Earlier this week Apple hired Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts as Senior Vice President of Retail and Online stores. Why?
Here's one theory posed by the New York Times, Brian X. Chen and Mark Scott, she "will help the company reassert its reputation as a global luxury brand."
What we're seeing is two strategies going on. Apple is trying to toe the line between two markets, luxury and the mass market. First, we saw an attempt to earlier this fall to offer lower-cost versions of their i-Pad mini and iPhone 5. Whether that was a successful endeavor is up for discussion, but we can agree that Apple is looking to expand into the wider consumer market where it increasingly faces competition from manufacturers of more affordable alternatives to their products and services.
"I have always thought of Apple as a luxury brand," said Greg Furman, founder and chairman of The Luxury Marketing Council. Having led the turnaround and revitalization of 150-year-old luxury British fashion brand, Furman thinks that the reason Apple asked Ahrendts to join their company is to bring a fresh perspective and a skill set they need in order to dominate the general and luxury markets. That skill set it branding.
"Apple is always looking to up their game and [give] that extra oomph. I think she [Ahrendts] can bring that."
Apple is a technology brand that aspires to be more. Apple is opening themselves up to an opportunity to increase their reach with consumers. An exceptional article by Clare O'Connor of Forbes talks about what this decision to bring Angela Ahrendts on board will mean for Apple's future as a lifestyle brand.
The reason I bring this news to your attention is to point out how important branding is for a company and how much thought must be put into a company's decision to either rebrand or change direction. If you want to expand and grow your business you need the right visionary to manage and deliver a strong and unified image and message to the public. Today brand strategists, executives, publicists, and advertisers need to be able to provide a seamless brand experience on multiple platforms. Where a company can run into trouble is trying to have the best of both worlds, trying straddle high-end and low-end markets, or wanting to be bigger than they are, without a clear identity or voice.
If there's one take away from this particular story of a big technology company hiring someone from outside the tech industry to manage their branding in-store and online, it's that you need to be open to new ideas in order to grow your business.
We at Geoffresh consult small businesses that need help with branding and don't know where to start. In this digital age you can brand anything, (your self, your dog, anything really), but if you want someone to help you construct an effective branding strategy, we have you covered and the best part is we can teach you how to manage your brand online if you want to understand how it all works. In this complicated world you can rely on us to make it simple and different than any other team you've ever worked with before.