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Apple could learn a lot from the fall of Burberry. The once-exclusive style brand name became associated with trashy youth by greedily accrediting out its trademark tan chequered pattern for use on baseball caps and various other low-cost clothes. Unexpectedly, the rich customers it had catered to for a century wanted absolutely nothing to do with Burberry. Could Apple’s iPhone brand have the same problem after offering the less expensive, color-splashed iPhone 5c?
Obviously there are a great deal of differences between Burberry and Apple. Apple is not really licensing the iPhone name to be shoddily produced by an additional business. And individuals purchase iPhones for their utility, not simply their fashion. But by selling more affordable (than the Fives), loudly-colored phones, there’s an opportunity it can negatively impact the understanding of the status of the iPhone brand to more sophisticated luxury consumers.
Burberry was once the height of upper-class British style, with Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn donning its iconic trench coats which retail for thousands and thousands of pounds. Possessing a piece of Burberry-cheqed clothing was aspirational, an indication of success.
Yet in the 1980′s and 1990′s the brand started juicing short-term revenues by accrediting its pattern and logo to manufacturers of everything from inexpensive clothes to liquor to canine toilet tissue. Burberry became the uniform of the ‘chav’ – British slang for trashy individuals attempting to appear classier than they’re with gaudy fashion. Soccer hooligans, questionable streetpeople, and a C-list celebrities causing problem became connected with Burberry.
The brand name reached its low when a cleaned up British daytime drama starlet who ‘d had her septum removed due to drug abuse struck the front of the papers with her kid, both covered head-to-toe in the Burberry chequered print.
While cheap certified items and counterfeits flooded the roads, staining the brand name’s image, sales of the costly fashion-wear that’s the foundation of Burberry’s business took a nosedive. Burberry was no longer an indication of high-status, and fashion mavens started to look somewhere else.
Enter the iPhone 5c.
‘Unapologetically plastic’ is how its designer Sir Jonny Ive describes the new iPhone 5c that debuted last week. ‘Those cheap-y, plastic-y phones’ is how a less tech-conscious pal of mine explained the 5c to me last weekend over brunch.
‘I do not like the new iPhone (meaning the premium Fives) due to the fact that they made those cheap-y, plastic-y phones too’.
This sure as hell is not an expansive empirical research or representative sample of viewpoints of the 5c. It’s a one-off anecdote. But I doubt my pal is the only one who feels by doing this, knowingly or sub-consciously, and it’s a perception Apple need to be concerned with.
There are bunches of reasons to offer a plastic iPhone. It gives consumers a choice beyond just an older model. It’s even more durable than a glass iPhone 4S. It might help Apple expand its marketshare, therefore keeping iOS the first option of platforms for developers. Its bright colors and rate point can attract children as they change from iPods to smartphones. Apple’s colored iMacs and iPods definitely sold well. And it keeps Apple from having to offer the pricey industrial design that entered into the iPhone 5 (now taken off the marketplace) at a discount.
Done tactfully, the iPhone 5c might be a big brief and long-term win for Apple. It could become the best-selling iPhone ever.
But being ‘unapologetic’ about the plastic iPhone has its risks. Even if the phone is well made (check out our iPhone 5c review), and the $99 on agreement cost point doesn’t really put a ‘more affordable’ phone in Apple’s lineup, simply the reality that it costs less than the 5s triggers some people to regard the iPhone 5c as ‘economical’, and perception issues.
Again, the $99 on agreement iPhone 5c isn’t cheaper than buying a year old iPhone like Apple utilized to offer, however it may be perceived as low-cost.
The colors it comes in do not do it any favors. They scream PlaySkool memento kid’s toy – the opposite of elegance. Considering Apple has become one of the world’s most important companies by selling sophistication to those who can manage to pay a high margin, this is risky business.
But as opposed to attempt to mitigate the understanding of the iPhone 5c as low-cost, Apple’s $29 colored rubber cases make it even worse. They have been promoted in eye-bleed color mixes like a green phone with a pink case.
The sight of those highlighter iPhone 5c’s in the hands of kids and others who couldn’t pay for a 5s can leave wealthier consumers less captivated with the iPhone brand as a whole. Is this judgement and classism horrible? Yes, but that’ll not stop individuals.
Burberry had the ability to conserve itself by hiring a brand-new CEO, Angela Ahrendts, who led an effort to buy back 23 of its licenses and battle counterfeiters. Ahrendts also downsized its signature plaid so it appeared on simply 5 % of Burberry clothes rather of 20 %. It joined brand-new faces for the brand name like Emma Watson, and sued individuals who utilized its trademark illegally. Burberry is even working with Apple and the Fives to capture images of its brand-new fashion line.
Soon, Burberry regained its image as a sought-after high end brand name, and sales of its more expensive products skyrocketed, and Burberry income has more than doubled to ₤ 1.9 billion. However, the chav image still haunts Burberry to this day.
Still, Apple ought to hearken these lessons as it promotes the iPhone 5c. It’s fine to interest a larger swath of the market and provide individuals option in prices. However it needs to try to maintain the iPhone’s image as the classiest smartphone on the marketplace. That might indicate toning down the color clashing when it promotes the 5c cases, carefully choosing where it promotes exactly what model, and recognizing it can be happy of its plastic without unapologetically alienating high-end buyers. Otherwise, a few years down the roadway it may be the one stating sorry to investors.