Posts tagged ‘Apple’

What Apple’s Maps Experience Teaches

The introduction of the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 went relatively well, with one notable exception – many people are up in arms about the quality of Apple’s new maps software. Withering criticism has been heaped upon the company. Here is the New York TimesDavid Pogue. Here is The Wall Street Journal’s and All Things D’s Walt Mossberg. You know it is bad when a Tumblr blog has been created lampooning your software’s shortcomings. Yikes.

What does a company do in the face of such a maelstrom?

We previously chronicled Netflix’s botched rollout of a separate DVD-only service called “Quikster.”  However, Apple’s move is different in that they can’t just create a system update that reverts back to Google Maps – which previously came pre-loaded on iPhones and iPads. Doing so would: a) defeat the business rationale for creating a maps app; b) admit that a competitor is flat-out better than they are at something; and c) provide Google with leverage – should they even allow such a move – to force Apple either into an exclusivity pact or to provide additional concessions.

Still, Apple’s maps stink.

Today CEO Tim Cook admitted that the company blew it. He even apologized, saying he is “extremely sorry.” This is from an AP article:

“While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.”

It is a bold move for a company to mention, let alone outright endorse, competitors. However, as a PR move, this may prove extremely shrewd. Apple’s famously loyal customer base may appreciate Cook’s honesty and give the company some time to get this app right.

A key lesson, and one that applies to professional services companies as well, is that if you truly have botched something – oftentimes honesty is, as the cliché goes, the best policy. One of the worst things a company can do is stand their ground and remain tone deaf to their customers as they get pummeled by criticism.

These words can go a long way in preserving relationships:

We are truly sorry. We will fix the issue. In the meantime, here is what we can do for you.

Michael Bond

September 28, 2012 at 10:44 pm 1 comment

What’s a Brand Worth? $153 Billion, Apparently.

Have you ever pondered how much your company’s brand is worth? This is one of those squishy questions that are important, but very hard to determine. The folks over at Millward Brown took a stab at this question and produced what they consider to be the top 100 brands and the monetary value for each.

This year, Apple, maker of the ubiquitous iPhone and iPad, topped the list with a brand worth of an astounding estimated $153 billion. But really, what does that number mean? Some great insight was provided by Andrew Zolli of PopTech quoted on American Public Media’s Marketplace:

Someone famously said of Coca-Cola that if you burnt down every one of their factories, they’d be back in business in a quarter. If you knocked everybody on earth over the head and gave them amnesia, they’d be out of business in a quarter. And the reason for that is that their brand really exists in all of our minds.

That is a pretty succinct way of looking at the power of a brand. It is also worth noting that Apple, before Steve Jobs came back, was floundering but its dented brand still held great allure. Iconic commercials, like 1984, helped cement the company in the public’s collective conscience. Simply put, it was easier for Apple to come back because people knew who they were.

Branding professional services firms is considered more challenging than branding consumer products. In fact of the top 100 brands, according to Millward Brown, only Accenture made the list.

This is not to say that branding cannot and should not be undertaken by entities such as accounting firms or law firms. Rather, it is essential that it is. The tendency of professional services firms to have employees operating as semi-autonomous business entities hurts cross-marketing capabilities and hinders a company when they set out to achieve long-term goals.

What Does a Brand Mean?

A brand affects all aspects of an organization from the look-and-feel of business cards to the nuts and bolts of the services provided. With a clearly defined brand, consistently reinforced in thought-leadership pieces and marketing, a company develops an identity and consumers begin to attach qualities to an organization. Apple is worth a tremendous amount because consumers have the expectation that its devices will be cutting-edge and user-friendly. (Even their battery charger is supposed to be innovative.) A law or accounting firm, when properly branded, can cause clients to feel about them in similar ways. XYZ firm is honest, dependable and forward-thinking. This, in turn, may lead to increased business from existing clients or favorable reviews to potential new business sources.

Michael Bond

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May 11, 2011 at 11:06 pm 1 comment


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