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AM #009: Unlock the Power of Your Brand's WHY

Updated: Mar 22

"To me, marketing is about values." - Steve Jobs

There we go. Right out of the gate with another Steve Jobs quote.

You can't ignore the profound impact Apple has made on the world of marketing and branding.

What makes Apple's approach so noteworthy (IMO) is this:

→ They recognize a superior product alone isn't enough.

They know it's not just the product (though important) that wins the hearts and minds of their consumers.

Instead, it's the combination of a superior product and a meaningful WHY (values, vision, mission) that creates impact and a solid brand identity.

While many of Apple's competitors focus messaging and positioning on building tech to help people get their work done -

Apple's branding empowers innovators, risk-takers, and dreamers to change the world for the better.

One of the most iconic examples of this is Apple's Think Different campaign (1997-2002), honoring people who helped change the world.

To me, this campaign perfectly illustrates the intersection between corporate values & brand identity, and here's why it worked:

1. It was different than anything else in the market.

While competitors advertised product benefits and features:

Dell Computer

Apple focused on brand identity, values, and philosophy.

Buzz Aldrin, 2nd person to set foot on the moon

2. It told powerful stories that resonated with Apple's target market.

Featuring iconic figures such as Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and others who embodied the brand's values - it made Apple's consumers feel aligned with how the greats think and act.

Amelia Earhart, Championed the Advancement of Women in Aviation

3. It celebrated creativity, innovation, and individuality - an Apple "trait"

The leaders featured in Apple's Think Different campaign all challenged the status quo and leveraged their creative and innovative minds and talents to help change the world.

Pablo Picasso, Revolutionary Artist in the early 20th Century

Apple honors people who think differently.

The Think Different campaign, "...touches the soul of the company." (Jobs)


All of this to say, Apple's marketing provides a valuable case study on unlocking the power of your WHY and leveraging it in your marketing and branding efforts.

It shows that when companies align their values & vision with their branding, they can create a powerful and compelling brand story that resonates with consumers on a deeper level.

P.S. A great book to help you define your WHY is Simon Sinek's "Start with Why." Grab a copy here.

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