An interesting thing happened to me this Sunday. My wife and I were visiting family in Houston and we decided to join them for church. They are members of Kingwood Christian Church. This is a great church and they always put on excellent activities,
events, and sermons. They are usually a little more hip or contemporary
than the churches I have attended over the years, but I usually like
the direction they take their worship. The interesting thing this Sunday was the sermon was called "There's an App for That".
How does this tie into branding you might ask. Well, the pastor did an excellent job of discussing the evils of technology, like porn and other unproductive time wasters (some online games have stolen plenty of my time, I must admit). The pastor then showed a few examples of how technology can be a life saver like a smoke detector that continues to work for hours while a house is in flames.
The whole sermon revolved around the iPhone and iPhone advertising (There's an App for That). The iPhone now offers 10,000 apps that are either free or cost a few dollars. Although there are some bad ones, the pastor's point was that there are also plenty of good ones like the bible as a free app.. Who would have thought you could carry a whole bible around in your pocket? So, as the pastor is giving his sermon, I am realizing how strong of a brand Apple is.
Ok, so I use an Apple nearly everyday and have long been willing to argue the greatness of any Apple product (from 1990 or so when I first started using their products). I remember even in tough times in the early '90s when Apple fired Steve Jobs and their business was failing, I was a committed fan. I am an Apple user for life and my company will always be using Apple products. So you can say I was easily swayed to the sermon and thinking about Apple's brand strength, however it goes deeper than that. Many of the non-design members of the church were also on board with this sermon and Apple.
Apple has not only tapped into the design/printing business as a leader and owns a huge percentage of the market, but they figured out how to grow beyond this. Yes, the design community is fanatical and customers for life, but how can Apple build a business that will make it into a sermon? Well, being the innovators that Apple and Steve Jobs are, they moved into the education market and for a while owned that market. When the education market slowed down they started developing the iMac to try and get personal computers in order to go up against Microsoft. The iMac was popular, but it wasn't until they launched the multiple colors that the iMac started flying off the shelves. The key was to keep innovating. Next Apple added an iPod, imagine a walkman (personal music player, some of you old people might remember these) that could play 8 days worth of music without repeating a single song. This was unthought of and incapable in the 80's and 90's. Then Apple developed digital song distribution via iTunes and the computer company changed the whole music industry. What's next? Why not make your music player you cellphone, and PDA? Now, so many people have the iPhone it is starting to get people used to Apple products and has improved the sale of their computers. Apple is innovative and this is what keeps them ahead of the pack.
How can you take this philosophy and apply it to your business/brand?
There are many me-too commercials out there like the "I'm a PC" campaign. Although this is a great campaign, I feel they kind of missed the mark - the mark being innovation. They are ridding Apples coat-tails.
The whole point to this article is Apple has created an App for branding, it is called innovation.
Being highly innovative may even get you a sermon at your local church. What are you doing to innovate you company, industry or the world? If you do not know the answer, get out there and do something. Take a risk and learn from any mistakes for future innovation. Just keep looking forward and setting yourself apart from competitors.