Macintosh: Apples for Businessmen

There is something oddly intimate about the relationship between consumers and their iPods. In fact, it is easy to say there is something oddly intimate about Mac users and their Macs in general. For years Mac has presented itself as a niche for creatives. Perhaps after the mainstreaming of iPods and iTunes it is time for Mac to move on and show the computer market what it is made of. We at Stealing Share argue that Mac is made up of a lot more than creativity, superior art programs, and amazing product/packaging design. Mac is made of business solutions.

Being a company who worships the Mac system and who must constantly accommodate clients who are not within driving distance, we are constantly utilizing Mac’s well-organized systems of iChat, iSight, and Entourage. Even though these programs work well with clients who are across the country, we find these programs useful internally and with local clients who may not have time for face-to-face meetings. In fact, we provide a lender iBook to our clients so we can communicate via the Mac system.

Of course PCs have audio/visual systems, the ever-troublesome Outlook Express, and AIM, but what Mac offers to “the tech savvy” businessman is more than superior programming, it is the Apple brand. Positioning Macs as business tools could be compared to the positioning of the Blackberry phone. The Blackberry phone has had great success with businessmen who want to stay connected at all times.

Our suggestion to Macintosh: invest in your brand. Mac only has a mere four share in today’s computer market, and that is a travesty. While other brands such as Dell and Gateway blend even more into the broad PC spectrum, Mac continues to produce effective and elegant products. The opportunity for Mac to steal market share is wide open.

The largest task to tackle before positioning a brand is, of course, the research and consumer insight. In order for Mac to position itself as the business tool every serious businessman cannot go without, Mac would have to test this precept (or belief) in the market. This research would include both current Mac users as well as non-users. Finding a way to present the brand accordingly always involves a lot of careful questions and plenty of consumer perspective.

As it stands in the market, Mac brands evoke a feeling of creativity and innovation. Even when iPod became a mainstream product, every iPod owner still felt special for owning one. Anyone in the field of art and design and even advertising will swear by the Mac because it makes special effort to accommodate their industry. Mac knows creative. What Mac fails to capitalize upon is the fact that it could know “business” as well. You do not have to be an artist or proficient in Photoshop and InDesign to benefit from a Mac. Any office would benefit from the consistent, smooth functioning of Macs.

Often the consumer asks about the “over-pricing” of Macs. To this we can answer best with examples. There is no way all PC users can say they do not stand by brands such as Tide, Campbell’s Soup, Pepto-Bismal, or Nike. People buy brands. People will pay up to three times more for Nike running shoes because it is Nike. People will buy Coke or over Grocery Store brand cola because they believe it is better and more about them. People recall brands and make associations that never disappear from their memories.

These associations and identifications are what cause brand preference. Therefore, the argument of price for a single brand does not apply in the modern market. After all, look at the success of the iPod, a device priced significantly above all other MP3 players due to the fact that consumers believe an iPod is a greater being than an MP3 player. iPod created its own category.

It is not price that keeps Macs in a world of their own. A lack of knowledge is the culprit behind Mac’s inability to grow in the computer market and to increase their market share. It is amazing how many people are not aware of Mac programs that would directly impact their business productivity. For example, Keynote, a Mac only program, has capabilities far exceeding Power Point, a program used by almost every office every day. Hardly anyone in the business world uses Keynote, yet the program is the finest electronic presentation program available. Keynote, like Macs in general, is simply more professional.

Professionalism is something this country may value more than any other country in the world. However, professionalism in the US is also demonstrated and interpreted differently. As Americans we believe in order to provide, we must possess, and with this possession, we must always have the biggest, best, and most advanced. Ironically, the computer company that allows us to have just that is being ignored due to the excuse of price and a lack of acceptance. Mac must become more approachable and reachable for businesses of all varieties in order to succeed in an ever-changing market.

Molly Sunderdick
Brand Strategist
Stealing Share Inc

Article Source: