Think Different: The branding strategy that saved Apple Inc.

Apple, a multinational technology company, founded in the year 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne is well-known for its groundbreaking products. It is one of the few brands that have achieved a level of success and recognition in the technology field. Central to this strategy is the “Think Different” campaign, which has become synonymous with the company’s ethos and identity.
In this blog post, we shall delve into the Think Different branding strategy of Apple, exploring its origins, key components, and the lasting impact it has had on the brand’s image and customer perception.

The birth of the think different campaign:

It was in the year 1997, that the campaign was launched by the company. At that time, Apple was struggling to find its footing in the highly competitive technology market, and many trade pundits had predicted that the firm would soon go out of business. Poor product launches, a horrible operating system, and chaotic working nature due to the absence of Steve Jobs were touted as the reasons for the same. Soon after, in  mid-1997, Jobs was reinstated as the CEO of the firm and this is where it all began.  

When he(Jobs) analyzed the marketing strategies of the firm, he realized that the advertising strategies which were in place were “terrible” and needed a massive revamp. The present advertising strategies were not in consonance with Apple’s ethos.

A new agency was appointed soon after and after months of hard work and research, a new strategy was formulated by Craig Tanimoto, the art director of the new agency appointed by the firm, laying down the foundation of the advertisement that would save the firm.

Embracing non-conformity

During this time, IBM, another tech giant based in the US had come up with a strategy titled “Think IBM” which was primarily meant to sell the new range of Thinkpad laptops and to distinguish Apple from IBM, Tanimoto came up with the idea.

The foundation of the campaign was simple, Tanimoto just drew some random sketches of people who are known for thinking differently than the conventional with the Apple logo and a tagline that said: “Think Different”.

Soon after, the advertising organization started creating a commercial that featured people who challenged the status quo. Leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr, Mahatma Gandhi, John Lennon, and Muhammad Ali were a part of the advertisement.

On the 28th of September,1997, the advertisement went on air, and within a year, the organization was back to business. By 1998, the stock price of the firm had tripled and by the year 2000, the firm was worth five billion dollars, double what it was in the year 1997. Soon after, the company introduced its other products, including the iPod in the year 2005, the first iPhone in the year 2007, and iPad in the year 2010 among others.

Apple’s Think Different branding strategy remains a shining example of how a well-executed campaign can reshape a company’s image and capture the hearts and minds of consumers. By embracing nonconformity, telling compelling stories, and creating emotional connections, Apple successfully positioned itself as a brand that champions creativity and innovation. The Think Different campaign has not only solidified Apple’s brand identity but also left a lasting legacy in the world of marketing.