Apple HQ

The birth of the Apple brand

Apple is today one of the best-known brands in the world and its products are among the most purchased and appreciated. Everyone associates the birth of the company with the name of Steve Jobs , but few know the story behind the creation and development of Apple.

Apple was born in 1976 from the collaboration of two electronics and technology enthusiasts: Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak , who was later joined by Ronald Wayne , who took care of the administration. Like Jeff Bezos who used his garage as Amazon ‘s first headquarters , Apple’s first office was Steve Jobs’ parents’ garage . There, Jobs and Wozniak began designing the Apple I , a device that can be thought of as a computer for hobbyists .

The Apple I was initially designed on paper , as processors cost around $170 and they couldn’t afford to buy one yet. When the price finally dropped, Jobs and Wozniak had the chance to make a real computer . Wozniak took care of assembling it, while Jobs took care of marketing it. After being rejected by HP , with whom Wozniak had a contract, the two managed to secure a deal with The Byte Shop , an electronics store in the area. The contract was to sell 50 pieces of the Apple I for $666.66 each. The peculiarity of Apple I is that it is already assembled . Usually hobby products are characterized by the possibility of assembly, while the shop seller insisted that the computer be sold already assembled. Customers would only have to buy the parts to complete the machine (monitor, keyboard, power supply, case). 

Apple I was an innovative and particular product and for this reason the sale was not immediate. What attracted buyers mainly was its simplicity . Wozniak had designed the computer with many fewer elements than those of its competitors and therefore it was easier to use and cheaper . 

With the success of the Apple I, Wozniak, Jobs and Wayne were able to begin programming the Apple II . This computer, however, was more expensive than the previous one and also included different projects than those that the partners had previously agreed upon. Because of this, Wayne left the company . With two left, Jobs looked for new investors for the project and met entrepreneur Mike Markkula , who invested $250,000 in the company. The Apple II came out in 1977 and was a more advanced model than its predecessor; it is the device that many consider to be the first personal computer . The innovation consisted of a larger RAM (12 KB), a color card and a built-in keyboard. The price was $1,195 without the monitor.

The evolution of the company

Production continued with the release of the Apple III . It was an even more advanced device than the Apple II, but it didn’t achieve anywhere near as much success. Apple III in fact had some problems that made it not very popular. First of all the lack of the fan , considered inelegant by Steve Jobs, and then the excessively high price (from 4,000 to 7,000 $). This led to it being an expensive computer that offered poor performance.

After visiting Xerox PARC , one of the research divisions of the Xerox copier and printer expert company, Jobs arrives at a turning point. He understands that the future of computers consists of a graphical interface (GUI) , which enriches the writing and numbers. In fact, at the time, these were the only elements on a computer screen. Thus was born Lisa , the first project with an Apple graphic interface. However, this too, like Apple III, turns out to be a failure : too expensive and with not very powerful software.

But it is with the arrival of John Sculley as CEO of the company that Apple takes a step forward. In 1983 the first Macintosh was born , which was marketed with a marketing campaign that has remained in history. This is the commercial directed by Ridley Scott and aired during the Super Bowl. The Macintosh had a simple graphical interface and cost much less than the Lisa. It achieved notable success , but failed to overcome its main competitors: Microsoft and IBM.

Subsequently, a series of failures and conflicts within the company prevented Apple from taking off. Both Jobs and Wozniak leave the company , and Jobs founds NeXT Computer . It will be this that Apple will acquire in the mid-1990s, effectively bringing Steve Jobs back to the company .

From that moment on, Jobs manages to revive Apple. The company creates some of the products that will lead it to be one of the most important companies in the world. In 1998 the iMac was released , while in 2000 the new Mac OS 2001 was the year of the iPod , followed by the iPad . In 2007 the first iPhone was released , destined to become one of the pioneers of the smartphone market we know today.

The Apple logo

Today, when we think of the Apple logo , we immediately think of the bitten apple found on the back of every company device. The apple has now become a symbol of Apple and its products. When we see it we don’t need any further information to know who created that product and what it can offer.

The apple, however, was not the first logo. Initially, the Apple logo consisted of Isaac Newton sitting under a tree with an apple hanging from it. Deeming the logo too complicated, Jobs commissioned a new one from graphic designer Rob Janoff and in 1977 the bitten apple was born. The first version was an apple with rainbow colors. This was clearly a way to oppose one of the company’s major competitors : IBM , also in the IT sector. IBM’s logo consisted of a logotype , which is a logo formed from the company name. It was a logo with cold colors and rigid shapes , which was opposed by the apple with soft shapes and warm colors. It was therefore a communication strategy to contrast the two companies: IBM was cold and professional, while Apple was new and fun. 

This opposition is also represented in Ridley Scott’s 1984 Macintosh commercial . In the commercial, a young woman bursts into a room full of men in gray suits looking at a screen. On the screen there is the face of a man, who speaks to the men in a sort of trance. The marketing strategy is clear: the woman, destroying the screen with a hammer, represents Apple’s desire for innovation and rebirth . The screen, however, represents IBM.

In the following years, having put aside the rivalry with IBM, Apple encountered a new competitor due to which it was forced to make changes to its logo. Microsoft makes its way , with its colorful but square-shaped logo , it is a sort of synthesis between Apple and IBM. For this reason, Apple will be forced to eliminate the colors from its logo, transforming it into the single-color apple we see today.

Marketing strategies

Ridley Scott’s commercial and the rationale behind the Apple logo perfectly communicated the company’s goals and positioning . In fact, since Apple I, Apple’s goal was to make computers accessible to everyone and not just tools for professionals. After the initial failures, the Macintosh was the first to obtain real significant feedback from consumers. The main reason was the new user-friendly graphical interface . The opposition with IBM was also along this line. Apple wanted to communicate an idea of ​​a company and products that were no longer difficult to use and therefore limited to those who knew about IT. He wanted them to be suitable even for those who only used a computer as a hobby .

Apple’s USP (Unique Selling Proposition) has always been the idea of ​​making itself different from others . Already in 1997, the slogan “Think different” placed the company on an isolated level compared to the others, but not in a negative sense. The idea of ​​being different from others was a source of pride, something that led people to feel special and unique . This sense of uniqueness could be achieved by purchasing Apple products. It was a marketing strategy that aimed to build a community of Apple users who, in the long run, proved loyal to the brand . Anyone who is part of it can be considered a true fan and no longer a simple consumer. The idea of ​​a closed community is explained in two ways.

Differentiating oneself from those who are not Apple users , who are considered as an “other” in a negative sense (sometimes even from a socioeconomic point of view). And then with the “locking” feature of Apple systems : all the company’s devices work with an Apple account and cannot be used without it. Additionally, all accessories (chargers, earphones, etc.) must be Apple, otherwise there’s a good chance they won’t be compatible.

If at the beginning the prices of Apple products were considered too high, now brand loyalists consider them more than justified. This is because the company’s marketing strategy has initiated communication focused on value for money . From minimalist design to modern features, Apple communicates to its consumers that what they offer is worth the price. By highlighting the unparalleled characteristics of the product in question, marketing is always based on the idea of ​​different. Different, now, in quality: better products, more intuitive software, more precise cameras, longer-lasting batteries. 

All this is communicated in simple language that allows even the least IT expert to understand what it is about. Apple is therefore aimed at an audience made up of people who are not just simple users, but are customers and loyal to the brand . Fans, if you will. They are enthusiastic about the innovations that the company offers and are willing to pay to have the best products around. What Apple communicates is a storytelling of the products , showing how using them in everyday life improves everyday life.

It is also marketing for a social status that is achieved by purchasing an Apple product. You will be different and you will be part of a community of people who share your same values. They are the values ​​of the company itself , communicated in such a way that anyone who embraces the “Apple philosophy” embraces everything that makes it up 100%. The achieved brand loyalty then transforms customers into real ambassadors of the brand itself. They will advertise their products not because they are paid to do so, but simply because they believe in it.

Another strong point of Apple’s communication is customer service . This service extends not only to online services but above all to single-brand sales points: the Apple Stores . Apple stores reflect the minimalist and modern aesthetic of the company’s products and the tone of voice must also be the same. For this reason, customers who enter an Apple Store will feel at ease and pampered by staff who try to solve all their problems. This will increase trust in the brand and its products.

Apple’s digital marketing

From a company like Apple you would expect a large investment in digital marketing . In reality, if we check the company’s official accounts, we realize that this is not the case. The Twitter profile has no tweets posted and the Facebook page is almost bare. The Instagram profile is very recent (created in 2017). Apple is more active in its side accounts , such as Apple TV or Apple Music , which promote the platforms’ services. This too might seem like a minimalist choice , in line with the brand’s image.

It is also important to consider, among the marketing strategies, the courage of Apple and its team . It is a company that has never been intimidated by criticism or skepticism and has always moved forward with its head held high. An example would be the skepticism towards the first iPod . Many thought it was an obsolete product, that no one would ever use it and that it would not be successful. The iPod, however, turned out to be one of the most successful products that revolutionized the entire music industry. This is also thanks to the company’s communication which, once again, focused on the idea of ​​something different: minimalist design, white earphones, everything aimed at fun and not strictly utility.

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