Brand Engagement – Apple Store

Do you have young teenagers? If so, do they like to go to the mall and hang out at the Apple Store and take goofy pictures of themselves using “Photo Booth”? If so, you are not alone. Young teens share a couple of common traits:

  1. They have time to kill, but not a lot of money
  2. They are hyper-connected and highly social
  3. They like to play with stuff
  4. They love the Apple Store

If you ask them why, they will tell you “It’s Fun!” or “Because the have cool stuff to do there”. Flip that around and ask them why they don’t love to hang out at the the big CE retailers and you probably hear them say “there’s nothing for us to do there.”

How does Apple feel about all the kids always in their store playing with the cool stuff, but not buying anything. They absolutely encourage it. Sure, the kids can be obnoxious and disruptive, but they are also engaging with the brand in a way that most other purchasing segments never will. Apple is smart enough to realize that these kids have a significant say in family technology purchases today, and in a few years, when they become purchasers, Apple will be top of mind for them.

How strong is this brand engagement? I often use my soon-to-be-13-year-old daughter as a barometer. Statistically invalid, but directionally OK. She called me into the family room yesterday because she wanted to show me the cool menu that she had built for a DVD she was making for her friends. It was “cool” and I told her so (egos need lots of strokes at this age), but then the first scene of content began, she really had my atention. It was entitled “The Apple Store”. It’s a simple slideshow set to music. The images are a collection of manipulated Photo Booth pictures taken of her and her friends in the store and e-mailed home over the last year. (Interesting thought as I am writing…. it would have never crossed my mind even five years ago that kids would be creating and publishing their own movies, but I’ll save that for another post).

So this post could be about several things that I like to rant about. The migration of content from Mass to Personal. The consumer technology that makes this easy. The close, hyper-connected relationships that today’s youth have with each other. But the big takeaway for me is that Apple, either by accident or by design, has tapped into the next generation of digital lifestyle consumers and they are totally engaged with the brand. Can you imagine kids making movies about their experiences at Circuit City or Best Buy?

But Apple has figured it out. Whether its the purchasing customer or just the pack of kids passing through on their daily romp through the mall, Apple knows that brand engagement is created not through finding, selecting and purchasing a bundle of products and services. That’s an orthodoxy that they have clearly overturned. They understand it’s created through customer experience, but not just during the in-store transaction. They design the experience around the customer’s (or future customer’s) life.

6 comments so far

  1. […] About this Blog Brand Engagement – Apple Store […]

  2. Your Daughter on

    Dad!!! Come on “they need lots of stroking at his age”?! THATS JUST GREAT! Well now I know that I’m right when I say “you’re just saying that cause I’m you kid”. Butt head.

  3. Matt Haverkamp on

    Doug – that video is awesome. I love thinking about what my nephews at 5 and 3 are going to be doing when they reach their teenage years. Actually, probably in the next few years they do will be the ultimate content creators. Oh to be young again.

    I spent some time – about 1 year – working with Abercrombie and Fitch. And although you can choose to hate them they know a thing or two about brand engagement and experience.

  4. Doug Meacham on

    Matt, Great observation on A&F. I was recently in Manhattan and went to the 5th Ave flagship store. It was amazing! 10 feet into the store and I felt like I had been transported to one of the best nightclubs in town. It was really dark with spotlighting on the displays. Lots of very attractive people working there, but with the appearance that they were just hanging out. I can see how a 20-something would aspire to be part of this scene.

    Thanks for the comments!

  5. Loulou Delphis on

    Doug, right on point…….. love your piece

    This is a great way to bring home to many the evidence that we are in a paradigm shift!

  6. […] recently wrote about how brand engagement in Apple stores citing the way the encourage youth to spend time there […]


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