Marketers have to be able to develop strategies that will work in different environments. They must anticipate challenges and be able to come up with turnaround solutions to the problems that they face as part of their duty to ensure that their organizations can enjoy success in a given market. This paper is going to describe integrated marketing communication used by Apple to promote the iPhone 6. Apple is a company that continues to define the excellence of marketing communication, as shown by the success of its brand and its product in the global marketplace. Currently, Apple enjoys the number one position as the most recognized and valuable brand in the world (Forbes, 2015).
Several Ways That Apple Can Use in Various Forms of Integrated Marketing
Apple can use a common theme to connect with its target audience in a meaningful way. It can integrate brand-related sponsorships and endorsements, web, and heavy social media use. It can also add posters and television advertising and combine these marketing efforts with a lot of content generated by users to take advantage of the Web 2.0 possibilities. Apple can use its “think differently” slogan to promote its brand through different channels. The company can release its brand personality on all mediums that its target consumers are using. It can combine the message with natural features and functionalities of the different mediums that it is using the examination of various IMC contact tools shown below.
Apple relied on press releases on media stations and event coverage as marketing outlets in the launch of its iPhone 6.
The company buys space in high-end print magazines targeted at Apple loyalists to market it’s iPhone 6.
The launch event is a public relations event that provides target customers with a report on the company’s previous year’s performance, achievements and introduces the new product. The event is well organized to receive global media publicity across all the media channels.
The company runs a user forum, while its marketing team maintains close relationships with bloggers and online journalists to allow users and other members of its target audience to interact among themselves. They can also communicate directly with the company concerning its products, like the iPhone 6.
Direct marketing happens through emails sent to registered users of other Apple products who opt-in to an email list maintained by the company. The recipients of this direct marketing campaign are among the first to receive communication of a new product or feature launch.
Apple does not do sales promotion explicitly, but it relies on its retail partners to promote the products through their respective sales channels. It allows them to run discount and sale events on their behalf.
Product placement is a major strategy used by Apple to promote the iPhone 6. The device appears in commercials, and people can be used by both ordinary and high-class individuals in society. The device was used as the exclusive video shooting device on a popular television program in the United States called Modern Family (Chmielewski, 2015). Many movies, music videos, and television shows include people showing off their iPhone 6, which works to build the brand story of Apple.
Events of Sponsorship
Apple does not sponsor any event now and has not used this option to communicate and market its brand.
Word of Mouth
The company excels at promoting word-of-mouth by engaging people who have a high social network impact in society. It also manages micro details of its product launches to generate a lot of buzz about new products, which end up creating viral user-generated campaigns on social networks.
Point of Purchase
Apple uses attractive displays, posters, and provides a demo device for users to test at the retail stores and its online stores. It uses these features to communicate the superiority of the brand.
The company does not have salespeople, but it has dedicated staff at its retail stores across the world, which assists the target audience in making the correct choices about Apple products. The company lets consumers ask any question about the device they wish to purchase, and the personal assistant staffs at its stores provide sufficient answers to influence a better outlook of the product in the target consumer’s view.
Out of Home Media
The company uses out of home media in a number of ways, including billboards and public display video boards to display its products.
Analysis of the Above Tool Usage in the Integrated Marketing Communications Program of Apple Iphone 6
The contact tools used mostly by Apple in promoting iPhone 6 are public relations/publicity, product placement, word of mouth, and point of purchase. The company includes product placements by inviting celebrities to attend its launch events as guests or performers. In addition, Apple relies on celebrities to endorse its products outside the launch event by letting them use its products in places that receive high publicity. It combines the placement with the pricing of the product to communicate its value and show consumers that it is better than the competing products in the market.
The pricing of the iPhone 6 helps the company to demonstrate to consumers that it considers itself a better company than its rivals. In addition, high pricing also demonstrates the value of the product sold. Therefore, consumers readily accept messages of the high production value of an iPhone 6 because they have to pay more for the product compared to many rival products offered by competitors (Doole & Lowe, 2012).
An example of a combination of the most used tools highlighted above was witnessed at the launch of the iPhone 6. There was a red carpet event as part of launching the iPhone 6. The red-carpet event included celebrities whose presence at the event would attract media attention. Therefore, Apple was relying on the publicity generated by these celebrities and capitalizing on their presence as endorsements for the new product launch. Other target consumers would take the presence of celebrities at the launch and on different advertising campaigns as an indication of the celebrity personality approval of the product and qualification of its superior quality.
During the iPhone 6 launch, Apple invited a number of world-popular musicians. One of the musicians was Will.i.am, who is a famous personality among hip-hop and pop music fans. The company also had Angela Ahrendts and Gwen Stefani, who are all famous musicians and celebrity personalities (Pandlebury, 2014). They attract a media presence whenever they attend a public function, which works in favor of the Apple iPhone 6 integrated marketing communications (Boundless, 2014).
Concerning word of mouth, Apple relies mostly on the web. The company maintains good relations with a high number of online news websites that are dedicated to serving the Apple product user community. These websites provide consumers with the latest news about any product or service announced or planned by Apple. The company uses the publishers of the websites as channels for releasing critical information about new products because they do an excellent job of keeping consumers informed about the products by Apple. Releasing information in small bits helps the company to capture the interest of its target consumers.
Consumers, on the other hand, are always looking for the latest news about the products they already own or the products that they are about to own. Therefore, Apple supports online publishers by giving them sample units of the new product to review. In return, they dedicate sections or their entire websites for informing Apple consumers. This strategy ensures that consumers are abreast with the latest from the company and its user base. At the same time, it allows the company to collect feedback information about the launch of the new product like the iPhone 6 inexpensively. Users also debate about features and other product-related attributes of the firm.
They can share information about brand visibility and social perception of a product or an advertising campaign. The websites also tell users about self-diagnosis and repair or configuration of the iPhone 6 and other products (Smith, 2014).
In point of purchase, Apple uses a direct partnership with telecom companies that provide cellular services to consumers. These carriers have their retail outlets where they sell a range of phones. Apple collaborates with carriers so that they can offer phone contracts with the iPhone 6. The partnership compels the carriers to dedicate sections of their stores to the iPhone 6 as a display. This exclusivity treatment informs consumers about the high-quality nature of the iPhone.
It also helps to differentiate it from the competition. Most importantly, it allows the company to reinforce the communication of its existing advertising campaigns to users. Once they get to the store, the customers already know the launch of the iPhone 6 is about to happen, or it just happened. Either way, they are aware of a new product by Apple. When they are in the store, customers get a mimicked feeling of the Apple stores because they see posters and a spacious display of the new iPhones available (Smith, 2014).
The iPhone launch is a well-coordinated event. The company sends press invites to a select team of press personalities. The company identifies the loyal targets of Apple products and markets to them first, as it also targets non-users who may become first-time users of new products launched. The aim of the initial press briefing of the company is to announce new products. However, it also communicates the values of the company and sets a new standard of reaching out to the target community of Apple products. The overall campaign announces a new Apple line, such as the iPhone 6. The audience for Apple products is knowledgeable about the existing products by the company and its reputation in the market.
The company first shut down all the existing marketing campaigns about Apple products in anticipation of the launch of the iPhone 6. It then used all available marketing channels, including press releases, direct mail, and online video sharing a channel, as well as blogging networks. The company also included a number of celebrities to publicize its products during the launch and after the launch event.
Having music personalities helped the company to hold on its promise of defining the quality, beauty, and aesthetic standards for urban, well-informed customers. These urban customers are cultural and value self-expression. They admire the self-actualization messages embodied by celebrities and strive to make purchase decisions that allow them to achieve different levels and forms of self-actualization. An iPhone 6 is marketed as a premium high-end smartphone for people who seek the best of their worlds. Thus, its advertising and product launch campaigns communicate the message of achievement. People who want to express their success in the social status buy an iPhone 6, as advised by the campaign message.
The company ensured the iPhone 6 launch event was broadcasted live on its website and a number of Internet channels. Live broadcasting opens the event to millions of people around the world. It allows the company to communicate simultaneously to all its target markets. Therefore, target consumers in any part of the world can find out features and main attractive elements of the product. The company also involves the team that developed the product and engaged its customers in a brief story-like description of the process of coming up with the iPhone.
In the case of the iPhone 6 product launch, the company ensured that its target consumers became part of strategic communication. It involves them in the process by revealing details about the process of making the product and the subsequent presentation as finished goods. Therefore, consumers feel part of the process of creating a new product. The inclusion also increases the urgency of purchasing the product once it is available in stores.
Apple also did the iPhone 6 launch as a surprise. It built healthy anticipation of the new product by allowing news on rumors to persist. It also publicized the launch event using posters and online banners without revealing lots of details about the actual product. This strategy helps the company to create urgency in consumers. The surprise element comes when the product is unveiled for the first time in public at a well-organized annual launch event. Therefore, although consumers already know that the company is going to introduce a new product, they remain in the dark. This comes in the midst of heaving marketing, until the moment when the company makes the announcement official.
The tactics used by Apple allow the company to remain relevant as the element of surprise makes many of its announcements and electronic advertising to go viral. In fact, the strategic release of small bits of information to the media about the upcoming products and features is a strategy that allows the company to take advantage of the viral nature of Internet communication channels. The company only issues press releases only when there is information that goes contrary to its intended market communication. This occurs so that consumers remain safe from any misleading actions by news or other information that may jeopardize the brand.
Are the Various Tools Used in IMC Sending a Consistent Message?
The tools used by Apple to promote the iPhone 6 send a consistent message of “thinking differently.” Instead of concentrating on sponsorships and advertising, the company focuses on publicity and product placement that allows the target audience to get a full experience of the Apple store in an easy to believe context.
Overall Assessment of the IMC Program for Apple
The different tactics used by Apple to carry out its integrated marketing communication provide the company with a range of sources for information about its marketing campaigns. The fundamental factors for success at Apple are the element of surprise and the use of minimalist and high-quality design features as the essential elements of any marketing campaign and any marketing channel. The company uses an inspirational message and taps on celebrity association to grow it is brand and influence consumer choices. The company only has a reputation appeal message. It does not have a humorous appeal. The overall assessment is that the iPhone 6 integrated marketing campaigns are effective and consistent.
Example of Two Current Advertising Campaigns
The first advertising campaign by Apple uses posters. The advertising is used to promote the fantastic camera of the iPhone 6. The campaign encompasses large beautiful posters of different artistic and natural images in public spaces. The images appear in a public gallery, then there is an Apple logo, and the wording “Shot on iPhone 6”. There is also the inclusion of the name of the person who took the image. This advertising presents a reputational appeal message of the high-quality features of the Apple brand (Belford, 2015).
Another advert is available online at the Apple web store. It is a teardown video of the iPhone 6 narrated by the company’s head of design, Jonathan Ive, as the advertising spokesperson.
Apple chose these two types of advertisements because the company is keen on doing things differently and wants to sustain the Apple story presented in other communication channels. The spokesperson is appropriate for the product because some of its key features are its design beauty and functionality. The simplicity and superiority of the iPhone 6 as parts of its selling points also make the use of posters appropriate in the first advertisement.
The use of this type of source of the message causes consumers to develop an urge to experience the product. It also creates a need to discuss and find out more features about the product. Apple understands that brands live in connections, and the best way to achieve an appropriate brand growth is by having integrated marketing communication at all its marketing efforts. Apple can make use of a number of advertising channels to ensure that many of its consumers are using its products. The company maintains a predictable and consistent message as the underlying factor for its advertisements using various channels. The company can focus on every customer touchpoint and every customer interaction that its brand values are well represented, and the consumers can choose an Apple product over the competing products in the marketplace.
The main message of the iPhone 6 was to differentiate it from the rest of the phones competing in the premium smartphone market. The iPhone marketing message highlighted its ease of use and the use of superior technology. It also highlighted the design of the phone as being congruent with the needs of consumers. The message is striking for anyone in the target audience, which seeks to have a gadget that adheres to conventional notions of high-quality functionality and high-quality design.
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