Friday, May 11, 2007

Apple v/s Big Blue

An old classic in naming strategy is being debated over at Thingnamer and I can't help but attempt a deconstruction.

When Apple was introduced, Big Blue ruled the roost. Steve Jobs and his Gang of Blue-busters needed to come up with something so memorable that people would make an instant connection with the new product without having to be told about it time and again; Apple, you see, would never be able to match Big Blue in terms of marketing muscle.

Before that path-breaking 1984 commercial directed by Ridley Scott, Apple did something very elementry and very brilliant by deciding to call themselves so. Apple, in terms of colour, is diametrically opposite to the cool blue of blue. Apple is red. Apple is warm. Apple is fresh. Apple is very different. Apple is...well, Apple Computer. It's a different matter that Apple chose to, very smartly, go with a rainbow coloured symbol.

A red Apple logo for Apple would have been too common. Instead, what they did was choose something else with a very powerful story meme and own the Apple meme by rejigging the colours of the common fruit most inventively and most inclusively. The Rainbow, you see, has an equally powerful story meme, which they combined with the Apple story meme to communicate different and inclusive; again, most unlike Big Blue.

More about Apple: Apple draws positive memory cues from The Big Apple. Apple is a biblical symbol of universal recall. Apple is the oldest, the most tempting and the most basic fruit known to the human race. The Rainbow Apple is most emphatically not Big Blue. That's why deciding to call the new entrant Apple was less an abstract and more a simply brilliant naming move.

Stop-start scale: 7/10
Long and Short cut: 7/10
Story meme: 9/10
Urlabilty: 8/10
Übertotal: 31/40

Adden for myself the dumb: Steve Jobs says he decided to go with Apple because he admired The Beatles. Ah well, maybe the credit should then go to the naming expert in The Beatles who chose the word Apple for their records. Sir Paul, take a bow.

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