(Image found here.)
One of my favorite brands has been under a bit of PR scrutiny the last few months. Yes, that’s right, I’m a huuuuuge Apple fan. I actually had the pleasure of purchasing my very first iPhone this last weekend. (Granted, not the iPhone 5, but still a huge step up from my crappy HTC Eris.) It’s not that I’m too naïve to note that the Apple craze is a result of fantastic consumer relations and marketing, as opposed to truly having vastly superior operating systems, I simply prefer my Apple products. Sue me.
But is the Apple empire starting to crumble?
A recent study from Strategy Analytics found that “Only 75 percent of iPhone owners in Western Europe say they are likely to buy their next phone from Apple, down from 88 percent in 2011. US repeat purchase intentions have also seen a slight decline, down from 93 percent in 2011 to 88 percent in 2012.”
Why might that be? People are starting to question whether Apple’s loyalty has slipped from their customers to their profits. The recent failure with the Apple operated Maps application is a really good example of negative media they have been getting. Apple Maps was definitely released before it was ready, or of any use to anyone using it. The huge failure of the Maps application drove people to question their faith in the brand.
This summer I also read a fantastic post about how the marketing and advertising team seems to be slipping up as well. I know that the use of celebrity endorsements is not necessarily an ominous sign, but the article, as well as this one that the author often quotes, does bring up some interesting points.
“Hiring famous people is what Microsoft or Acura do when they get Jerry Seinfeld to try to make their brands funny. It’s what packaged goods brands do when they can’t think of anything better to talk about.”
Both articles suggest that Apple is losing faith in it’s products, and is now forced to borrow interest and endorsements from celebrities. If your product is truly interesting, people will notice it without the assurance of a paid celebrity.
Obviously the brand itself isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and I definitely hope that new, innovative products continue to emerge, but the extremely loyal following that has always surrounded Apple certainly might begin to die away. Even I’ve had to chuckle at the sarcastic Samsung Galaxy III commercials making fun on the iPhone 5.
All empires fall eventually. Which company will rise up next?