“Actually I am very glad that people can buy Armani – even if it’s a fake. I like the fact that I’m so popular around the world– Giorgio Armani”
When you talk of “Top 100 Brands in the world” –always remember one of them is Indian. Do you know the brand? It’s ICICI bank – it ranks at no 45 on the list while Google is No 1. Now take another guess – what’s common between Coca-cola, Nokia, Blackberry, Facebook, Samsung, Del, Apple, IBM, McDonalds or Canon? Simple – they are all brands…. So are Amul, Bajaj, Colgate, Pepsodent, Tata Salt, Lakme, Ponds, Fair & Lovely, Titan, State Bank of India, Kissan, Hero Honda Mother Dairy, LIC and Kingfisher in the Indian context. But the most amazing thing is how a Finnish company– Nokia continues to be India’s preferred and most famous brand.
Now take another guess… what else do these titans have in common? The answer is humble beginnings. As you’ll see, irrespective of what they are today they were nothing—absolute zeros when they were started by normal people with extraordinary determination. And that made the difference…
There are always two kinds of products– some which always remain products, while others qualify to be called megabrands… embodying the spirit of nations, if not the spirit of an age. An example of this transition is that while Lifebuoy is a product, Dettol is a brand. So is favicol,
Great brands are immortal, timeless legends…. icons that never fade or lose their luster in public memory… Always breathing in our heart, mind, body and soul– they influence the way we see the world, reflect the values of our societies and color our lives… Great brands have universal appeal—across the boundaries of culture, geography and generation. Great Brands are Multi-Dimensional, they Define Markets… they evolve over time, adapting to new generations and responding to new technologies. They never stand still.
But it’s equally true that behind every Great Brand is a Great idea… In this series we shall study how so-called ordinary individuals transformed their products into great mega brands – worthy of consumer loyalty.
Great brands are not built overnight. Building a brand that enjoys the trust of consumers is a difficult and painstaking process. It takes years of unrewarding efforts before the magic behind the brands is created. Just like a small child who initially does not even have a name. As he grows up he gets a name which people start calling him by. Gradually he develops an image; a personality and people start relating to him as a good or bad boy. Similarly a product acquires a set of tangible values and attributes, which make it, stand out in the crowd and influence the purchasing decisions of the customers.
STEVE PAUL JOBS – APPLE INC
American businessman Steve Jobs is dead. But the 56 year old founder and former CEO of Apple Inc will always be remembered as the visionary father of the Digital Revolution who invented many gadgets from the personal computer to iPad, iPod and iPhone –all of which helped make the world a better place to live. Steve Jobs’s vision was to transform Apple into a “mobile devices company” – the largest one in the world. In a way this is something he achieved as today Apple’s revenues are bigger than Nokia, Samsung, or Sony’s mobility business.
One of the richest men in the world at the time he died, Steve Jobs will be remembered for guiding Apple Inc to success and transforming the computer and phone industry. But he’ll also be remembered for his mistakes, failures and ability to bounce back.
A college dropout, fired executive and unsuccessful businessman Jobs could not complete his graduation and dropped out of Reed College. But he went on to co-found Apple Inc at the age of 21 from his family’s suburban California garage in 1976. He was already a millionaire by the time he was 23. In 1981, Apple Computer went public. Just two years later, Apple was doing well as a Fortune 500 company when Jobs decided to recruit John Sculley the head of Pepsi-Cola, as its new chief executive. But soon relations between Jobs and Sculley turned sour… Jobs was then 30 years old, wildly successful, wealthy and a global celebrity when he got fired from Apple, after a power struggle – with John Sculley. Apple’s board too sided with the CEO and gave Jobs his marching orders.
Steve Jobs was devastated…and initially didn’t know what to do for a few months. He even thought of running away … but then it began to dawn on him that he still loved what he did. So he decided to start over and the rest is history. Jobs called a former colleague and launched a new computer company, NeXT and Pixar Animation Studios. Things clicked again and by 1996, Apple Computer, by now struggling, acquired NeXT, returning Jobs to the company.
Back in the driving seat as Apple’s CEO, Steve drove the company to its greatest successes, from the iPod to the iPhone to the iPad.
Lots of other people too can give customers products they want– but Jobs greatest success as an entrepreneur was for the simple reason that he gave people products they didn’t know they wanted, and then made those products indispensable in their lives.
This is one reason why Apple brand is not just intimate with its customers and it’s loved. Apple’s entire branding strategy focuses on emotions. The Apple brand personality is about lifestyle; imagination; liberty regained; innovation; passion; hopes, dreams and aspirations; and power-to-the-people through technology. The Apple brand personality is also about simplicity and the removal of complexity from people’s lives; people-driven product design; and about being a really humanistic company with a heartfelt connection with its customers.
As Jobs himself, spelt out his magic mantra in his speech to Stanford graduates:
“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter into one of the most creative periods of my life,” he said.
“I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was an awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love.”
(To be continued)