Brand Loyalty, Part 1: Apple

Way back in the day (no I don’t remember which one specifically) I subscribed to the magazine MacWorld.  I’ve long since cancelled that subscription, but continue to receive emails from them.  Once such email is from a very sarcastic ‘being’ calling himself the Macalope.  Mr. ‘Lope is a humorous writer because he calls out all of the inconsistencies, or just nonsensical writings about Apple throughout the week.  The latest was about how Apple is being called out for the poor labour practices used in some of their Chinese manufacturing plants, yet none of the other smart phone manufacturer who use these same firms are being called on it.  Fair point.  In the comments for this particular post someone mentioned that Apple would be held to higher standards because of the corporate image they portray.  Also a fair point, but this took me in a completely different direction.  How is it that Apple releases no more than three or four versions of a product, i.e. the iPhone, whereas multiple other companies will release dozens of versions of an android phone, yet overall Apple still holds almost half of the market, and is increasing that share?


Brand loyalty will certainly have something to do with Apple’s huge sales numbers.  There are people who will buy the latest and greatest Apple product merely because it is supposedly the latest and greatest.  Apple cultists I suppose we could call them.  While I would definitely consider myself a proud Apple fan, I would not be rated among the cultists.  My own view of why Apple still sells so many devices is because they understand that most people just want a device that works.  There is certainly a reason that Steve Jobs could get away with his statement: “It just works.”  It is because it’s true.


Unlike other companies, Apple is all about the user experience and that matters to most consumers.  Take me, for instance.  I was a windows user for nearly ten years, and can’t count the hours I wasted having to reinstall windows because it was corrupted here or there.  I’ve lost more pictures, music and other data than I care to think about.  And it isn’t just computers either.  I think it was 2003 when I bought my first iPod.  It was not my first mp3 player, but I had shelled out nearly $600 for a Creative Jukebox that would run for maybe 4 hours if I was lucky, and to which I could never get all of my music on because if I left it to sync for more than an hour – in those days it took about a minute to transfer a song onto it – the thing would crash. So that was wasted money.  Then I got the iPod.  Not only did it play all of my music, that purchased in the iTunes store and my own music, but it worked every time I wanted it to, and it  ran for more than 4 hours in a stretch.  And all I had to do was to plug it into my computer to recharge.  Easy peavey.  The iPHone, iPad, and the multiple computers I have now had have never really let me down.  And of the four Apple computers I’ve bought in the last 10 years, only one has given me grief, but Apple was good enough to replace a battery for free, and to replace the logic board for free when the computer was already out of warranty.


In short, what I am trying to say, is that Apple may have many brand loyalists, but this is well deserved.  They haven’t forgot the user experience, and they still make well-designed products that just work – almost always without fail.  But of course, there are going to be detractors.  I am sure that some of the people who hyped Apple products when the company was struggling are now the biggest critics of the company.  Build them up and tear them down, right?