success by design? | the apple case

those of you who have joined one of my lectures or workshops recently certainly know that Apple is one of my favourite “Best Practice” Examples these days ;-)

in an article published on brandchannel.com last week Robin D. Rusch brings it to the point:

“At Apple’s core is great innovation, beautiful design and an ability to bring warmth and passion to those who may be completely incurious about technical gadgetry but need it nonetheless to survive in today’s world.”

this has been confirmed by the 2004 Readers’ Choice Awards conducted by brandchannel.com. readers have pushed Apple back to the throne in terms of “the brand with the most global impact—a title held by Google since 2002.”

in this context it is worthwhile to note that certainly the main clientele of brandchannel.com are guess what? marketers, brand managers and to a certain extent design managers. therefore the result is not a real surprise.

Apple impresses me with their smart move from being a focused computer and OS manufacturer to a provider of the complete “online music value chain”. however it is notable that at the same time “its worldwide computer market share dropped to less than two percent in 2004 to a 1.87 percent share in Q3 of 2004 (down from 2.19% in Q3 2003). The 2004 world leader for market share was Dell at 18 percent, followed by HP at 16 percent and IBM with 6 percent.

The small white hope is that iPod’s halo effect will bring more buyers to Apple’s other offerings, which go beyond consumer goods to include servers, WiFi, and software, and include the already-backordered new iPod Shuffle and a sub-US$ 500 Mac.”

in contrast this “small white hope” with it’s this simple, technologically sophisticated user interface and its stylish, trendy design which has brought Apple an increase in sales of some 300% this year.

after all this appraisal in terms of naming the Apple iPod the design icon of the new century one shouldn’t forget that being successful with design is relative. and this is another insight from the brandchannel survey: while north american readers voted for Apple as #1 it doesn’t appear in the top rankings for the rest of the world!

in europe and africa brands like IKEA, Virgin, H&M, Nokia, Puma, Zara and Audi are the dominant players! this reminds me on a DMI conference I’ve attended in the late 90s in the US: while everyone in the room got excited about the success of the recently released “VW New Beetle” nobody could understand that the Beetle (which has a brilliant design approach according to my opinion) isn’t a real success in the “Old Europe” (for several reasons)



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