The brand Apple is used as an example to demonstrate that, the new generation is accepting innovative technology as a form of belief, in which they have faith.
The iconic fruit like Apple present on a shelf has now penetrated people’s mind to such an extent, that the modern generation has raised its value to the same level to that of a deity on an altar. They have become as ritualistic as religious beliefs, that each fan is always aware of celebrates Apple events according to their degree of belief and faith in the technology (Wlodarz 2016). Young buyers have therefore adapted their lifestyle to imbibe such type of innovative technology in their imagination, associating it with brand personality and identity. Other set of beliefs includes status conscious, super cool, creativity and free-thinking.
Most of the devoted fanatics perceive Mac computers or iPhones more than just an electronic gadget, and value them with faith and loyalty, as they may value religious practices. Living and believing in the use of Apple has become a way of life of the fans, that they also promote the icon through all sorts of mediums – i.e. social media, newspaper articles and also word of mouth.
What power has Apple utilized to bring together more than 100,000 fans to celebrate Apple Day on its anniversary? Or has influenced them to use the icon as a body tattoo?
It’s straightforward. They have combined community behavior with beliefs and faith to project a type of meaning that is equivalent to an organized religion. The more so that each fan has his or her own way of rating and sense of perception; which is similar to belief or faith to ritual practices. Apple marketers have identified this concept and used the brand cult to promote its products to loyal and new customers. Apple’s cult status has also been cultivated in part by the company’s efforts to demonize its rivals (Dooley 2012).
40 Years of Apple Celebrated
The year 2016 marked the 40th year for the company with celebrations held in more than 480 retail stores, and in 18 countries worldwide. Today, Apple is ranked among the top most valuable brands, whereby it is estimated to be worth more than $700 billion; and an income of more than $18 billion for the first quarter of this year has been reported (AppleInsider 2016).
One of Apple’s biggest media events in Cupertino, ‘Wish we could say more’, brought a crowd of nearly 200,000 Apple’s enthusiasts. The festivities featured live music, and the most awaiting surprise the launching of iPhone’s next iteration and its first wearable device –the iWatch (Kastrenakes 2013).
With rituals, comes forming a community. I can say right hand, Apple has built a community of devoted followers. With regard to devotion and commitment, Apple fans make pilgrimage to the Apple store, hours or even days before the release of the latest Apple products. Certain fans do not hesitate to take time off to wait in line at shops for Apple’s new innovative product. One remarkable proof is the way they showed their sympathy to the late Steve Jobs; whereby they paid their respects in front of Apple stores by lighting candles on their iPad screen and making shrines out of Apple in front of the Apple store (Rettner 2010).
These actions conducted by Apple fans portrays that for many of them, the icon Apple looks like ‘a spiritual path to a future where technology and humans coexist in harmony’.
The brand followers with ritualistic traits do not reside only in Apple, but also in other companies such as Oreo cookie, Vans or Harley Davidson. For instance: When one thinks of Oreo, how does one thinks of having it? The firm set up a routine way on how to eat an Oreo cookie, that has been embraced by all consumers; and has become the ‘appropriate’ method for consumption. Equally, Harley Davidson used its cult brand to attract buyers who yearn for a lifestyle of safe rebellion and the promise to open road, and it has indeed built a strong brand following community (Ritson 2015).
In a nutshell, one can say that Apple sells an emotional connection with consumers and has thus become a symbol of holiness to its fanatical followers.
Natasha Gunness ; Student Id : 215340819
List of References
AppleInsider 2016, Apple celebrates 40th anniversary with Beer Bash DJ’d by Zane Lowe, appleinsider, retrieved on 21 April 2016, <http://appleinsider.com/articles/16/04/01/apple-celebrates-40th-anniversary-with-beer-bash-hosted-by-dj-zane-lowe->.
Dooley, R 2012, Build loyalty like Apple: Define your enemy, Forbes, retrieved on 21 April 2016,< http://www.forbes.com/sites/rogerdooley/2012/07/17/apple-enemy/#1ea034304ca2>.
Kastrenakes, J 2013, The art of the tease: over 10 years of Apple event invites, the verge, retrieved on 23 April 2016, <http://www.theverge.com/2013/10/21/4852132/history-of-apple-event-invitations-and-hints>.
Rettner, R 2010, Apple Obsession: The science of iPad fanaticisim, livescience, retrieved on 20 April 2016, <http://www.livescience.com/6391-apple-obsession-science-ipad-fanaticism.html>.
Ritson,R 2015, Can the Harley Davidson Brand Age Gracefully,Brandingstrategyinsider, retrieved on 23 April 2016,<http://www.brandingstrategyinsider.com/2015/10/can-the-harley-davidson-brand-age-gracefully.html#.VxwXy7xg90s>.
Wlodarz, D 2016, iReligion: How Apple fanaticism turned tech onto a cult, betanews, retrieved on 22 April 2016, <http://betanews.com/2015/08/12/ireligion-how-apple-fanaticism-turned-tech-into-a-cult/>.