When you think of the words “Think Different” you think Apple. You think Mac. You think Steve Jobs. The 1997 campaign, which also launched Jobs’ return to Apple after a decade-long exile, plastered the faces of Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Mahatma Gandhi, Pablo Picasso and Martin Luther King Jr. across billboards and bus stops around the United States. Their faces sat alongside two words: Think Different. Across many of the ads, and voiced on TV, there was an accompanying message: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The rebels. The troublemakers. The ones who see things differently. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do”. It wasn’t a campaign simply pushing a product or pricepoint, but an entire philosophy underpinning Apple’s values. Apple was a company for content creators and, in turn, Microsoft – its greatest competitor – was pitted as a company for content consumers. Later, a shift occurred. Consumers paid to become creators, they paid for the brand Apple created.
Fast forward to 2018, and we live in a world where everyone has the means to create. Everyone can generate an idea, and sell it, including themselves. The paradox of the internet is that it has democratised small business and enabled everyone to sell a product, yet in creating this noise, individual voices are muffled. Which is where branding comes in as the new-age language for customer connection. Social media has created a prosumer world where people are not simply consuming but advocating for brands. Individuals are now influencing companies’ decisions through the feedback loop or building personal profiles leveraging their own careers. The best are, much like Apple, selling a philosophy over simply a product or a service. With the sheer number of products sold daily across the globe, building an appealing brand around a price tag is where value is added.