John Akerson's Thoughts

Business, technology and life

Brand Value, Apple Style

So – What is brand value and how much can it really help or hurt a product?

Brand Value is everything, and Apple’s iPad is the best, latest example.  Apple has enormous brand value. That value is sufficient to take a concept, be second or third to market, and instantly dominate.Microsoft's UMPC

My opinion is that Apple did not really invent the iPad concept. They were not first to market. They did not set the pricing, the product details, the look, feel, or really anything else about the product.  They will sell billions of dollars of their Apple-branded iPad product, but essentially every key characteristic of a circa 2010 iPad – was built by Microsoft in 2006. Microsoft called it Origami. Here’s a picture of Microsoft’s Origami Ultra-Mobile PC. Microsoft's Origami (UMPC)

Here is a link to a video of Microsoft’s Origami.  Compare that with Steve Job’s introductory video of the iPad.  The Kindle-like function wasn’t highlighted in Origami… but everything else is there.  Here’s another Origami Demo video. I’m amazed at the similarity in function and features…

So – The iPad has a design that is synonymous with the iPhone, and a name that comes from Apple’s ubiquitousipad3 naming and branding family. The “iPad” name fits in perfectly with iTunes, iMac, iPod, iPhone, etc. The iPad’s design carries forward the same features, look, feel, design, and ultimately, it carries the Apple brand into a 2010 product that replicates Microsoft’s 2006 Windows Origami UMPC experience.

Apple’s look, feel and brand essentially takes a product that made essentially nothing for Microsoft from 2006-2010. Wall Street projects that it will sell 1 to 4 million units during the first year.   Analyst Robert Cihra recommends buying Apple because of “Apple’s ability to leverage the unique in-house core abilities ranging from hardware and software engineering to the existing iTunes ecosystem”

I think the value goes way beyond the 125 million users of iTunes, the potential of the new iBooks function, and it goes way beyond what Microsoft had envisioned for its Origami.

Apple’s recipe was to take two cups of Microsoft’s Origami, a spoonful of Amazon’s Kindle, and their a pinch of Apple’s own iPhone and iPod Touch into a blender. The ingredient that made the difference was when they poured a cup of their own unique brand. That added incredible value.

So – going forward, what other competing products can Apple monetize with a similar recipe?  Where do they want to go next?   Does anyone else use brand value like that?  What do you think?




February 1, 2010 - Posted by | Business, Competitive Advantage, Continuous Improvement

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