You don’t have to be an Apple fan-boy to understand or appreciate the mojo of Apple’s brand story. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 it’s brand story was tribal, but anemic and small. Jobs needed to take that tribalism in his small base of customers and expand it beyond the PC vs. Mac war , a war that Apple was losing. As a result the “Think Different” campaign was born.
So instead of telling a story about the company, a product, or even a philosophy, Jobs decided to tell a story about Mac users by placing them in the same category as some of the worlds movers and shakers like Einstein, Dylan, Lennon, Earhart, etc…
Steve jobs created a Brand Legend where the hero of the story were his customers.
In an internal meeting introducing this campaign to Apple Jobs describes the ad:
“It honors those people who have changed the world. Some of them are alive, some of them are not. But the ones that aren’t, as you’ll see, we know that if they ever used a computer it would have been a Mac.”
Fast forward 17 years, and a market valuation that now exceeds Microsoft, we can see that the Apple brand story is still the same. Here is the video they featured at their introduction of the iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch.
The most powerful brand stories are not about the brand, they are about the customers. What is your brand story about?