Ben Wise on Branding

Watching the world through the lens of the brand

Apple Is All Grown Up, No Longer the Underdog

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It has been hard to miss the news that Apple’s market cap surpassed Microsoft yesterday, making it the most valuable tech company in the US, and second overall, behind Exxon Mobil. Earlier this week, Apple also announced that they will be ending the much-loved ‘Get a Mac’ ads (check out their 10 best ads).

I thought it was perfect timing that both of these happened in the same week, as they both portray the reality that Apple is all grown up and can no longer play the role of underdog, which was so clearly portrayed in the ‘Get a Mac’ ads.

For years Apple has played the role of the underdog to perfection. Fighting against industry giants like Microsoft and Sony, Apple managed to maintain this ‘little guy’ market position despite their rapidly growing top and bottom lines.

Luckily for Apple, this change in position has been fairly gradual over the past couple of years as they increasingly occupy the market space around cool, entertainment, and ease of use. As their soaring market cap can attest to, these are obviously powerful attributes for a brand to be associated with.

However, Apple does face risks. While they were once the beloved scrappy underdog, they will now face competitors who can credibly play that role. Apple has already taken some bad press for the mysterious process of getting apps approved (or denied!), and may encounter further resistance as other app stores catch up and offer a credible alternative.

The biggest risk Apple faces, however, is inflated expectations, everywhere from Wall Street to Main Street. After a series of industry changing innovations (at least 6 by my count), consumers will be disappointed in any new product that isn’t a home run.

What do you think? Can Apple’s winning streak continue?

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Written by benwisebranding

May 27, 2010 at 8:13 pm

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