Table of Contents Introduction1 Apple’s Integrated Marketing Communications Programme for iPad. 2 Brand Positioning2 Target Audience3 Target market and segments4 Evaluation of the products’ Integrated Marketing Communications plan:4 Conclusion7 Recommendations7 Bibliography8 Introduction This report will discuss Apple’s Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Programme for their iPad product and how this is coordinated to communicate the iPad’s product positioning strategy.
Apple’s iPad is a tablet computer adding a new genre to their mobile devices. The report will discuss the brand positioning and any recommendations for future IMC planning. Apple’s corporate headquarters are based in California in the US in the heart of the Hi-tech industry. They are global in terms of computer electronic consumable sales. Apple position themselves as a top of the range brand with pioneering innovations and consumer needs and wants in mind.
Steve Jobs, former co-founder, chairman and CEO of Apple Inc. , made a compelling positioning statement during his introduction of the iPad at a conference in January 2010, he stated that the iPad is “so much more intimate than a laptop, and it’s so much more capable than a smartphone with its gorgeous screen” (STONE, 2010). Apple is committed to remaining in the forefront of innovation and quality, and therefore will sustain their competitive advantage in a rapidly evolving market.
This report will also highlight the importance of media for Apple’s brand and how Apple have used this to reach its’ target audience and increase brand awareness. It will also question if Apple is focusing on the Marketing Communications Mix or are they relying more on the desire of the ‘brand’? The theory behind IMC is to use all aspects of marketing communication such as Advertising, Public Relations, Direct marketing and Personal selling to attain and sustain long-term customer relationships while strengthening brand awareness and increasing profits.
Apple’s use and effectiveness of the IMC campaign and their success from it will be discussed further in this report along with what message Apple are trying to deliver in their advertising of the iPad. Apple’s Integrated Marketing Communications Programme for iPad. The Apple brand is instantly recognisable throughout the world due to the company’s positioning strategy of their product line by way of product features, quality and ease of use to name a few. Their leadership in innovation gives the brand competitive advantage and this has fed the want and desire for the brand by consumers.
Therefore the iPad having the Apple brand already created a certain am The Apple brand is instantly recognisable throughout the world due to the company’s positioning strategy of their product line by way of product features, quality and ease of use to name a few. Their leadership in innovation gives the brand competitive advantage and this has fed the want and desire for the brand by consumers. Therefore the iPad having the Apple brand already created a certain am Apple is no different to most organisations for using promotional and advertising tools to gain customers’ interest and the desire for their products.
However, their marketing on innovation and design of the iPad also catches the attention of new potential consumers. To many the technology was not totally new, but the concept was and Apple focussed on that. Previous products from Apple put their brand in the limelight and made any new product launch a much anticipated one. amount of reputation, awareness and prominence in the marketplace before it was even launched. So how is Apple’s Integrated Marketing Communications organised to communicate the iPad’s positioning strategy? Firstly, we should look at the brand positioning and how the iPad fits in.
Brand Positioning Brands and the management of brands have become very important elements of culture and the economy. A brand can increase the product’s perceived value and therefore brand management and the marketing techniques used are seen as vital to increase brand equity and the positioning of their products. Marketers see a brand as an implied promise of the level of quality consumers have come to expect from the brands’ products and that future products will meet those expectations. Apple is seen as an ‘iconic brand that delivers revolutionary, beautifully designed and incredibly profitable products. (Daye, 2012). The ‘Apple’ brand is in fact Number 1 in brand value according to Forbes, saying it is worth $87. 1 billion, up 52% from two years ago (Forbes, 2012). The master of the Apple brand was Steve Jobs who was an excellent brand marketer and core to what Apple is today. He saw the future for Apple which was going beyond computers, therefore his first step was to remove the word ‘Computer’ from their logo. Doing this allowed the company to diversify and expand into the world of mobile devices and more. Doing this allowed the company to diversify and expand into the world of mobile devices and more.
Just as the products are very important for competitiveness, the brand is too, and the Apple brand certainly has succeeded in building up a very valuable good: an instantly recognizable and universally respected brand. This makes it easier to promote and sell the iPad. In fact, some brands over time become cult brands: consumers become passionate about the brand and levels of loyalty go beyond reason (Roberts, 2004) and Apple has become a cult brand in some respects. As mentioned in Steve Jobs’ compelling positioning statement in the introduction, he made two important statements about the product.
They were that the iPad was between two already highly successful mobile devices, the laptop and the smartphone, and very importantly that the iPad had competitive advantages over each. Apple brand followers were instantly excited and could not wait for the release of the iPad so they could be the first to have it, whether they needed such a device or not! The iPad was a game-changer in the tech world when released in April of 2010 and some believe it may end the personal computer era such is the strength of the brand. Target Audience
The iPad’s target audience is not as clear as one would think, it turns out that it is very broad. The initial thought on the iPad by the media was that it was just a big iPhone that could not be used for regular phone calls, so who would want something like that? Apple believed, like for the iPod, that the iPad was for everyone. They got this perception when a year after the iPod was released many consumers still believed the device was for ‘techies and celebrities’. The task, therefore, was to use communications to inform world audiences that the iPod (and now the iPad) was for everyone, not just a select few (Fill, 2009).
The fact that many features and programs on the iPad were inherited from the iPod and iPhone it meant that users would be familiar with the devices’ capabilities and have the advantage of mobile computing too. The iPad had the potential to target music lovers of all ages and denominations, it was a learning tool for both students and professionals with the addition of thousands of applications (apps) available. The variety of apps could attract consumers who love to read, share photographs, stay in touch through forms of email, forums, virtual meetings, social media and Apples’ ‘Facetime’ to name a few.
This made the iPads’ audience vast and diverse. Target market and segments Segmentation is necessary because a single product is unlikely to meet the needs of all customers in a mass market (Fill, 2009). This should be the case for most products, however the iPad is satisfying many needs and desires. For example, due to the variety of applications available, the iPad becomes an educational tool, a recreational tool, a business tool and a communication tool, all of which the iPad was designed for. It is clear the device is equally good for home use as well as business for both genders.
But the competitiveness of the product is strengthened by Apple’s award winning dedicated music store, iTunes, which delivers seamless downloading of not just music, but books and movies too, which widens the target market and covers several market segments. The need to communicate through channels such as social media, example is Facebook, and websites specifically designed for mobile devices such as iVillage for women, make the iPad a very attractive device as it is stylish, light weight and now trendy to own one.
Consumers of all ages and backgrounds can potentially own one as the price of the base model is relatively acceptable in terms of technical devices is concerned. Because of the potential to increase productivity businesses are scrambling to purchase the iPad, students and colleges want them, and they are seen being used by news broadcasters and presenters not to mention government representatives. Apple do not appear to target markets like other companies do, they tend to target people.
They use elements of IMC and AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action) to achieve and maintain customer loyalty and increase brand awareness. They managed to present complex technology in an easy, user friendly and fun way, a key to their success in many markets. Evaluation of the products’ Integrated Marketing Communications plan: Apple continued on the successes of previous products when launching their iPad product, using images and reminders of what those previous products have done for the world. Their marketing communications for the iPad very much focused on what the company has done and what they are best at.
In the keynote presentation of the iPad, the company reminded us that in October 2001, Apple revolutionised the way people listen to music with the iPod, in April 2003 Apple revolutionised the way people buy music, videos and games with iTunes. In October 2007, they revolutionised the world of mobile communications with the iPhone, and now with the iPad, Apple will ‘revolutionise’ the world again. Steve Jobs’ enthusiastic description of the device during his Keynote in January 2010 makes the individual user feel that it was made for them, that they will “hold the internet in their hands and it is an incredible experience. Steve Jobs on many occasions has stated that he loves Apple products and their customers. This shows in the customer support Apple has invested in. The company internally is well briefed on how Apple wants to be perceived, again this shows in how secrecy shrouds products prior to their launch. Their communication mix is very much audience focused and always consistent. The message for iPad is clear, it is a device for the individual who could personalise it and bring it anywhere. Apples’ marketing objectives were quite simple for the iPad.
Their approach has always been the same, but different to other organisations, their introduction was somewhat spectacular due to the fact that products prior to launch were always successfully kept a secret. This made Apple brand fans excited and other consumers intrigued. Apples’ marketing strategy is “It’s better to be simple” and it shows in their marketing communications as they keep their advertising minimalistic and product information in simple language. The main forms they use are social media, online advertising, presentation keynotes and sometimes viral marketing!
Either way, the message is clear and simple; the product is exciting, fun and easy to use. This is unusual, as traditionally, technical products were always described by their systems’ statistics and technical terminology which the average consumer does not understand. Brand awareness is increased because of the hype. The communication mix or marketing mix involves the implementation of a marketing plan consisting of: i) Promotion, ii) Product, iii) Price and iv) Place. The Apple brand is an incredibly strong brand hence ‘Promotion’ is mentioned first.
Apple, surprisingly, do not spend as much on advertising as one would think. Media such as television and magazines are their main choice but what Apple did and did best were product launch press releases. As mentioned before, keynote presentations were what Apples’ former CEO was extraordinary at. And people who mattered most to promote and place the new product in the media through public relations press releases, were present at these presentations. Secrecy of a product generated interest and added to that the Apple brand which created hype, resulted in enthusiastic anticipation of the iPad launch.
Commercials were simplistic but visually pleasing and this enhanced the beauty and simplicity of the design and features of the iPad, exactly what Steve Jobs himself loved about Apple products. This is also mirrored in their shop designs featuring simple but sophisticated look just displaying the Apple products promoting their features. More recently, the iPad has been placed in most good computer electronic stores around the world and of course Apples’ own e-commerce website. It is now as easy to purchase the iPad as it is to buy shoes.
The iPad, like other Apple products, is designed and manufactured to the highest standards as always maintained by the former CEO Steve Jobs. The Product is probably Apples’ most important ‘P’ in the communication mix as they believe they have the most a product can offer. “Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings. ” (Apple, 2004). The products and the brand will push the other ‘Ps’ of the mix for Apple.
Price was not as important for Apple as their products. With their iPad they have competitive advantage with innovation, they also have control with materials, such as touch screens and flash memory to keep costs down over their competitors. Most electronic goods’ prices generally fall as the product nears the end of its PLC, (Product Life Cycle). Not so much with Apple products. Apple manages to get people hooked on their products from an early age. The iPad, like other Apple mobile devices, are very easy and fun to use and have the capability of adapting to the user by means of applications and personalisation.
Therefore, as the user grows older the device can contain more ‘mature’ applications. For example, games and early learning apps can entertain children while music and movies are a must for adolescences, and productivity and news may be important for adults. Today we cannot live without social networking and weather information! This is a very clever way of reaching a varied target audience that is not confined to gender, demographics, interests, or even age and Apple use ‘apps’ to promote the iPad.
The effectiveness of the IMC campaign is hard to measure for the iPad as an individual Apple product, as much of the interest is down to the loyalty of the brand also. Critics will always point to the negatives, but there is without doubt, evidence to show the iPad is a huge success. Promoting the iPad to young users, for example, in schools and colleges and images of celebrities and peers using them means it generates the desire to own one. Apple can also lock the consumer into the brand by linking their products and services so that they continue to use the brand through life.
Conclusion Their advertising and in-store presentation of the iPad gives the product a prestigious image, but the ability to allow the consumer to try it or ‘play’ with it in their stores shows the confidence the company has for their products’ capabilities and quality, and that is what consumers inevitably pick up on. For effective marketing there needs to be effective communication of the information of the product. Apple does it well, but they do it simply and that seems to work. The desire they have generated for the consumer to want a fun and productive device is unquenchable.
Apple may not follow all the rules of Integrated Marketing Communications, but they are careful in the planning of a product entry into the market. Secrecy, hype, presentations and image are key to their success it seems and the Apple brand remains powerful and resilient. Recommendations Apple as a company must be transparent to remain credible and sustainable in today’s business climate. This will also aid in the expansion into emerging markets. The success of the iPad has been a cornerstone for the company roven by sales of nearly 40 million iPads at the end of 2011, according to Forbes, and they expect 73 million in sales by the end of 2012. This can be over confident and risky as they lack new innovation since the iPad 2 launch. To continue growth into 2013 Apple’s marketing strategy will need to focus on brand positioning, promotion, customer service and estimate a competitive price of iPad with additional features linking to research and analysis of the environmental forces to compete in the global market. A continual S. W. O. T. analysis would benefit to understand the company’s position.
Promotion development and strategies can be extremely effective if Apple continues to focus on its strategic human resource management and by making consistent attempts to remodel its marketing plan to continue successfully. Bibliography Apple, 2004. Apple Press Info. [Online] Available at: http://www. apple. com/pr/library/2004/01/08HP-and-Apple-Partner-to-Deliver-Digital-Music-Player-and-iTunes-to-HP-Customers. html [Accessed 27th March 2013]. Daye, D. , 2012. Weakness In The Apple Brand?. [Online] Available at: http://www. brandingstrategyinsider. com/2012/12/crunch-time-for-the-apple-brand. html#. US860jAqyCl [Accessed 28th Feb 2013].
Fill, C. , 2009. Marketing Communications. Fifth Edition ed. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited. Forbes, 2012. Apple Tops List Of The World’s Most Powerful Brands. [Online] Available at: http://www. forbes. com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2012/10/02/apple-tops-list-of-the-worlds-most-powerful-brands/ [Accessed 24th March 2013]. Roberts, K. , 2004. The Future Beyond Brands: Lovemarks. New York: Powerhouse Books. STONE, B. , 2010. New York Times. Inside Technology. [Online] Available at: http://www. nytimes. com/2010/01/28/technology/companies/28apple. html? _r=0 [Accessed 12 Feb 2013].