3 observations, 3 lessons and 3 questions

I note with interest a report in yesterday’s media that Apple is again the dominant smart phone manufacturer in the world, having overtaken Samsung.

Sales for the fourth quarter of 2014 were:

  • Apple – 74.83 million.
  • Samsung – 73.03 million.

The percentages were:

  • Apple – 49% up.
  • Samsung – 12% down.

In addition to selling more smart phones than any business in the world, Apple also boasts:

  • Being the world’s most valuable brand.
  • Having the world’s greatest cash reserves.
  • Reporting the world’s highest profit.

By any measure Apple is a marvel and by any measure it has overcome predictions that:

  • Tim Cook could never keep going what Steve Jobs started.
  • It could never maintain its margins in the face of growing competition.
  • Samsung would eventually swamp it.

The facts are:

  • Tim Cook has increased market share and profitability.
  • Margins have been maintained leading to the world’s biggest ever profit.
  • Samsung appears to be struggling.

I am sure there are lots of reasons for this. Among them are the following:

  • Apple has always understood that there is more to marketing than price.
  • Apple understood the importance of investing in its brand.
  • Apple is an innovator and Samsung is not, in a world where innovation matters.

In my view there are lessons from Apple for Australian businesses of all sizes:

  • There is more to marketing than price.
  • Innovation is about more than government subsidies.
  • Investing in your brand pays dividends.

It is also interesting to note that Apple has achieved these amazing results while bringing more of their manufacturing home to the United States – a higher wages environment.

This leaves me with three questions:

  • Why are Australian businesses not learning more from Apple innovation?
  • Why are Australian businesses not learning more from Apples commitment to branding?
  • Why are Australian businesses not learning more from Apples understanding of price?

What is it that makes Australian manufacturers and retailers think that they know so much more than the most successful business in history?

Someone once said to me that the problem with Australian executives and in particular Western Australian executives is that they think they know it all.

Is that right?

This issue will be discussed in more detail on THE D. JOHN CARLSON NETWORK – www.djohncarlsonnetwork.com

D. John Carlson is a behavioural scientist, strategic planner and lateral thinker focusing on branding, marketing and communication. Visit his blog – www.djohncarlsonesq.com

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