This case was given to learn more about logos and positioning in the market. It consist of three parts where I have considered different logos, their brand identity and how their logos fits their brand identity.
- Look at the following logos and explain in your own words what you consider their positioning to be (do this for each one).
Coca Cola’s logo is a Wordmark – using the complete company name in the logo. The logo has been more or less unchanged since they served their first soda for more than 100 years ago – back in the late 1880’s.
Coca Cola is a brand I see daily and know some about. I consider Coca Cola to be the world leading company for soda and soft drinks. Their biggest competitor is Pepsi. I associate the Coca Cola logo primarily with the soda Coca Cola and with the soda product in mind – words like; soda, sugar, light, no sugar, social, happy, positive, Christmas, cool, global, stabile, innovators/early majority and safe.
They are using the logo on their product “Coca Cola” as well as their company “The Coca Cola Company” – being responsible for a whole range of other sodas and soft drinks such as Fanta and Sprite.
I traveled around the world in 2005, visiting Canada, USA, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, and everywhere they had Coca Cola. Anywhere in the world, I know what I’m getting if I buy a Coca Cola; the same look, the same logo and the same quality taste.
They are known for their advertising movie during Christmas; “Holidays are coming”, with all the Coca Cola trucks with the lights, Santa Clause, people coming home to their loved ones, families gathering for the holidays, spending quality time together. On the other hand, they are known for being innovative and cool. Their “Coca Cola light brake”-ads, and other ads shows the consumers social settings you really want to be a part of. Even though these days, people are focusing on being healthy and avoid sodas, Coca Cola still has a strong hold on their market. They are also good at positioning themselves in strategical places, as the restaurants in the ski-resorts, building their values upon the sporty people.
Myself, I love Coca Cola, being my favorite soda ever since I was a child. I know it’s unhealthy to drink, not sure what it does to my body consuming it for years (so many urban legends out there), but still I’m drinking it way too often. Even though I’m aware of the health-risk, I’m still drinking it. Is it maybe because they are so extremely professional in their positioning, that I want to be associated with the happy, positive, social, cool, classic, trendsetters they are using in their ads – looking forward to spending time with family and friends during the Christmas Holidays?
If I don’t see VW logos every day, I know I see VW cars every day and I know a little bit about the brand. The Volkswagen logo is a symbol, a well-known so, with two of the letters from the company name in it. Hence, it’s a mix of symbol and Monogram logo. The company was established in Germany during the 1930’s under Adolf Hitlers leadership. Their first car-model was their famous “Peoples car” – Volks wagen in German – shortened to VW in the logo.
Volkswagen is a brand for a product (the VW cars) as well as The Volkswagen Company, selling other car brands like Skoda and Audi for the passenger market and trucks like Scania for the commercial market. Their main competitors in the personal car segment is Toyota and Ford.
I associate the VW logo with the Volkswagen branded cars. I’ve had a VW Golf myself and to me the VW cars are branded as high quality, safe, conservative, sporty, spacious, strict, tight, mid-range price, family friendly, European, elegant design, reliable built with well-known and traditional German precision.
I have not seen many of their ads lately, but they are family and sport oriented as well as they have cars suited for single, young people with less need of trunk space and horse powers. The common values are still maintained in their branding, regardless of their target group.
I have VISA on my debit card, I have always had it and I’ve seen the logo for ages, but I do not know so much about the brand. I believe they deliver the payment products to financial institutions, so they can give credit and debit cards to their customers in order for them to make payments.
Even though I don’t know so much about the brand, I associate VISA with security, global, card, debit, credit, well-known, but I don’t know anything about their eventual competitors. In case, it must be Mastercard, American Express etc.
When I’m about to make a payment and I see the VISA logo, I feel safe, where ever I am.
I have not seen any VISA ads I’m aware of – so I don’t know so much about their brand identity.
- Let’s work backwards! Look at the logo on the Apple iPhone and, by doing your own research, investigate the history of the product and the company that manufactures it. Give an outline, in your own words, of what you consider the following to be:
- Describe its brand identity – exactly as you see it
- What do you think its positioning is currently?
- What do you think the strategy for this specific product was?
- What research do you think was done on this by the company who made it?
Apple company history
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak got to know each other in 1971. They quit their university studies within 1975 (Reed College and UC Berkeley) and was referred to as “the two Steves” as they both had immense interest for up-to-date technology and pranks. Wozniak was a self-educated electronics engineer which had built many different machines before Jobs with his natural ability in negotiations, managed to interest his good friend to create the first Apple Computer April 1st 1976 in the garage of Steve Jobs parents in California. The basic idea behind this computer was built upon an existing product (MITS Altair “build-it-yourself computer) and making it simpler for the rest of us. This philosophy is still seen in Apples products today.
When Jobs sold an order to the local computer store “The Byte Shop”, he negotiated deals to get parts to produce the first 50 computers on credit. This was the start of Apple Inc, incorporated January 3rd 1977.
Ever since, Apple have changed the world and impacted our lives with their smart, innovative, clever and creative strategy; Think different. They’ve always dared thinking and acting different than their competitors, going against the norm and creating a lifestyle brand rather than a functional brand.
Today, they produce Macintosh computers, iPhones, iPads, iPods, Apple TV, Apple Watch and all possible accessories to these products. They produce software to the Macs, being specialized to software used by creative industries, apps to App store and services like iTunes. In addition to this, they have a lot of different services, as printing (pictures, photobooks, cards, calendars made by the consumer in the software on the macs), financial services and Apple Stores (online and physical in store shops) selling products and providing service to their customers.
Apple is considered as the world 2nd most valuable brand, barely passed by Amazone (Brand Finance, Feb 3rd 2018).
The history of Apple iPhone
The development of the smartphone “iPhone” started in 2004 as a secret project with a team of 1000 employees including the designer behind iMac and iPod, Jonathan Ive.
On January 9, 2007, at the Macworld Expo keynote address, Steve Jobs explained that with their current product mix consisting of the iPod and Apple TV as well as their Macintosh brand, Apple really wasn’t just a computer company anymore. At the same address, Jobs revealed a product that would revolutionize an industry in which Apple had never previously competed: the Apple iPhone. The iPhone combined Apple’s first widescreen iPod with the world’s first mobile device boasting visual voicemail, and an internet communicator able to run a fully functional version of Apple’s web browser, Safari, on the then-named iPhone OS (later renamed iOS).
The iPhone, first made available in the USA, later became available in chosen countries in Europe and in 2008 they released iPhone 3G in 32 countries.
Ever since, Apple have regularly released new iPhone models with new design and functionalities, gaining the status as market leader in the Phone market – globally.
The history of Apple company name and logo
There are different theories about the company name Apple and the Apple logo. “According to the biography of Steve Jobs, the name was conceived by Jobs after he returned from apple farm. He apparently thought the name sounded “fun, spirited and not intimidating.” There are other theories about the meaning behind the name Apple. The idea that it was named thus because Newton was inspired when an Apple fell out of a tree hitting him on the head, is backed up by the fact that the original Apple logo was a rather complicated illustration of Newton sitting under a tree.”
Later the company settled on the bite out of an Apple design for Apple’s logo – a far simpler logo design. These logos are probably the reason for other theories about the meaning behind the name Apple, with some suggesting that the Apple logo with a chunk taken out of it is a nod at computer scientist and Enigma code-breaker, Alan Turing, who committed suicide by eating a cyanide infused apple.
However, according to Rob Janoff, the designer who created the logo, the Turing connection is simply «a wonderful urban legend.» Equally the bite taken out of the Apple could represent the story of Adam and Eve from the Old Testament. The idea being that the Apple represents knowledge.
2.1 Describe its brand identity – exactly as you see it
The Apple logo is a symbol well known all over the world. Everyone know the iPhone is an Apple product.
Apple is a highly innovative, creative and elegant brand in the front seat of the technological development. Apple really do dare to be bold and think different – and they are the preferred brand for the creative people. Their products, shops and even their product wrapping are elegant, thoughtfully designed to make the customer feel special and unique.
The design is minimalistic, white/light grey/ bright colored, the customer service is really good, and all their products are high quality. If you experience any problems – they do their best to help you and even substitute your product with a new one. Apple products and services are available all around the world, the price is globally the same and they rarely dump prices on their products.
If you buy an Apple product, you know you’ll get value for the money even though it’s a little bit more costly than competitive products.
2.2 What do you think its positioning is currently?
I remember buying the first colored-screen cell phone, a Sony Ericsson T68, back in 2001. It was very expensive, but it felt well invested at the time with an elegant phone with a lot of new features.
Since then, many of the old producers of cell phones such as NOKIA, Sony Ericsson, Siemens etc, have not managed to really compete in the market since Apple launched their first smartphone in 2007. Today iPhone is often mentioned as the “reference” to where you can buy “other alternatives such as…” and some of the competitors for iPhone are now Google Pixel, OnePlus, Samsung Galaxy, LG and Motorola.
Creative people are often the innovators adapting new trends – being the trendsetters for the rest of the population. This makes us want to buy Apple products, so that we can be associated with the same values as Apple; innovative, smart, clever and creative. It is as if Apple know what I want before I know it myself.
I think iPhone is the market leader when it comes to smartphones. iPhone is constantly introducing new models and new, innovative features and solutions, also making it more difficult for the consumers to change smartphone brand. By having an iPhone, you’re also sending out the “right message” about your own, personal image making me interesting and accepted for the people I want to be associated with. In this sense I’m not unique, but a representative for the majority of the world’s population.
2.3 What do you think the strategy for this specific product was?
I know the color screen was introduced to the market. Apple had already launched the iPod and the iTunes service. On their iPod they had managed to develop an early version of the touch screen and they had first-hand experience and knowledge about screens from the computer production. Hence, they could combine these two products and merge it into a brand, new product, daring to think different.
The cell phone producers at the time focused on improving the existing screen solution and size, the camera/ picture solution and the speed of the processes within the phone. At the same time digital cameras became cheaper and better and the digital music players became very popular and a must-have.
Apple must have thought about making the screen as big as possible – implementing the traditional buttons into the screen area with the touch technology achieved developing the iPod.
The strategy for this specific product, the first iPhone, must have been to launch a product merging three products into one; a smartphone with the biggest and best screen on the market, making it possible to use it as a camera, cell phone and music player as well as a mini computer “on the go” (using web browser Safari).
2.4 What research do you think was done on this by the company who made it?
In addition to research the technological possibilities (merging three products into one, using the touch screen technology ets) and trends (the competitors focuses in the three products markets and the customers needs and wants), they have definitely investigated the current market at the time as mentioned, with increasing sales of digital cameras, digital music players and cellular phones. They have for sure asked innovators and potential customers (might as well have been Apple employees) what kind of product they ideally would want to buy/ have. Another important issue to research is the intersection between price and utility; How much are our potential customers willing to pay for our product.
Back in the early 2000 it was extremely expensive to call and surf online with a cell phone. Hence, I guess they also have investigated the chance to work with and influence the phone line companies to lower their prices in the future to ease the use of Safari to surf online with the iPhone.
Along, they have researched the possibilities of marketing, selling and positioning the product; how, to who and where?
Today, Apple is considered as the world 2nd most valuable brand, barely passed by Amazone (Brand Finance, Feb 3rd 2018). This is really impressive starting off in a garage some 40 years ago, and it tells me they are extremely professional, conscious and true to their strategy; Think different!
Logo Design Workbook – A hands-on guide to creating logos. AdamsMorioka, page 8-19.
«Create a brand Strategy» by Lindsay Pedersen
«Logo Design: Techniques» by Nigel French
«Branding Foundations» by Boyd Drew
Apple iphone history timeline
Apple company history