to David Andrew, founder of Interbrand Pacific, who is also a noted marketer, Apple's first mission statement was:
Apple is committed to empowering people – making personal computing accessible to everyone to change the way we think, work, learn, and communicate.
The company has adhered to this principle to this day. The narrow focus was evident in 1997 when Steve Jobs said that "innovation says no to 1,000 things".
When Jobs went on vacation in 2009, then-incumbent CEO Tim Cook (who is still the company's head today) echoed those thoughts. As quoted in the same article from The Balance Everyday, Cook said:
We believe in saying no to thousands of projects so that we can really focus on the few that are really important and meaningful to us. We believe in close collaboration and cross-pollination among our groups that allows us to innovate in ways that others cannot.
Even if Apple never does anything else again, the fact that you can access the internet from anywhere – with a device that fits in your hand – means that the mission is accomplished.
Because Apple knows how it wants to affect the world, its products, strategy, and everything else are a lot easier to create.
Fine-tune the innovations of others
Apple did not strictly invent many of the core products for which it became famous. The Internet, for example, was on cell phones long before the first iPhone. Companies like LG have previously introduced touchscreen devices.
However, building a successful product doesn't always have to be based on a 100 percent original idea. Sure, Apple wasn't the first company to think of computers or smartphones. What it did, however, was fine-tune these products for market consumption.
What sets Apple apart from other companies is that it is not afraid to take other ideas and improve them. As Cook said in a 2015 interview with Fast Company:
We weren't the first to use MP3 players. We weren't the first to use the tablet. We weren't the first to use smartphones. But we were arguably the first modern smartphone, and we will be the first modern smartwatch – the first that counts.
Apple's mindset is also vital to the constant improvement of its own products. If the company were too afraid to develop existing ideas, we wouldn't have iPhones and Macs with today's features.
Apple's success goes beyond its products.
Given the competitiveness of the technology field, having a fancy smartphone or a fancy computer is not enough. Other areas that Apple excels in are user experience and customer service.
The company's products offer more features than you can count on one hand. Still, they are easy to use. The first thing you will notice when you turn on an iPhone or Mac for the first time is its easy-to-use interface.
In addition to the features of the product, Apple also releases updates on a regular basis. As a result, products that were released years ago continue to work well. That longevity means that many people consider buying an iPhone, Mac, or other Apple product a long-term investment.
Apple also makes people buy into the company at a young age. One example is students getting discounted offers, making Apple products more affordable.
Once these customers are ready to upgrade, they often have higher purchasing power. So you can buy another Apple product at full price.
Apple prides itself on customer service too. If something goes wrong, you can be confident that you can get the help you need from one of Apple's certified service providers. The employees in this area receive extensive training and usually use the products themselves.
With this personal touch, Apple employees can share in the company's vision. And that has a significant impact on how we deal with customers.
Success in china
Apple's success in the west is unprecedented. Its products are in demand in the US, UK, Canada and elsewhere. In addition, the fans are eagerly awaiting every new product launch.
What is striking, however, is how it is done, which is unthinkable for many – a market stronghold has been created in China.
In China, it is notoriously difficult to exert influence as a foreign company. Amazon is one of many big names to fail, and the Chinese government views many tech companies as a threat.
Apple doesn't just survive in the country, however. It has also developed strong customer loyalty. Although sales suffered in the final quarter of 2020, Apple still sold $ 7.9 billion in products in China. In the fourth quarter of last year, that number was $ 11.1 billion.
But why was Apple successful in the world's most populous country?
One of the biggest factors is simple: Apple understood the needs of Chinese consumers. In 2015, Shaun Rein, founder of the China Market Research Group, pointed out to CNBC how Apple was successful with the iPhone 6:
Most of the people here don't have televisions in their homes, and young Chinese people use their cell phones for everything – watching movies, talking to friends, and playing video games. So it was vital to have this big screen.
In addition, the company saw an opportunity in China to capitalize on economic growth. China's middle class has been growing significantly for years. As a result, many citizens now have higher purchasing power.
Apple doesn't just offer one product that works. His products are also seen as a status symbol in many countries, which is also true in China.
Apple's success is based on a clear mission and thinking outside the box
Apple's global success is an interesting case study. In addition to dominating the western markets, it has succeeded in building a loyal buyer base in countries that are notoriously competitive for foreign companies.
At its core, the principles of Apple's rise to power are simple. The mission is clear and both employees and customers are buying in. Although the company is known for its innovation, it is also not afraid to take ideas and improve them.
In short, Apple stays true to its brand identity. And that's why you can recognize the products immediately.
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About the author
(71 articles published)
Danny is a freelance technology writer based in Copenhagen, Denmark who moved there from his native UK in 2020. He writes on a variety of topics including social media and security. Danny enjoys talking about industry trends and exploring the Nordic business and tech scenes. Outside of writing, he's an avid photographer.
By Danny Maiorca
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