Profile Picture Lorraine Ball Fall 2023 Square

Host: Lorraine Ball

Don't be a Rotten Apple

Episode #920 Oct. 29, 2023

the episode

When asked about their branding style, I often hear business owners say they “want to look like Apple.” They admire the clean, sleek design. They imagine their brand will seem modern, authentic, high-tech, hip, cool and smart if they incorporate some of the same style elements into their brand. But it is usually a bad idea.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Apple’s branding for Apple. It just rarely works out for other brands. Why?

Business owners won’t walk the talk.

Apple styling requires lots of white space in your design. The clean, minimal effect is created by using color sparingly and keeping fonts to one or two styles.

The Apple brand is stark, and most business owners can’t resist the urge to clutter the designs. When faced with their brand in Apple style, they ask for more text, maybe a cute piece of clip art or a stock photo. The result is visually confusing.

Not every brand should look like Apple.

It’s okay if you don’t look like Apple. One of the cool things about the world of branding is the diversity of different brand personalities. If you are a friendly, low-tech brand, Apple styling isn’t right for you.

There isn’t anything warm or welcoming about the Apple brand. The hip, cool, and somewhat aloof styling is aspirational and isn’t for everyone. A good example of rotten Apple branding is J..C Penney. For more than 100 years, middle-aged middle Americans turned to J.C. Penney for clothes, appliances and home goods.

The brand offered durable, good quality items at a reasonable price. When they tried re-branding and transforming their stores into showcases with a light, airy, upscale feel it felt wrong. The stores were lovely, but empty and their core customers didn’t feel welcome. The new target audience never believed the branding shift and didn’t come.

Trying to use Apple styling when it really isn’t you is like trying to wear someone else’s shoes. They may look good, but they will never feel exactly right. Instead of trying to be an Apple clone, figure out the core values of your brand and with a designer who can bring that brand to life.

Start Your Brand Discovery

Your brand begins with a clear answer to the question: Why should I buy from you?

Your answer must demonstrate that you know who you are talking to, what their pain points are, and how your solution solves their problem.

A position statement will do that and more. Use our Position Guide Workbook to write one, today!

about the marketing minute

Each week, host Lorraine Ball shares just a few words on a marketing topic. She boils down creative ideas, practical tips, and decades of real-world experience into a mini podcast which is always less than two minutes.

Look for these mini bits of marketing inspiration every Sunday.  Then come back and enjoy the longer interviews every Thursday.

Look for the mini podcasts and full episodes on iTunesSpotifyGoogle Podcast  and wherever you listen  to podcasts.