Headquartered in Cupertino, California, Apple inc. begun its business operations on April 1, 1976. The company was incorporated as Apple Computer, Inc. on January 3, 1977. Since then, its expansion strategies have seen the company change its name, dropping the initial "Computer" to incorporate a wide range of merchandise of consumer electronics within its stores. Apple Inc., as it is known today, is one of the few successful transnational corporate companies that not only design and manufacture but also market and distributes the products it produces through owned stores beyond the borders of its original business birthplace. Its deals in products such personal computers, mobile phones, video players, portable digital music as well as mobile phones.
The company also sells a variety of related software, networking solutions plus a range of services related to the products it sells. Apart from the personal owned retail stores, Apple Inc. also do sell its products the world over through third-party wholesalers, direct sales force, resellers, and value-added resellers. The creativity and innovativeness employed within the enterprise has seen the company spread its wings to a variety of third-party Macintosh computers, iPhone and iPod products in addition to application software, speakers, storage devices, printers, headphones, and quite a number of accessories and peripherals through its established online and retail stores that also sells digital applications through the iTunes Store. As of July 2011, Apple Company had a well-established online store and 357 operational stores in more than ten countries (Apple Inc., 2011).
The Electronics and Computer Industry
Apple faces strong competitive forces in all areas of its operation. The market for the manufacture and sale of personal computers together with the related software products remains highly competitive. It witnesses constant technological advances in both hardware and software. The consumer interests are at the center of every technological development. The competition is stiff with constant price wars that have occasionally necessitated price cuts. Nevertheless, Apple Inc. has maintained a competitive advantage and currently holds a market share of more than 70 percent in the portable music market, with 2 percent profitability in the personal computer market (Macnews, 2011). It has constantly differentiated and innovative products, a factor which enabled it to cultivate loyal customer base. Currently, there are so many major players in the computer segment including Microsoft, IBM, Dell, and Gateway , Alienware, HP among other company whose share in the market is considerable (Kraemer, 2003). There are also threats of new Entrants into the industry that could destabilize the dominancy of the companies mentioned. Overall, the company holds a market share of 14 percent in U.S. and 3 percent in the world.
Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning
As the head of apple Inc., the late Steve Jobs adopted unique and desirable market segments that he saw as a strategy to compete in the age of digital lifestyle. He divided market segments into two: the consumer market comprising of individuals, small/home offices, students and teachers and the professional market comprising of education facilities, medium and large business, creative customers and government agencies. The company products are sold at higher prices and the Target market are mostly less price sensitive customers. With regard to position, Apple Inc. is extensively recognized as a premium brand with a culture structured to meet the needs of the customer. Apple's positioning strategy is aligned with its strategy of targeting less price sensitive markets. Towards this end, Apple has created a culture aimed at differentiating its products from those of its rivals in order to meet the needs and retain target customers (McDaniels & Kolari, 2008).
The Importance of Branding
There is no doubt that the art of branding is a success-contributor to products or services sold by companies in world markets (Aaker, 1996; Pullen, and Linstead, 2005). The days of generics are over. A brand sets loyalty that rules consumers purchasing behavior (Gershon, 2009; Trout, and Rivkin, 1996). From its Logo to name it uses, Apple seems to be a friendly name for computers.
Apple Inc. Logo Indeed, one can say that the name is not only tempting but also nontraditional and cute. The apple symbol with a bite is just memorable. Just as the apple is a perfect fruit, Steve Jobs made the Apple a perfect computer, a perfect phone and so on. Oh, yes! (Nod) branding is the shortest route to businesses success in today’s business world.
The Research Process
This paper is a qualitative research and has mainly employed secondary data from the internet, press, and published books.