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Why is the iPhone So Popular?

by Tyrone Young

This is an… well, you probably already know what this is, because it’s one of the best-selling smartphones: the iPhone 7. Let’s be honest, as much as I love my Google Pixel (where my Google Pixel fam at??), the iPhone has crushed it.

Make people want the product, or, better yet, make people have to own the product.

Apple makes doing that look easy. When you buy an iPhone and hand over possibly just under a thousand dollars, you aren’t paying for a phone, you’re paying for the Apple brand, in the same way someone would buy a pair of Dior sunglasses, a pair of Air Jordans, or a Louis Vuitton bag: sure, maybe they make great products, but it’s really the name of the brand that justifies that high price tag. To make people feel like they have to own your product, you need to set it as the societal standard for premium: if you want to make a successful tech company, you have to recognize that your aren’t is the business of tech, you’re in the business of fashion. Scott Galloway, a Brand Strategy and Digital Marketing Professor at the NYU Stern School of Business and founder of L2inc, a business intelligence firm which researches and publishes data on the digital footprint of brands, wow that dude has accomplished a lot, said it best at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity: >> SCOTT GALLOWAY: Apple has all the makings of a luxury brand. It decided it didn’t want to be the best house in the worst neighborhood (computer hardware; low-margin, terrible, business), it wanted to be the best brand, the best house and the best business: luxury.

The wealthiest people in Europe are not technology, they’re luxury science. An iconic founder, vertical distribution, print ads, supermodels and fashion shows in terms of product introductions, distribution in temples to the brand. Apple isn’t a technology brand it’s a luxury brand and it’s a way to signal how attractive you are to the other sex. >> ALEX: Cool! So, how do you do that? How did Apple establish its place in the market as a luxury lifestyle brand? Well, first and foremost, word of mouth, or, more specifically, word of the pack. If you see almost around you owning an iPhone, hear news of people lining up for days just to get the new one, and be the only one of your friends without one, sooner or later, you’re gonna want an iPhone.

Ok, but the iPhone hasn’t always been successful and didn’t always have the same market penetration it does today. So, how did Apple get there? Presentation. Let’s take a look at the 3 main ways Apple presents their products in a way that makes you want to buy them. One! Advertising. Apple advertising is iconic. Oh, and, of course, magic. What do you think of when you think of iPhone ads? Personally, I think of one iPhone plus one iPhone equals 2 iPhones. PUNZ!! Personally, I think of 2 things: simplicity, and beautiful, cinematic shots of people using iPhones. Every single iPhone commercial has one or both these things. First, simplicity. Apple ads can be painfully and majestically simplistic, as anyone who’s seen an Apple Ad knows. This simplicity and minimalism creates a sense that the iPhone is a premium product, because, well, look how clean that looks! A matter of fact, you’ll see that simplicity is an underlying theme in this episode. In lot’s of iPhone commercials, you see an iPhone, part of an iPhone, or text with a solid colour background.

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This screams simplicity, minimalism, and a premium product. On top of that, simplistic designs allow for the user to easily digest any information they see. “Move your photos. It’s that easy.” Who knows if it really is that easy, but the simplicity of the ad digestible. If Apple instead took that 15 seconds to show you how to transfer your photos, it would be overwhelming and confusing and unnecessary (since the call to action here isn’t to transfer your photos, it’s to buy an iPhone). However, this ad is simple, beautiful, and pleasing to the eyes. This is reflected research done by CEB. Simplicity in advertising means products are 86% more likely to be purchased and 115% more likely to be recommended.

What’s even better is simplistic advertising is consistent throughout all Apple ads, no matter the product. Apple has learned you must send one message and send well. Second, cinematography. All of iPhone commercials these days are captured using big-budget movie cinematography. I mean come on, look how beautiful this shot is! It’s staged and colour-corrected perfectly and just, ahhhh. This incredibly high-end cinematography furthers the premium feel. Like the iPhone, this commercial is a thing of beauty. And, as a final note on advertising: remember, the price of a product counts as advertising. A low end price signifies a budget phone, a mid-end price signifies a phone with good features for a price that won’t break the bank, and a high-end price, like that of the iPhone, signifies a high-end phone.

A premium brand for a premium price, and it’s because of that, Forbes has declared Apple the most profitable company in the world in 2017. This, of course, was a huge blow to the company that was the most profitable in 2016, also Apple. This leads me nicely into my second point: Two! Apple Stores. Apple stories are temples. Apple stores are museum. They aren’t just stores, they are architectural landmarks. Apple stores are everything about retail done right. >> STEVE JOBS: This is our store, and the store is divided into four parts the first quarter of the store has our home section with great home and Education products and our Pro section with all our great Pro products. And every product we make is in this first 25% of the store you can see the whole product line. >> ALEX: Yea, hey, in the time it took you to watch that clip of Steve Jobs, over 134 iPhones were sold, soooo. There are 2 parts to each Apple Store: the products and the customer service.

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First, the products. Walk into any Apple store and see how beautifully the products are laid out. The theme of simplicity is continued from their ads into their physical store. Not to mention, that cable management is on point. Apple Stores have a generally inviting feel, emphasized by the abundance of natural lighting, wooden tables, and friendly staff. Speaking of which, at an Apple Store, there are no lines and no checkout counters, because, when you want to buy something, you just go up to an employee and they can check out. No lines, no clutter, simplicity. Customers are allowed to use iPhones like they would in real life. You know, browse the internet, use messages, check out apps, both Apple brand and not: stuff like that. What’s the point of testing iPhones?

Consumers who physically touch products are more likely to want them because touch creates a connection with a product. The study finding that, along with all other sources are in the description, as always. Quick side note here, in the process of researching this video, I found out that Apple has a trademark on their physical store! Yea! Apparently, it give Apple ownership to the Genius bar, glass storefront, and the ways the tables and other furniture are arranged.

And while that may seem a bit crazy at first, the more I thought about it, the more it makes perfect sense. Apple stores have became so popular and unique they are instantly recognizable, even if they had no Apple branding on them. Apple is just protecting themselves from people who want to make customers think they are in an Apple Store, but aren’t. Anywho, second, the customer service. Apple customer service is unmatched, simply because they don’t focus on selling you a product, they focused on best helping you. They put you in the center of their world, as Tim Bajarin writes for Time: “when you go into an Apple store and are greeted by one of the sales staff, you’re not asked, ‘How can I help you?’ Instead they ask, ‘What would you like to do today?’” Apple Store employees salaries are not based on commission, so their incentive isn’t to sell you something, it’s to help you. When hired, they are trained to follow a 5 rule system, abbreviated APPLE. Get it? Get it? Ge… A: Approach customers with a personalized, warm welcome. P: Probe politely to understand the customer’s needs. P: Present a solution for the customer to take home today.

L: Listen for and resolve issues or concerns. E: End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return. When hiring employees, Apple makes sure they fit 3 requirements: they display grit, they could have stood up to Steve Jobs, and provide Ritz-Carlton-like service. And that last bit is essence of what we’re talking about. The success of the Apple Store goes back to realizing that it isn’t a technology store, it’s a luxurious lifestyle store. Apple literally wants it to feel like a Ritz Carlton. It’s is a physical location that continues to drive Apple’s message of a premium fashion brand. One more note before we move on, not only do these stores contribute to Apple’s message, but they also make them tons of cash moneys. Apple Stores are the most profitable store on the planet, generating $5,546 in revenue every square foot. That’s more than any other relator by a long shot. Three! Tech. Ok, so, so far, we’ve only been talking about marketing, but that’s only half the battle.

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Does Apple’s message of simplicity and premiumity carry through to their tech? Yes. Apple’s devices are famous for being elegantly simplistic and ridiculously easy to use. On top of other aspects of the iPhone, a great is how apps are displayed. All of your apps are somewhere on your homescreen, all of them are the exact same shape, and all of them aspire to be easy to navigate.

Like most of what’s in the episode, we have Steve Jobs to thank for that. Steve’s love of design simplicity came from 2 places: his childhood home, a modern, simplistic, Frank-Lloyd-Wright-eque, house in the Bay Area designed by Joseph Eichler, and Zen Buddhism. He was enriched in it after an extensive trip through India he went on just after dropping out of college, but what really tickled his mindbrain was Japanese Zen Buddhism. So, to sum it all up, Apple isn’t a technology brand, they’re a fashion brand. They make their iPhones a fashion statement by using, among others tactics, simplicity is their advertising, retail stores, software to convey a sense of premium product experience.

That is why the iPhone is so successful. Hey Siri, wanna take us out? >> SIRI: Thanks for watching, DFTBA, and Explore On.

What would Steve Jobs stay if he were still with us? He would say great jobs. The Solar Eclipse is coming up in only a couple weeks, and I am totally psyched. Y’all know I love astronomy and astrophysics, so this is a really cool time.

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