It’s almost mind-boggling to watch people go nuts over the new iPhone 5C. Apple’s newest device can be pre-ordered now, with an estimated delivery date of October 4th – but aside from a minor OS upgrade and better camera, Apple’s new marketing model simply revolves around a set of vibrant colors and a plastic case. Now, you may ask, who really needs a new colorful phone badly enough to go as far as pre-ordering one?
Quite a few people, apparently. In fact, the yellow phone is as much of a hit as the old Sony Sports Walkman was in the 90’s – it’s already sold out for the first delivery date. So, perhaps Apple’s focus on style doesn’t satisfy a need—but it certainly makes a fashion statement.
This is not the first time that Apple has played the superficial card. A few years back, they began offering the iPod in a variety of colors in order to increase the appeal for the device as it matured in the market – and it worked! Consumers already know that Apple produces superior products, and it has carved a strong foothold in the smart phone market. These new color choices make the iPhone more interesting and appealing not only as a device, but as a personal statement.
Apple’s other smart move was to offer these vibrant and colorful phones in a plastic case, which makes the product less expensive and more attractive to the young audience – exactly the target that sees a need to upgrade their current boring, black-and-white phones to a more edgy style. People in my age group (40 and older) tend to see a smart phone as a communication device, but teens and young adults see it as a fashion accessory—which drives them to retire their current phones in favor of brand new ones, creating a new demand for the product in the market. Think about it – it is a brilliant move!
The tactic of reinventing brands to keep them fresh in the market is nothing new – in fact, it is an old marketing strategy. What ultimately keeps a brand alive is its commitment to deliver superior products—but brands only survive market changes when they are able to move faster than consumer demands and lead the way with inspiration, creativity, and integrity. Complacency is the number one reason that many once-colossal brands no longer exist, or merely hold a small spot in the peanut gallery, far from the big stage where all the action is taking place. An occasional stylistic overhaul keeps products appealing to fresh audiences while reinforcing their high quality. This is exactly the same strategy that has kept the Toyota Corolla relevant in the automobile market for four decades now.
If you haven’t seen the new iPhone 5C online yet, you‘ll start noticing them on the streets soon enough, and maybe even feel a need to treat yourself to a new colorful smart phone!