You Seriously Want To Be Like Apple, GM?

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

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:

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.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Fincar1 Fincar1 on Aug 15, 2011

    What NulloModo said: "It’s a lot easier to reach new customers who have never had any experience with you than it is to regain customers who you’ve had and lost because of bad experiences." And I'll add another comment...Bertel, there may come a day when you are rich and don't have to write, but I suspect that won't mean that you'll stop writing.

  • Eldard Eldard on Aug 18, 2011

    If anything, Apple is like BMW and vice versa. Both are very good at marketing to the gullible.

  • Golden2husky Have to say he did an excellent job on the C7, especially considering the limited budget he was given. I am very happy with my purchase.
  • Marty The problem isn't range; it's lack of electricity in multi-unit building parking. All you need is level 1 - a standard 120v wall socket - and if you're plugged in 10 hours overnight you get 280 miles per week or more. That's enough for most folks but you can use public charging to supplement when needed. Installing conduit circuits and outlets is simple and cheap; no charge stations needed.
  • 2manyvettes Tadge was at the Corvette Corral at the Rolex 24 hour sports car race at the end of January 2023. During the Q&A after his remarks someone stood up and told him "I will never buy an electric Corvette." His response? "I will never sell you an electric Corvette." Take that Fwiw.
  • Socrates77 They're pinching pennies for the investors like always, greed has turned GM into a joke of an old corporate American greed.
  • Analoggrotto looking at this takes me right back to the year when “CD-ROM” first entered public lexicon