Apple is considered the top dog in their competition with Microsoft. The Apple branding strategy focuses on the user’s emotions with their “Think Different” branding message. They’ve used people such as Einstein and Martin Luther King Jr. in their advertisements to communicate their message of “thinking differently” with the average person. They accomplish this by connecting with them on an emotional level by inspiring innovation and creativity, while promoting access to information in conjunction with an incredibly easy user friendly interface (United Language Group, n.d.). Microsoft recently made some major adjustments to their branding and marketing strategy. Realizing they were not capturing much of the younger markets, specifically Millennials, they moved their branding strategy to Empowerment with a more customer-centric approach. Their main focus within this strategy is to not just sell software, but to create solutions that make life easier for their customers (Bale, 2017).
When comparing Microsoft to Apple, it became clear during research that Microsoft struggles to capture market share with Millennials and younger generations. Microsoft holds a strong market with older generations, which will create serious problems for them in the future. Although they are shifting their focus to communicating consumer empowerment, which is something that really resonates with younger shoppers who are more prone to research and personal empowerment, I think they will struggle to compete with Apple’s branding strategy that focuses on creativity, usability, and innovation. With a population that is becoming more connected than ever before, I first think Microsoft needs to shift their focus to innovative devices that seamlessly connect across platforms. Many people who currently use Mac for example, would really struggle to ever switch to Microsoft because they typically have an iPhone, a Mac, and an Apple Watch, all of which sync perfectly and seamlessly with each other to provide an extremely easy to use process. With that said, it is not so difficult to switch from Microsoft to Apple as there isn’t the same level of connectivity. If Microsoft wants to retain their current consumers and obtain new ones, specifically younger ones, they will need to find a way to compete with this. Second, Microsoft needs to develop a more user friendly phone that focuses on the growing trend of social connectivity and creativity. Although Apple is currently doing this, it would be seriously beneficial to the continued growth and survival of Microsoft to compete with this with innovative products that younger generations have largely become accustomed to. Third, Microsoft could improve on the frequency and impact of their marketing campaigns. I cannot remember a single Microsoft ad I’ve seen, nor can I name the last time I viewed one, or even what product they were selling (computers or software?). This is a significant problem in today’s world as marketing and advertising is more prevalent than ever with social media. Now as a 30 year old woman I understand this could be because I don’t fall in their target demographic, however if they have spent the last 5 or so years trying to capture younger audiences I should be able to remember at least one advertisement they’ve made.
To reiterate some points already made, I believe consumers prefer Apple over Microsoft. Apple has found a way to integrate their products into their consumers every day lives. They not only provide products that are easy to use and understand, but they specifically cater to the things that we all enjoy, especially the younger generations. One simple example of this is the powerful built-in cameras in the iPhone, and the editing technology. They know that people are obsessed with social media and often want to take pictures specifically for that use. They made their cameras so powerful that virtually anyone can learn to take professional level photos with the click of a button. Additionally, they include iMovie, which is a very user friendly video editing software, knowing that people often make and edit videos for their social media. Apple also provides the ultra-convenient Air Drop method of sharing files between Apple devices. Personally, I do not think I could ever go back to Microsoft for this reason alone. As a millennial, I can say that the majority of people my age (that I know) all specifically use Apple products for their seamless connectivity and user friendly interfaces. My Mac makes simple tasks easier than a PC, which is something I notice every time I need to use a PC, like converting files to a PDF and taking customizable screenshots. For these reasons, among many others, I choose Mac.
Thinking Differently: Why Apple’s Brand Succeeds Worldwide. (2018, August 17). Retrieved December 8, 2019, from https://unitedlanguagegroup.com/blog/thinking-differently-why-apples-brand-succeeds-worldwide/.
Apple’s ‘Creative’ Brand Position – Insight by The Brand Specialist. (2018, November 12). Retrieved December 8, 2019, from https://www.thebrandspecialist.com/apples-creative-brand-position/.
Bale, K. (2017, October 11). How Microsoft is transforming its own marketing. Retrieved December 8, 2019, from https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/mpn_uk/2017/10/11/how-microsoft-is-transforming-its-own-marketing/.
Kardes, F. Consumer Behavior, 2e. [MBS Direct]. Retrieved from https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781305161689/
[Watchmojo.com]. (2014, May 25). Top 10 Business Rivalries. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OE4Q60Dzyw