According to the US Treasury Department, Apple Inc. – all by itself – has a larger annual budget than the US government. Their cash balance, as I write this, is reported to be $76,400,000,000, and they have been ranked as the largest US company for both 2011 and 2012.
Apple is a great example of how you can come up with something unique, and then manage to keep it fresh and unique. One could ask why “the PC people” are not making PC lap- tops that are similar to Apple’s. It seems no one has been able to make anything that’s even close to matching the graceful simplicity of Apple’s design, or the user-friendliness of its software. Apple’s designs rival those of the legendary Danish company Bang & Olufsen, makers of beautiful AV equipment. Apple did another thing that was very smart: rather than price their products in the luxury class, their asking prices are just a touch higher than their competitors’. The result is a market share that increases steadily.
To sum up what Apple is doing right:
1. Apple is the only player in the field of beautiful aluminum serially-produced laptops and music equipment. They work hard to stay well ahead of the pack on this.
2. Instead of focusing on large numbers of features and functions, they have focused instead on the user in- terface, and design of both hardware and software to provide a pleasant and satisfying user experience.
Summary: Nespresso and Apple
There are several striking similarities between the offerings of
Nespresso and Apple:
• High functionality, ease of use and pleasant user experi- ence – extending from the overall product and company concepts, on down to individual products and services.
• Superior quality. They both have retail stores with highly trained professionals focused on their product.
• Aesthetics of physical product design, coupled with great functionality.
• Price lower than perceived value, but higher than closest competitors in the same general class.
This last point, price, means receiving MORE than what is paid for in the customer’s eyes.
Another aspect common to both these companies is their overall concept and spirit. You see this in their brand shops – the décor, the displays, even all of the staff reflect the brand. They also come out with a steady stream of fresh new prod- ucts and options, giving customers the opportunity to boost their individuality. What’s your favorite flavor? All these fac- tors combine to inspire customer loyalty – they’re fans, nev- er getting bored and always coming back to check up on the newest and latest.
Why is offering affordable high quality so very advantageous? Because in the customer’s view, value received exceeds price paid. This is illustrated in the graph below.
People want high value for free
In the next section, you’ll learn about how “free” can be a powerful force online, and can be a major factor in creating uniqueness and value. Meet Skype and Google.