Apple’s Religious Experiences: A Lesson in Branding

Apple BrandingFor years I thought the pinnacle of branding was integrating into the “lifestyle” or routine of each individual consumer; so much so that they used your brand as a definitive piece to who they were… But, I have been proven wrong. Maybe it’s my spirituality or the fear of going against Godliness, but I never thought it was possible to ever create a religious experience with a brand…Passion, lust, excitement, sure, but a real life religious experience; never.

Maybe it’s my spirituality or the fear of going against Godliness, but I never thought it was possible to ever create a religious experience with a brand…

But, according to a recent report by BBC, Apple has done just that. When looking at brain scans of an individual while looking experiencing the Apple brand, they showed the same activity of that of “religious imagery.” Holy shit… In the words of Dr. Michio Kaku,”this is big man.”

But how did a brand come to this point; to elicit religious feelings within it’s constituency? How can we, as marketers, begin to replicate it? Without having a Steve Jobs on your team or billions of dollars in advertising, we can begin the foundation of this type of branding in a few steps:

Expectation: In any industry or category, there are a certain level of expectation across the various products and offerings. Apple changed this view, by stepping outside of expectation in big ways. Instead of a standard Apple branded MP3 player, they created the iPod and completely changed the way people consumed music. Instead of following suit in the eReader space, they rolled out the iPad and connected the physical world with the digital world. Exceeding or breaking the industry expectations is the first step to the religious experience.

Communication: While this is a key part to the religious experience, knowing whom to communicate to is the stepping stone to effective communication. Apple intimately knows they target market through tremendous amounts of research (their entire company is their core market). Their simplistic messaging regarding their industry breaking innovations to their core target was executed with surgical execution.

Appeal: Not only was Apple changing the industry and communicating these changes simplistically within and through their communities, but they were doing it with swagger. The cool, chic factor they created has enamored the creative community and has set their products to their own category… strategically pedestalizing each of their innovations; making each one more “God-like” than the rest. I mean, who else can say, “if you don’t have an iPhone, you don’t have an iPhone?” Genius.

Lifestyle: Apple isn’t a brand people think about when making a purchase decision. It’s a brand that people live. Apple provides tools for a better life, through innovation, communication, and exclusivity. Just walking around New York this week, I’ve seen stickers, t-shirts, tattoos, bags, products, all proudly displaying Apple logos and living the Apple lifestyle. Apple truly is a brand that defines an individual in his or her own way.

As I write this on my new Mac book, with my trusty iPhone next to me, and the iPad secured in my travel bag awaiting the tumultuous trips on the subway, I stand convicted to this religious experience. I know I’m not the only one… I’m just a disciple preaching the glory that is amazing branding.

What do you think? Does Apple have it figured out?

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    [...] the Lifestyle of the consumer; becoming a factor of definition when self-identifying; creating a “religious experience” with the [...]

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    [...] the launch of the iPhone 5, I am overwhelmed with the outward pouring of expectations. In a recent blog post I wrote awhile back, I discussed the “religious” effect that the Apple brand has upon the minds of its consumers. [...]

  3. The End State of Your Brand: Future Cast | Black Whale Group - November 14, 2011

    [...] your products; by offering an innate sense of value and connection, we can elicit certain emotions, and in Apple’s case, religion. The expectations of brands have become higher and higher as consumers are becoming more [...]

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