Why Apple didn't changed the story or the game

Change the story. Change the game

It is a very simple idea

And (as we have seen before) over the decades nobody has employed this strategy more successfully than Apple

What I want to look at today is why, more often than not, Apple didn't change the story. Nor did they change the game

In fact they went out of their way to repeat their story to keep their customers in the game

Today I want to talk about the what happens after the new product launch

We'll begin with the 'Think Different' campaign

Better known as the 'Here's to the crazy ones' this was the campaign that reintroduced Steve Jobs back into the Apple story

It was beginning of the long road moving forward to this... the launch of the iPhone in 2007

Now let's start this journey with a question: Just who was the 'Crazy Ones' campaign targeting?

New customers or established customers?

The simple answer is the Mac Users. The tribe

The campaign didn't moved the needle in terms of shifting WinTel users to buy Macs

You see this campaign was never designed to increase market share

This campaign was designed to hold on to the customers Apple already had

Take a closer look and you'll see the 'Think Different/Crazy Ones' Campaign wasn't a celebration of genius. It was about reinforcing the Apple users' self-image

You buy Apple therefore you are one of the crazy ones. Which means you're special... because your (addiction to) Mac makes you special

And yes, the 'Mac vs PC' campaign was the evolution of that strategy

So what's the lesson here?

These campaigns speak to the question of influence

Specifically our ideas about how popular celebrities and powerful influencers can change the behaviour of the crowd

So let's pivot the idea of influence on it's head

What if the key to unlocking Apple's success isn't the all powerful Steve Jobs 'Creator-Influencer-Genius' story but the radical idea Apple tapped into a rich vein of impressionable, young geeks. A tribe of rebels without a cause... who ended up embracing Apple and their Macs as their cause

What if it was the unrelenting passion and energy of this tribe of geeks who made Apple what it is today?

What if we assume the key to Apple's success was discovering and nurturing the aspirations and expectations of a tribe of tech enthusiasts who were easily influenced?

To explore this idea let's take a look how the Apple product line and positioning has evolved over 5 Decades

What started out as a hobbist computer (Think: Expensive Geeky Plaything) has evolved into a luxury fashion accessory (Think: Expensive Geeky Plaything)

And here is the insight from this line of thinking

Games are all about the players. The stories they tell themselves and their friends shape the way they play the game

It shapes their identity and the rules that predetermine entry into their tribe

It speaks to the nature of belonging

... and there is a lesson in there for those of us seeking to change the story or the game

Because without players there is no game. And without players who will share the stories of the games they play?

Understand this and you discover the matrix needs to evolve to accomodate the role of the players in the mix

It becomes this...

Or, more accurately, this...

Now have a think about this...

at least until next time...

Originally Published Winter 2021. What are we talking about today? Follow us on Twitter
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