Apple, earthquakes and branding


At some point, most everyone in the branding industry has asked a client to mention a few brands they admire. Certain names always seem to come up, but none more often than Apple.
Today Kevin Rose published an email allegedly from an Apple Store manager in Japan about Apple’s response to the earth quake. (I use “allegedly” simply because I can’t confirm the source.) If you are in branding, and haven’t read this post already (as it is spreading quickly across digg, twitter etc.) I highly suggest you do.
http://kevinrose.com/blogg/2011/3/14/apples-role-in-japan-during-the-tohoku-earthquake.html
I wont recap what Apple has done, and Apple certainly is only one of many, many corporations doing whatever they can for their employees and others in the face of such a calamity. But this is a example of a well known brand doing the right thing; of putting aside commerce, profits & losses and their standard rules, and focusing instead on offering humanity to those in great need. Hopefully the power of the story multiplied by the recognition of the brand can help inform the choices of other brands in future times of need.
I’ve been reading a lot lately about great design and great brands doing more than just facilitating commerce; design & branding has the power to intrigue, delight and make life a little bit better, and it should. This is an example. Apple isn’t unique in going the extra mile in response to the Japan earthquake. But what caught my attention is that Apple always goes the extra mile. It’s in their DNA. I wouldn’t say what Apple did was expected of them, but their brand is so strong that I wouldn’t have expected any less.

At some point, most everyone in the branding industry has asked a client to mention a few brands they admire. Certain names always seem to come up, but none more often than Apple. The strength of their brand is remarkable. Why? Of course design and marketing genius. But also because they always “go the extra mile” (most typically in their design and marketing).

Today Kevin Rose (the founder of Digg.com) published an email allegedly from an Apple Store manager in Japan about Apple’s response to the earthquake. (I use “allegedly” simply because I can’t confirm the source.) If you are in branding, and haven’t read his post already (as it is spreading quickly across the internet) I suggest you do.

http://kevinrose.com/blogg/2011/3/14/apples-role-in-japan-during-the-tohoku-earthquake.html

I wont recap what Apple has done, and Apple certainly is only one of many, many corporations doing whatever they can for their employees and others in the face of such a calamity. I’m sure a number of brands are doing the right thing; putting aside commerce, profits & losses and standard rules, and focusing instead on offering humanity to those in great need. But the power of this specific story is multiplied by the recognition of the Apple brand, and I hope as a result, it will help inform choices by other brands in future times of need.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about great design and great brands doing more than just facilitating commerce; design & branding has the power to intrigue, delight and make life a little bit better, and it should. This is an example. Apple isn’t unique in going the extra mile in response to the Japan earthquake. But what really caught my attention is that Apple always goes the extra mile. It’s in their DNA, and this type of extension of their brand seems natural. I wouldn’t say what Apple did was expected of them, but their brand is so strong that I wouldn’t have expected any less.

2 Responses to Apple, earthquakes and branding

  1. Jen Hawkyard says:

    What a great post, and a great way to highlight the way these large brands and businesses are evolving. I think with social media, we are seeing companies being encouraged to be more socially conscious about what they do, and it is becoming a major part of their brand. I mean – look what happened with GAP. These brands no longer call the shots – in a way they are at the mercy of the social media crowd who want their voices to be heard and aren’t afraid to complain when something is done that they don’t agree with. Likewise, this is great for companies that want to embrace this culture like Apple as the news spreads like wildfire and strengthens their brand far further than any advertising campaign could have managed a few years ago.

    Thanks for the great post!

  2. Chris Nurko chris nurko says:

    MIke – spot on. RAOFK (RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS) that are on brand is where the future is going for brands to ‘live their values’ and promise. Great blog.

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