Apple has always stood for enablement. It is the creator’s brand with tools such as GarageBand, numerous fonts, Keynote and more. It is a brand for the aficionado, the curator — who can pick and choose. Many other brands of computers and tablets have similar features. But Apple as a brand ‘owns’ this space more.
The minimalism of Apple has always signified the primordial stillness before the world came into being with the big bang. The Zen-like simplicity carries inside it potent and infinite possibilities.
The empty white is not nothing. It is everything. This brand meaning, combined with product features and benefits that enable adds up to a strong brand Apple — that turns its consumers into creators.
The brand, since Steve Jobs, has seen a dilution in its fundamental meaning. First came the colours — which were aesthetically pleasing — but did not resonate with this potent stillness. Next came the features — a photograph that has a ‘real’ moment. This is a gimmick. It does not give the power to create to the consumer. Thus the dilution is both in the brand and the product. While it is true that Apple profits have soared and half the world is using iPhones, nonetheless, the dilution of the brand has begun. In fact, when the late majority in the world adopts a brand in droves, edgy brands need to worry about their impending demise.
In the history of business, brands didn’t die as fast as they are doing now. The once invincible Blackberry bit dust — when it became Blackberry for everyone. From being the business class of phones, it became everyone’s phone. It was no longer as coveted as a brand.
The lure of larger markets due to dilution of product and brand values is a one-way street that ends abruptly. It is time for Apple to revisit its purpose.