In 2007, Steve Jobs altered the modern era with the unveiling of the iPhone. Apple aimed to “reinvent the phone” with its newest product, but that was a total understatement as the iPhone has significantly altered society, commerce, and lives since its introduction. Imagine the things (and even people) that wouldn’t exist if Apple had felt content with only making MacBooks and iPods. 10 years later, the world is now prepping for the anticipated release of the newest model, X.
Since its inception, Apple fanatics have thirsted for the newest iPhone models, which has led to more than1.2 billion phones sold worldwide over the last 10 years. Earlier in 2017, Apple surpassed Samsung in the global smartphone game, earning an 18% share. Even with a relatively “small” take, the company takes home a whopping 94% of the entire industry’s profits. Apple is the big, bad bully on the playground shaking the other kids for their lunch money.
All this success can be tied to the marketing genius that is Steve Jobs. Sell consumers on a dream and build a brand revolving around aspiration. As my former NYU Stern professor Scott Galloway proclaims, Apple is not a tech company, it’s a luxury brand. People purchase goods from affluent and pricey brands because they want that prestigious association and feeling of exclusivity, and this desire increases their willingness to pay for a social ROI. Branding is the foundation of the luxury industry’s success. Louis Vuitton is one of the most profitable brands in the world with a profit margin of over 30%. There’s a reason why Apple is sitting on absurd cash hoard of $250 billion. People want to be associated with the cool, innovative, and sexy that Apple conveys.
Jobs was also big on transforming Apple customers into evangelists. If your brand consistently delivers a fulling experience that’s expected by your core users, you’re going cultivate a passionate base of brand promoters who will walk through fire for you. It’s the reason why people camp out for days to score the newest Apple products. Even if X is going to be the most expensive iPhone ever ($999 for the 64GB version or $1,149 for the 256GB), pre-orders still sold out worldwide in a few short minutes. Once you establish a die-hard congregation of consumers, it’s the most powerful form of organic marketing and it’s practically free.
There are some nifty features and product enhancements with X, but the blazing demand for such a costly product is driven by years and years of conditioning created by exceptional marketing. Consumers tend to buy a new smartphone every 2 years because they expect new and improved models annually. The yearn to be part of that exclusive crowd paired with all the hype from other users make us want to throw our archaic iPhone models in the trash and fork over the cash for the shiny new one. Apple is just laughing all the way to the bank.