Eight years ago, I walked into Penn Square Mall with my father attempting to buy my dear mom a Christmas gift. My father is a bit of a tech junkie, and like most sons, I wanted to be just like him, so of course, we selfishly decided to go to the Apple Store. As I walked into the entryway of the store my eyes were immediately drawn to the Christmas gift of my dreams, the MacBook Air. I made my way past a few customers and scurried across the beautiful hardwood floors to the MacBook Air. While my dad attempted to find a gift for my mom, I toyed with features such as Photobooth, Safari, and different games that had been installed on the laptop. When he finished shopping, my dad came over and realized that he has made a mistake in bringing me into the Apple Store. I was in love with the MacBook Air.
Because of their brilliance, hard work and dedication to being the best at every section of the Business Model Canvas, Steve Jobs and the Apple team are giving a similar experience to millions of people each day in Apple Stores worldwide. Although Jobs was responsible for much of Apple’s success, he was not responsible for its first value proposition. Mike Markkula, the second CEO of Apple, realized that there was a need for personal computers. In return, Steve Wozniak and Jobs invented and developed a solution – the Imac. Jobs had the idea of creating the Imac desktop after visiting the Xerox headquarters and observing the creation of their desktop computer, The Smalltalk. The Smalltalk had three amazing features, but one stood out more than the others to Jobs and his team and that was the graphical interface of the computer. Jobs was very open about his thoughts during this meeting. He knew that Xerox was sitting on a gold mine.
On the way back to Apple headquarters, Jobs knew what they had to do. Isaacson writes, “It was the breakthrough he had been looking for: bringing computers to the people, with the cheerful but affordable design of an Eichler home and the ease of use of a sleek kitchen appliance.” (97) The team began to create the Lisa named after the daughter Jobs abandoned. Jobs wanted The Lisa to look high-tech rather than industrial. It had to be no bigger than a phonebook. Jobs was known for saying, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” (Steve Jobs) The Lisa did not go as well as the team wished, but Jobs knew they had something great. Sadly, for Jobs, he would not be involved in making a product of greatness for several years. Jobs was ousted from Apple after he tried to undermine the CEO of Apple, John Sculley. When he came back as an advisor and eventually the interim CEO, he took the top 100 members of the Apple team on a retreat. During this retreat, Jobs did something that would change the world forever. In a meeting with the members, he went to the whiteboard and drew a chart with four quadrants.
Two of the columns, he labeled “consumer” and “pro”, while the two rows were labeled “desktop” and “portable”. From this chart, four value propositions were answered and four products were born: The Imac, as a consumer desktop; The Ibook, a consumer laptop; The Power Macintosh G3, for the professional desktop; and The Powerbook G3 for the professional laptop. Designed by Ives and Jobs, the Imac became a hit. It was a solution to the need of a personal desktop. It was designed as an all-in-one product with simplicity, a translucent design, and it came in five different colors. More recently Apple has created some other solutions to address pains in the marketplace. In 2001, Apple began to offer a portable way to listen to music and a mobile device with all kinds of different abilities. Apple also invented more updated and advanced computers. In the early 21st century, no company had developed a way to seize the marketplace for music.
Apple developed a marketplace that was better than illegally downloading or pirating music called the Itunes Store. Apple then created a solution to the problem of not having a portable device to play music on by developing the Ipod. The Ipod had a sleek all-white design and a trackwheel that allowed consumers to surf 2,000 of their favorite songs. It was seen as a revolutionary invention. In 2007, Apple created the Iphone, a sleek device with glass covering the screen and back of the phone. The Iphone had the ability to serve the normal cellular functions as well as play music, take pictures, take video, surf the web, download applications, and more. Apple continues to meet the needs in the marketplace with new and updated versions of these products as well as cutting-edge innovations. Many would say Apple’s value proposition has changed tremendously since the beginning of the company, but I would have to disagree. Their value proposition has always been centered around creating personal products that offer a solution to a pain in the marketplace to near perfection. That being said, as technology has become more advanced, it has allowed Apple to take its innovations to greater lengths such as information security.
Apple gave the consumer the ability to set a passcode to protect any unwanted person from accessing the phone. Later hey created the ability to use a fingerprint, and more recently, they offer facial recognition as a passcode. Although Apple is able to engineer and give their products more abilities, they are still developing solutions to similar needs and offering solutions as they did when they first began. Apple uses many different channels when communicating their value proposition to their customers. They use: direct channels, such as Apple stores; their online store; commercials; and indirect channels, such as Best Buy and other third parties who sell their products. They create an awareness for their value proposition using advertisements and displays, such as the “Think Different” campaign, Lee Clow’s Superbowl commercial, Macworld, and their Apple shops. They have done a great job of engaging consumers’ emotions. For, example the “Think Different” campaign used heroes from the past and present who had creative minds. Apple likes to convey a futuristic feel to its products. The commercial created by Lee Clow for the Super Bowl did just that. Apple also uses the channels they have created to help their customers evaluate their products in the way they want them to
. The front of most Apple stores is solid glass to show transparency. Each product on display is sitting on a gleaming, white table on sleek, hardwood floors. By displaying the products in such a manner, Apple gives their products a clean and sophisticated first impression to each consumer. When a consumer enters a store, there are always employees ready to help by not only informing you but showing you how to use them. If you decide that the product is so amazing you need it now, the Apple employee makes the purchase very simple by bringing one of their devices to you to scan your card and check you out. Apple also takes advantage of the packaging they use because they know it is your first experience with your newly purchased product. They are elegant and have a simple design and inside it contains everything the consumer needs for the product. If you have a problem with your device down the road, Apple does a great job of leaving channels open to give you assistance. You can walk into the store and head to the Genius Bar, a bar where Apple’s employees will give you help, set up an appointment, or look for help online.
Apple’s use of channels has changed drastically from its inception to now. Steve Jobs began by trying to sell computers at different conventions and would make the products in a garage. Apple did not have advertisements or any way to get news of the computer out to the masses. Eventually, after Apple began to grow and had some capital, they were able to start advertising. Apple was able to launch successful campaigns, such as “Think Different”. On May 19, 2001, Apple opened its first store. Apple store locations began to become more common and serve not only as a place where customers can go to purchase products, but also receive help when they have issues with the products. Apple has continued to open more stores and develop advertising campaigns that work as successful channels for themselves and their customers. Apple is notorious for their customer relationships and their ability to get, keep, and grow their relationships with their customers. Jobs’ implementation of the Genius Bar in all The Apple stores is an example of one way Apple succeeds at the customer relationship.
If a customer has an issue, they can come in and visit with Apple’s technicians at the Genius Bar who will help resolve their problems. Apple also does a great job of being on the cutting edge of product design. For example, the Ipad was a product that came out of the blue and was not proven but ended up being a huge success. Innovation like this will help get new customers, keep those relationships with current and new customers, and grow their relationships tremendously. Apple’s customer segments are males and females ranging in age from 18 to 45. They are considered middle to upper class according to John Dudovskiy of Research Methodology. Any person who wants or needs and can afford a personal computer, phone, or other device is a target for Apple. The most important customers are the younger consumers who crave the Apple experience and become repeat buyers for the rest of their lives. In the book “ Steve Jobs”, Walter Isaacson talks about how Markkula was the one to figure out what Apple’s segmentation strategy should be. Markkula wanted to target any individual who needed a personal computer rather than a work computer. As Apple grew, its segmentation never significantly changed, but the amount of devices they had to offer the segment did. Over the years, they tried to crack into other segments- specifically the work computer for working men and women with products like the Power Macintosh G3 and the Powerbook G3, but this was not their strength
. Recently, they have focused on offering solutions to the problem of not having the best personal devices on the market. December 25, 2011, it’s Christmas morning and my little sister runs into my room repeating “Santa came” over and over again. I rip my sheets off and run as fast as my two feet will carry my down the stairs. As I turn the corner, I see the most beautiful silver, 13-inch, MacBook Air sitting on top of its box. The shock on my face and the hilarious reaction I had when I turned the corner were all caught on a video camera. That was my first personal experience with an Apple product, and it was the beginning of a long line of experiences with different Apple products. The ability of Steve Jobs to design spectacular products and dominate the Business Model Canvas has allowed Apple to give others a fantastic experience like the one I had and be the successful company it is today. Thank you Mr. Jobs.