Apple’s Simple Secret: A story of success and how simplicity can be incorporated into your campaign

Last month saw 39 years of Apple, and they have come a long way since the original Apple 1 computer. In fact, the company’s shares are ever on the increase. This begs the question, just why are they so successful? Aside from revolutionising the technology industry, their marketing strategy has helped them on their way.


Apple have shown that the way to stand out from the crowd doesn’t always involve being bigger and louder than the rest in terms of marketing. In fact, a survey of 12,000 consumers across eight countries by the Global Brand Simplicity Index (2014) found that 70% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand if it embraces simplicity. By avoiding overly elaborate or complex websites, ads or sales copy, the consumer is presented with exactly what they need to know. As a result, the product is 86% more likely to be purchased.

This is the kind of tack Apple has taken. In many of its adverts, the product is featured in isolation, without complex storylines or needless detail. Apple shows the consumer that its products alone are beautiful, like an exquisite piece of jewellery. Likewise, their billboards are equally simplistic, showing the product unaccompanied by information about its features or price. Even their stores embody this air of minimalism, with only a few products per table. The customer gets the sense they are investing in a high end product, and is forced to focus on and admire its quality.

What is simplicity?

Although in Apple’s marketing campaign simplicity seems to be synonymous with minimalism, this need not be the case for your own campaign. Simplicity can be incorporated in a number of ways.

1.    Posting on social media

At least 1 in 7 people worldwide are using Facebook. However, many are becoming apathetic to the plethora of marketing messages received on social media. In what University of Washington researchers are calling “pushback”, users are “unfollowing” or “unliking” particular brands because they post too much content. Marketing Magazine believes many brands need to define themselves as much by what they don't say, and to keep consumers engaged, posts should be worth paying attention to.  

Apple, in fact, is largely absent from social media platforms. If you seek out the brand on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll be surprised at how little you find. However, this comes with a number of benefits. Most importantly, it keeps customers and competitors alike waiting with bated breath for the release of a new product, allowing Apple to retain its air of secrecy and to keep its loyal fan-base excited. 

2.    Decision Simplicity

In 1998, Steve Jobs himself told Business Week, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” By making the decision easier for the consumer, this makes a purchase all the more likely, and Apple’s website demonstrates this beautifully. The customer need only choose between one or two sizes, and a few colours, and they have the product that they desire.

Here at OTB, we’ve come up with three steps, which when followed will help you to construct a website that makes it easy for the customer to choose what they want.

a.    Trust
Use reviews and ratings to show the consumer they can trust the product.

b.    Learn
Forums provide consumers with a place to ask questions and share information with one another, without having to sift through FAQs.

c.    Comparison
Allow the consumer to compare products side by side. Your website could even introduce a ‘help me choose’ function.

These three steps combine to create what is known as ‘Decision Simplicity’. When increased by 20 percent, this causes a 96 percent increase in customer loyalty, an 86 percent increase in the likelihood of purchase and a 115 percent increase in recommendations to others.

3.  Consistency

Successful branding is achieved over time, so consistency is key. Apple is again a prime example of this, and the brand has gained such prestige over the years that anything with the company’s name attached to it creates ripples of excitement. It has done this by consistently creating sleek, elegant and innovative products, the qualities of which are reiterated in their equally sleek and stylishly simplistic advertising and marketing campaigns.

Once you’ve established an effective way to incorporate simplicity into your campaign, stick with it so you develop a positive brand image. There is no one way to do this, but simplicity could well be the key to your marketing success. As Steve Jobs once said, “simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple,” so just keep at it.

Need some help incorporating simplicity into your campaign? Contact us here at OTB to see how we can help.

Apple’s Simple Secret: A story of success and how simplicity can be incorporated into your campaign