Product brands consist of two levels of meanings. One level refers to product name, definitions, mark, symbol and design, as well as the integration of these factors that differentiate them from those of competitors (Madden, 2013). The other level is representative of a series of added value of the products concerned, consists of both functional and psychological benefits, such as representative features like utility, function, taste, style, or positioned advantages like price, convenience, service, etc. In a word, branding is strongly associated with customer perceptions.
A new product can be made up with two parts, core product and value-added product. Value added part illustrates the supplements of the core part itself. The differentiate part might contain intangible and dynamic variables, especially for services. Service is a key part of value-added.
Apple’s Core Products and Value-added Service
Steve jobs was the analysis target and focus to Chinese enterprises in recent years as Apple created a great product and brand value by uniquely featured products such as iMac, iPod, iPad and iPhone. Apple achieved great success and became a symbol of expensive, high-end fashion e-brand. Is it because of their products being cost-effective? Of course not. These enterprises who prioritize cost performance will not be able to enjoy the feast of brand value. Therefore, Apple is not only able to make revolutionary innovation, but also furthermore succeeding in its branding and value-added.
Apart from manufacturing, a pure phone with ordinary functions such as sending short messages or making calls, just like what the market players did when Apple started to study on mobile phones, is of low value. As for Apple, they deemed their vision to create the phone more than a phone that could play multi-functions with its strong equipment and is depending on the Apps installed. It can serve as a camera that can help professionally take photography and a media/movie player that has high resolution (Rajaraman, 2014). These are its core products. As known globally, it’s just because of these that Apple’s stocks price are high and have rapid unprecedented growth in business growth.
Apple leverages its good name to get customers to buy several generations of products, and its brand value ranks top one in the world for half a decade.
Picture 1: Product branding concept is simplicity (Apple.com, 2016).
Moreover, Apple created new worlds globally welcoming its fans and therein providing several kinds of services. These are quite value added, such as product display that enables a freshman to be an Apple master. And all kinds of gadgets are available as per different groups of customers. For music-lovers, they can find earphones to utilize the phone. For businessmen, cases can be used to protect the machine (Rajaraman, 2014).
Picture 2: Apple Store in Shanghai, Pudong (Apple.com, 2016).
What’s magic is so-called as the best after sale maintenance, the Genius bar that greatly differentiates Apple from competitors. Like a seminar, a specific intriguing topic with more detailed technical guidance including the general application and some professional audio and video application guidance are delivered (Rajaraman, 2014). Therefore, Apple’s geniuses are interacting with customers and providing supplemental value-added products.
Brand of Apple
There are huge amounts of enthusiastic loyal Apple’s fans, which is one of an outcome of Apple’s successful brand association with the great man Jobs Steven and his unique and genius spirits. One of Apple’s distinct personalities is simplicity, as described by founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, it’s harder that complexity and when you achieve it, you will make miracles. Apple’s products convey the least but most accurate information to maximize the reduction of our cognitive burden (Madden, 2013).
Taking IMAC for example, its simplicity is reflected in the Unibody fuselage structure without any unnecessary decoration appearance or complicated curve. Instead, there is only a simple and powerful line properly mixed by square and round, hardness and softness. Unibody uses the same matte texture of anodized aluminum in screen, keyboard and touch panel (Blake et. al, 2015).
Picture 3: New iMac (Apple.com, 2016).
Apple.com (2016) www.apple.com
Blake, A., Nazarian, M. and Castel, A. D. (2015) The Apple of the mind’s eye: Everyday attention, metamemory, and reconstructive memory for the Apple logo. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 04 May 2015, Vol.68(5), p.858-865.
Madden, R. (2013) Apple’s brand mission signified it is a company ‘Built to Last’. Marketing Week (Online), May 8, 2013.
Rajaraman, V. (2014) Steve Jobs — Who blended art with technology. Resonance, 2014, Vol.19(10), pp.917-935.