Week 1 Reading Assignment
Article: Apple without a Core by Timothy Taylor
Source: Report on Business, January 2012
1. Do you agree with the author’s assertion that without a human symbol, Apple will be vulnerable to competitors? Why/ why not?
I agree that Apple is vulnerable without its famed figure-head Steve Jobs. Jobs is Apple i.e. he is the embodiment of Apple! In the article, the “clean and intuitive graphical user interface” that Timothy Taylor mentions is the handiwork of Jobs.
Having watched documentaries about him, I know that Jobs was obsessed with minute details including packaging for Apple products. I view Jobs as a design dictator (this is not a bad thing); He is just very particular and this translates to products with designs that are very well-thought of.
In the same article by Taylor, Jobs himself mentions, “People like symbols. So I’m the symbol for certain things.” Apple is his baby and therefore all products they make are perfect (or as perfect as can be with the technology available at the time of production). Jobs strikes me as a perfectionist who takes pride in the products he makes/designs.
2. How do other companies succeed in brand innovation without human symbols? Eg. Google, Ford Motor Company, Hewlett Packard, Hyatt Hotels.
I would like to talk about Google’s success in brand innovation without human symbols. Google is an innovator because they are the first company to widely implement the Page Rank technology on the internet. Page Rank was an idea by co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page: this determines webpages’ relevance by counting the number of pages and their importance, as well as the trackbacks (backlinks to that page).
This is a crucial concept because, previously, many other search engines at the time only counted the number of times search terms appeared on a page; this is quite superficial data in my opinion, and doesn’t really focus on the relationships between pages.
Google is formidable as a brand because they pioneered this technology: their unique name combined with their popularity as the world’s favourite search engine makes them stand out! Google doesn’t need a human symbol because it is the kind of remarkable that Seth Godin refers to. Google differentiated! I believe Google is a purple cow, at least, what an internet virtual purple cow could, would and should be!
3. Use 4 words to describe Apple’s brand character – and explain why you chose these descriptors.
In order, these are the descriptors I’m choosing for Apple: Innovative. Powerful. Portable. Exquisite.
Apple is synonymous with innovation. All their products reflect amazing product features ahead of its time (when released to market). For example, take the iPhone when it first came out. There were already Blackberry phones on market but people were not really satisfied with its features. I believe Apple did research on what business consumers want and then added more features that would make such a device useful to all market demographics (students, teachers, parents). This allows Apple to market the product to a wider audience.
Taking the same iPhone example, the device is basically a small, hand-held computer that you can do many things with i.e. there are apps you can run to check email, write notes, take photos, edit them using different filters, do voice recordings, etc.. There is so much processing power in this little device. Not only that, you can use it as a phone, a mapping device/GPS locator and also a text messaging/instant messaging-device – The iPhone is so versatile!
The iPhone fits in the palm of your hand, lets you do most (if not all) the things you can do on a laptop) and you don`t have to lug around something heavy or cumbersome. What is the point of having a powerful processor if it`s not friendly? You should be able to take it anywhere with you, not limit you to home or office use. I have taken my iPhone river paddling & kayaking with me (in a protective case, of course). I did that because I needed the mapping feature to guide me on my adventure. As well, I wanted to use the photo and video capabilities of the device. Fortunately the iPhone has allowed me to document a lot of my nature-excursions by combining a few of the things I want in a device in one device! I no longer have to carry a digital camera and a separate GPS device! Thank goodness for portability!
Apple products like the Macbook Air and the Macbook Pro are beautifully designed. Clearly, utmost care and effort was taken to produce such an aesthetically-pleasing product! These laptops are very sleek, light and sexy. The fact that retina display is now available on them is all the more enticing.