Thursday, 19 March 2015

Why the Apple Watch will be the ultimate brand loyalty barometer

Apple are renowned for the brand they've created. The Apple brand is one envied by all other manufacturers because it is desirable and aspirational.

Simply put, Apple is the one that people will queue for. Users want Apple products, regardless of cost, but because of status.

Until now, Apple have been able to rely on the highest levels on brand loyalty when launching new items, even when the products haven't been cutting-edge or particularly innovative. They've leant on that loyalty with launches of the iPhone 4S and the 5S, alongside endless minor upgrades to the Macbook. The public still flock.

It is also true that Apple have always produced products that sit towards the top-end of the pricing spectrum, tugging on that brand loyalty to lace the pockets of the company. It's true of the iPhone, MacBook and now, the Apple Watch. Users have been able to show-off an iPhone as the same phone that the celebs use. It's been a status symbol and continues to be so. It may be the same with the Apple Watch, as Apple will be sure to intelligently seed the watch to influential figures. The key difference however, is that the iPhone and MacBook have demonstrated clear consumer purpose, so whilst they've been priced high, consumers have been happy to part with the money to ensure the seeming quality.

Everyone needs a smartphone. Apple makes them happy to part with a little bit more in order to get one.

This is not true for the Apple Watch. Apple have, alongside all other manufacturers, failed to show a purpose to owning a smartwatch - and perhaps even more concerning is a battery life that will only last 18 hours. Being priced north of £300 for the sport edition, and £450 for a fashion edition (not forgetting the watches priced at £1,000-£10,000) the price is pushing consumers to the edge of their loyalty to the Apple brand.

There's no denying that whilst Apple are continuing to post staggering profits, their brand loyalty has been shaken over the last few years. Their innovation and high-end quality have been placed under scrutiny, and the numerous competitors have had an impact.

Come April 24th, we'll be able to judge just how powerful that Apple brand loyalty really is and be in a position to see if and how that brand loyalty has been affected - using the Apple Watch as a barometer.

Thoughts welcomed.

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