If I would have a dollar , euro, yen for each time a marketer says “we want to be the next Apple,” I’d be rich by now and could stop writing.
As you see, I am forced to continue.
Apple appears to be the brand to emulate. But everybody thinks they saw it first. The last to do so was Joel Ewanick, Chief Marketing Officer of GM. He was lured away from Hyundai, because he was the man with the ideas. Now what is he doing? He joins the long line of marketing managers who just want their brand to be like Apple.
Joel, take a number:
- McDonald’s wants to be like Apple. Well, almost: “We’re not trying to be Apple,” said senior director of U.S. restaurant design for McDonald’s, “but we can be inspired by them.”
- King of Herb, a “super brand of Marijuana that will be sold in medical marijuana boutique shops in California” wants to be like Apple. They want to be “cool, yet edgy and cool.”
- Even Saab wanted to be “the Apple of car makers,” two years ago. And we all know what happened to them.
Shall we go on?
London’s Daily Mail, assisted by the Bishop of Buckingham, thinks it knows what marketers want when they want to be like Apple: Blind faith. It’s the wet dream of every marketer:
“The desire for iPods and iPads can occasionally border on the religious. An MRI scan of an Apple fanatic’s brain has found the same part lit up as a believer’s did when they gazed upon religious imagery.”
The Daily Mail is not the only to complain. “We so often hear ‘we want to be like Apple or Google,’ the success stories of today,” writes Forbes. Forbes has a less complicated explanation for the lust for Apples. Forbes says it’s pure nostalgia:
“Production lines hummed and capitalism flourished. Millions of Americans literally bought into the American dream, enjoying new levels of comfort and security. Diligent workers toiled on production lines or equally mechanized corporate machines.
This was the time of BIG things in the US. Big government, big population growth, big ambitions and big civic construction projects sprang up.
In truth, it was a time when the world’s biggest economy was then a young, dynamic, fast growing market.”
It also was the time when things like the Apple computer were invented. By hippies in a garage. While lusting for Apples, we secretly want the boom times of the boomers back. But you can’t just say “I want to be Apple,” and the paradise lost comes trotting back. Continues Forbes:
“Fast forward to 2011, America now competes in a fierce global market against young and dynamic economies. New companies emerge as world leaders such as India’s Tata, and new brands take top spot like China’s Snow Beer which is now the biggest selling beer in the world.
In addition to this, the US is suffering from a seriously stalled economy, job losses, and corporate giants losing their way. To top it off, in many parts of the world Brand America is now viewed with alarming degrees of vehemence.”
Don’t try to be like Apple. The secret to branding is to create ye olde Unique Selling Proposition. You don’t want to emulate a produce department of wannabe Apples. Not unless you have read and observed that other USP when taking medications. It’s not THOSE tablets we are after.
You don’t want to be like Apple, GM. Apples rot if left unsold for a few weeks.
You want to be the biggest, baddest, and most successful car company in the universe.
For that, you need something simple, yet hard:
You want your own good ideas.
Or in the words of another trite but true campaign:
You don’t want to be like Apple. Try harder.