The Secret that Apple Keeps in Plain Sight

It’s no secret that Apple is one of the most successful and well known of any corporation. Apple is everywhere, and pushes the envelope of technological capability unlike anyone else in the industry. Apple has revolutionized the world with its Mac, its iPod, and its iPhone. What makes Apple so successful and what makes so many people become dedicated to their brand?

The answer lies in their motto, “Think Different.”. Apple exemplifies this mindset best in two different ways. First, Apple uses an “idea first” method of designing their products. Shortly before the iPhone was announced in 2007, the cellular telephone industry was stuck in a rut. Many companies believed that the cellphone had reached its peak, and that there was no improving on it other than what already existed. Clearly, we know that cellphones hadn’t reached their peak in the mid 2000’s; in fact, they were merely on the cusp of their technological potential. Everyone knows the story since then, the iPhone entered the market at the top and has stayed there for quite a while; but what most people don’t know is why they got there.

This question was approached in a Ted Talk by Simon Sinek, about “the Golden Circle”, an idea that helps visualize the approach that Apple has historically taken with the marketing of their products. The Golden Circle consists of three unique rings; the what, the how, and why. Most companies are recognizable because of their “what”, consumers understand that Kraft makes Mac n Cheese, Ford makes cars and trucks, and Lego makes building blocks. Some people may even know how Kraft comes up with their flavor, Ford combines their vehicle parts, and Lego molds their bricks. However, many companies fail to communicate why those companies do what they do. 

Most consumers can tell you what Apple manufactures and how they do it, the same as they can for most other companies. The difference is that consumers can also see the “why” in Apple’s products and their marketing. From the attention grabbing 1984 ad that promoted the original Macintosh, to Steve Job’s introduction of the iPod in 2001 and subsequent introduction of the iPhone in 2007. Apple has always put their motto, “Think Different”, at the core of each product. The key being that Apple introduced their most popular product lines with the goal of reinventing an existing product; whether it be the personal computer, the MP3 player, or the cell phone, Apple has always put the people first. From the sleek designs, to the user-friendly layouts, the why has always been prioritized above the what. With Apple developing their technology for the sake of what it can do for the consumer, not how it benefits Apple.

Unfortunately, most companies fail to utilize the why first method that Apple has flag-shipped for so long.  Their products may be useful and utilized by millions, but the brand dedication is not there. Apple literally thinks different when it comes to the development, marketing, and utilization of their products, and that has become the secret they’ve hidden in plain sight.