This Monday morning, let’s talk about achievers, ones who’ve broken existing norms and if required shot baskets with 2 hands. Except let them be brands. How about the softer side of tech giants Apple & Google.
Enough has been said, so what about them now? Just this, its one thing achieving and totally another being a loved achiever. These brands have done that by continually challenging conventions and going beyond expectations.
So how did they do it? More importantly how do they keep their appeal, to the ADHDed young.
Apple – Revolutionary to Evolutionary
“Isn’t real revolution all about ripping it up and starting again?” Peter Saville, World renowned graphic artist asked, the answer if you look at successes such as Apple is – maybe not.
As much as one might like the bravado of ripping things and starting a revolution, as a brand its more about leverage, well identified key levers.
Apple embodies this school of thought as possibly the most successful global rebel brand.
Its iPod revolutionized the way people access music and has become more than just the benchmark for others to aim at, this when there were enough and more mp3 players doing the rounds, why did we need a good looking proprietary hassle which is now an accepted mobile music category. The same applies to Apple’s iPad which didn’t just move the goal posts in the tablet computer category, it removed them altogether.
Breaking Barriers Since inception
There is so much debate about where it all started for Apple? Whether it was when Steve Jobs was taking Calligraphy lessons or was it when they re-launched themselves with the ipod or was it with the Macintosh?
In our opinion it really does begin when you throw yourself open for public scrutiny. So had to be with Macintosh.
The first Macintosh was introduced in 1984 by Apple Next; it was the first commercially successful personal computer to feature a mouse and a graphical user interface rather than a command-line interface. Mac was the first real personal computer.
This called for a drastic change in habit amongst the users. They did however use it to their own advantage with their first ever Macintosh Super Bowl commercial in 1984, which mimicked imagery from George Orwell’s 1984.
It also marked Apple’s commitment to contemporary visual art in many of its more famous ad campaigns.
For example, the Think Different campaign linked Apple to famous social figures—including artist John Lennon and freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi.
• Remove complexity because simple is smart (Navigation in each of Apple products, users are hooked and feel like someone understands them)
• Communication is about emotions, latent ones at that. (The 1984 ad was an appeal by almost mocking, not just competition, but a generation of users who’s minds had been controlled by a big brother)
• Be aesthetically pleasing (the designs of each of apple’s product, macbook pro for example)
• People driven product designs (Apple understands user’s evolving needs and de- complicates the complexity of technology, thus making the product user friendly)
Talking about user friendly another pioneer that kept user right at the centre was Google. Apple and Google one could suggest are 2 peas in a pod.
Imagine how much of this piece is not possible if it wasnt for Google. So should we suck up to it, of course.
But seriously, it is the only search engine that made it to the dictionary so it might be a good idea to identify and reinforce what it really means as a brand.
How it began is always a good start
It’s difficult to imagine a world before Google isn’t it? Well, Google is only a teenager and there were web search engines that predated Google before its inception like HotBot, AltaVista, AskJeeves (Now, Ask). But what none of these search engines did was keep the user at the centre.
A conventional search engine, before Google, ranked results by counting how many times the search terms appeared on the page. That clearly wasn’t relevant enough and left enough scope for malice.
So Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were students at Stanford University theorized a system which would analyze the relationships between websites. They called this new technology PageRank, where a website’s relevance was determined by the number of pages, and the importance of those pages, that linked back to the original site. This where we stop talking about the technology (If you wanna know more I’m sure you can Ask Jeeves). Except we move on to how via various values they keep the user at the centre.
While we do that allow us to bring in how Apple is successful for similar brand ideology even though they occupy completely different spaces in the minds and markets:
Take example of Google’s home page and Apple mini. Both simple in design without clutter
• Ease of use
Logical navigation system and well design of menu elements makes the user experience better than competitors
• User focused
Google labs and Apple’s Mac book pro, both the products are user centered. Google’s philosophy states that “Focus on the user and else will follow”. Which somewhere translates to Fast and Free (or seemingly Free.) This philosophy is clearly reflected in their products e.g. Gmail’s storage space and customization features
• Fun and humor
Apple TVCs ad emphasize on how it is fun to be a Mac user. Similarly Google’s gets you feeling fortunate with features such as the “I’m feeling lucky” button cleverly implying how lucky you really are for us geeks to have done this for you.
Google’s homepage can be personalized by adding your selection of widgets and Apple does it bit letting you share some product space by laser engraving your text
Apple’s product and services are consistent through usability, product design, communication etc. Google has the same look and feel experience about its different products. It’s consistent in its user interface and simple usability of products.
They’ve even managed to make a social network look like a desert with Google+, that’s a design achievement that might cost them though.
As we speak there are many waiting to understand and wait for the next apple to fall which puts brand and entrepreneurship in good space. All in all, as a brand its suicidal to respect industry moulds for they harbor homogeneity which in turn leads to commoditization which in turn leads to consumer habits which become hard to change.
So Salut to those who have managed to break the mould.