Establishing the Apple Brand

Leading up to yesterday’s Apple event most of the stories were on the new iPhone or the new wearable.

However what seems to be the most interesting stories leading up to yesterday’s event were all the talented people Apple continued to bring in that had brand building experience. People like Angela Ahrendts, Paul Deneve and Jimmy Iovine. These people know how to take a product or company and make it a worldwide recognizable brand.

It is ironic in a way because right now Apple might be the most recognizable brand in the world. It certainly is in the top ten.

And yet almost all their products were not Apple branded. Up until yesterday the biggest Apple branded product was the Apple TV. A product everyone sees potential in and at the same time confounded as to why Apple hasn’t done more with it.

But yesterday Apple’s two new products were Apple branded. Apple Pay, a slick payment service that uses Apple’s secure infrastructure and NFC. Apple Watch, the well designed wearable watch the tech industry has been waiting for all year.

I think this signals a shift to establishing the Apple brand for their products and services. Will they change the iPhone to the Apple phone…not likely. The iPhone might be the most successful product in history. As MG Seigler says it is a Fortune 500 business all on it’s own.

Google has been branding it’s services with Google since the beginning. Google Mail (GMail), Google Drive, Google Music, Google+, Google Apps, Google Wallet, etc. You know when you are using a Google product. I know when someone explains to me about a Google product. It is one of the great branding things Google has done with their products.

Apple grew to this behemoth without having to brand their products Apple X. However now is the time to take advantage of their place in the market and establish the Apple brand.

Apple Pay will be a huge revenue source. It will legitimize mobile payment like iTunes legitimized digital music sales. Ironically the one company that seems most likely to win from this is Apple’s biggest competitor in the mobile services space, Google and specifically Google Wallet. Once again Apple will lead the way and Google will benefit from Apple establishing a new paradigm.

The Apple Watch was probably the most surprising branding play since the inception of the iPhone. Everyone thought it would be called the iWatch. But by branding the watch Apple, I don’t think it sees the watch as an internet connected phone accessory. It sees it as a fashion product that compliments their most powerful product. Looking at the design it seems clear the watch was just as much about fashion as it was about technology. The key indicator for me is the thought and design of the straps, a seemingly meaningless part of a watch’s function unless you are wearing it as much for fashion as you are for function.

When you refer to premium products you usually refer to the brand first. Tesla, Louis Vuitton, Dyson and Rolex all convey premium quality as soon as you hear the brand. Apple’s products all have that same premium quality. Yesterday made it quite clear to me what the future of the Apple brand is…Apple.

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