What does a brand mean to you?

What does a brand mean to you? Does it mean dependability, consistency, recognition or a promise? Does it mean claiming yourself as a Mac or a PC? Verizon or AT&T? Sony PlayStation or Nintendo Wii? Did you know that we are exposed to over 5,000 brands a day? It’s interesting to think how much of an impact brands have in your day to day life.

Companies work hard to establish a brand and maintain a following of loyal customers. For example, billions of people all over the world recognize, trust and love everything Apple. It’s difficult not to with their simplistic, sleek design and user friendly programs. Without establishing the brand, “Apple”, the company wouldn’t be where it is today. While Bill Gates’ Microsoft positioned itself for businesses Steve Jobs focused on re-positioning Apple to appeal more to the masses with their cool iPod, MacBook and now the iPad. How did they accomplish this? Through branding and advertising, of course.

Their competitive advertising, like the PC vs. Mac commercials, have enabled them to move beyond just regular brand recognition into the realm of lovemarks. Instead of just saying they own a MacBook, many claim “I’m a Mac”. Steve Jobs identified a need in the market and created his products based on what those needs were. Apple established a sense of belonging within their costumers by opening 286 stores for them worldwide, an easy to navigate web site and easy to use products. By being in touch with his costumer’s needs and wants, he enabled Apple to be the “cool” brand over their competitors.

Being on top is a hard place to be however. How will Steve Jobs and the team at Apple come up with new, exciting ways to keep their market interested in them? Perhaps the current solution is the iPad which is yet to be officially released. More importantly, who can compete with Apple? They have already beaten out PC’s, Amazon’s Kindle and Mp3 players.  One thing is for certain… Apple is the brand to beat in marketing their products and identifying with their customers.

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