Last year, iPhone was named in a British survey as one of Britain’s top telecom brands. This is quite a triumph for the distinctly American technology brand. However, this dominance of the market is not at all an accident; Apple has been working to present its latest telecommunications toy as a brand that people all over the UK can believe in.
First, Apple has cultivated a caring, more human image in the United States, and this was a key part of the UK telecommunications brand as well. Apple executives flew across the pond to be present at the product’s opening day of sales, where new customers were treated to hot coffee, bottled water, and free trials of different telecommunications services. This shows a caring attitude that is not common in British telecommunications brands, setting the iPhone apart from the pack from the very beginning. Many of these light level executives spoke personally to shoppers and offered advice on using the mobile phone.
Second, Apple courted the media, with executives giving interviews to major news outlets both on television and in print. This created a media frenzy that added much needed buzz in key UK markets such as London. Indeed, the mood in the stores that initially sold the iPhone was one of a festival or even a carnival, with users sharing beverages and chatting while waiting in line.
Apple is building their egalitarian image by expanding the range of service carriers offering the iPhone. While wireless carrier O2 had an exclusive deal for almost a year, telecommunications users can now use an iPhone with carrier Orange. Apple is expected to reach out to other carriers in the future to expand their customer’s options, as they did in the United States. Offering a ‘people’s brand’ that is restricted to an elite few is simply not genuine enough to woo the UK market.
In many ways, Apple used their iPhone experience in the US to streamline their UK marketing. For example, many American users had problems with the iPhone during the first few weeks after its launch, especially in activating the devices. This led to a negative brand image for the iPhone as a finicky, indecipherable piece of technology that was highly problematic and difficult to operate. Extreme measures were taken to make sure the UK launch went more smoothly, with executives personally assisting customers at times. So far, the iPhone has escaped developing a negative image in the UK by offering a wide range of support as well as a more improved product.
Many British consumers appreciated iPhone’s negotiations with O2 that led to a special, value priced package available to iPhone users. This only bolstered the brand’s customer friendly image. However, it should be noted that this is the only telecommunications company with the clout to make such demands.
What is the iPhone brand in London and in the UK? While the logo design is identical to that in the United States, Apple has been more successful in cultivating their desired brand image. This British brand is likely to continue building momentum in the future and building their reputation as a user-friendly, technologically-savvy company.