Apple nurtures its brands. Let it be the mac, the ibook, ipod or the iphone. They let it grow on its own and do not forcefully tell you that it is the Apple iphone or the Apple ipod, its just simply put as ipod by Apple in their communication. There is something that it does beautifully that many brands fail to do. It manages to glide graciously into their category extension without having to compromise on their image. Apple was only computers before 2000 but last quarter ending december 26, 2009, Apple sold 3.36 million Macintosh computers, representing a 33 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 8.7 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 100 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 21 million iPods during the quarter, representing an eight percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter.Source: http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2010/01/25results.html
For ex: Al Ries in his biblical book on marketing ‘The 22 immutable laws of Marketing’ tells that a brand that loses its single mindedness and Focus is a brand that is going to be doomed. The examples are of Motorola that tried to enter computers, semi conductors after being the pioneer in Mobile telephones, the leader of which is Nokia that left its other businesses to enter and focus on only telephones.
Apple advertises its product independent of the Apple brand which just sneaks into the last frame of their ads with their company logo. Let it be the macs, the ipods, the iphones or the recent ipads. However they derive their equity form the strong brand that Apple has created. They always seem to come with a magical mixture of a good product and great marketing. The ‘i’ has become a brand in itself but still does not disturb the equilibrium created by Apple. Nowhere do the image of Apple and ipod clash. They just weave into each other. Even within the ipod there are different ‘perceived’ brands. There is the nano, the shuffle, the touch and the classic. All these vertical extensions fail to confirm that extensions make a brand weaker. It does not if there is logic between the extensions. None gets confused between the promise of any of them. Branding does play an important part in any company or a products success but somewhere along the line its impossible to sell unless you have that perceived differentiation. Apples products are extremely well differentiated. The shuffle is only has 2 and 4 GB, whereas the nano has 8 and 16 GB, the touch is has 8, 32 and 64 GB and the classic is has 160 GB and even the price points never merge. The offering merges only at the 8 GB offering that Nano and Touch provide but they too are highly differentiated from each other.
People don’t think like marketers or say the ‘arm chair critics’. For them Apple is a company that makes beautiful devices let it be computers or music devices.