Apple Marketing: Think Different

The latest news report is Apple fans have crashed the ordering systems in the U.S. and U.K. for the new Apple iPhone 4. With that in mind, and my latest crow feast over iPad shipments, I thought it would be interesting to ponder the marketing marvel of Apple.

Zac and I were once residents of Beijing and fans of public transit where you could go anywhere on the Beijing subway system for 2 RMB, about 30¢ U.S. At the Dongzhimen transfer station was a massive mural ad from Apple (similar to this one in Hong Kong shown above). No technical sound bites. No feature lists. Not even a character of Chinese. Yet the message was clear. A brilliant appeal to you being unique.

The consumer being unique is the key to Apple’s appeal and Apple fandom (a.k.a. Cult of Mac). Pre-dawn lines outside Apple stores and preorders of Apple products that rival movie premiers. Scott Adams, cartoonist for Dilbert, related in a recent Wall Street Journal article his experience in buying an iPad at an Apple Store, “I instinctively put my wallet on my nose and started barking like a seal, thinking it might reduce the wait time, but they’re so used to seeing that maneuver that it didn’t help.”

An interesting analysis of the Apple marketing phenomena is found in a recent Ted talks video by Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire. Apple marketing is a reversal of traditional marketing done by the remainder of the industry.  It focuses on the consumer being unique versus the product being unique.  The marketing team at Apple marketing has truly incorporated their old slogan of “Think Different”.

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