General Question

Trustinglife's avatar

Why are Apple's customers so passionate?

Asked by Trustinglife (6623points) October 28th, 2008

I saw an Apple logo on the car in front of me today and it got me thinking… How did Apple create such a loyal and passionate user base?

I’ve always owned PC’s, but have been very, very pleased with my iPhone for more than a year now. I’m a happy camper, but I’m not about to put an Apple sticker on my car.

Sure, their products are often very good. But so are a lot of company’s. What do you think causes people to do the company’s marketing for them?

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19 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

I have been using a Mac my entire computing life. My parents bought me a 128K Mac in 1984. In the 90’s it looked like Apple was dead. You get loyal when it looks like something you love might die.

melly6708's avatar

well apple gives free stickers with every apple product you buy… so people have all these apple stickers laying around.. i know i do.. so they just put them on stuff.. i dont think windows gives free stickers .. if they did.. i bet there would be windows stickers everywhere

2late2be's avatar

I do have my Apple sticker on my car! I’m an Apple fan and like they say “once you go Mac, you’ll never go back” I will never ever use a PC!

melly6708's avatar

plus.. i love mac.. I dont know how i survived with out it in the past.. :)

jrpowell's avatar

And I should add that I have used Windows. Do. Not. Want..

andrew's avatar

I think even more than the possible demise of the company is a concerted effort to market a cohesive brand which speaks to a lifestyle. It also helps when your brand has a minority share in your market.

Brand love isn’t just limited to Apple, though:
* Dyson
* Adidas
* Porsche
* Saab
* Blackberry
* Starbucks
* Ugg
* Crocs

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I don’t have an Apple sticker, owned a PC before, use a PC at work, have a mac laptop at home. For the routine user, a Mac is idiot-proof, from the day it came home. I took it out of the box, plugged it in, it set itself up. I never have to defrag, or any of the other things you have to do on a PC to keep it running efficiently. Mac help is online and intelligible. And after 5 years on the same computer, I’ve yet to get a virus. I have finally reached the point where, after 5 years, where the hard drive is beginning to fail and in order to upgrade the operating system, I will need a new hard drive.

EnzoX24's avatar

* Dyson
* Adidas
* Porsche
* Saab
* Blackberry
* Starbucks
* Ugg
* Crocs

The last two are not so much brand loyalty as much as fads. Fads I am praying will die off quickly.

cookieman's avatar

1986: Sat down to my first computer. An Apple II, I think. Loved it.
1987: Sat down to my first generic PC. Not so much.
1988 – 1989: First “real” job, working on the (now titled) BW Mac Classic. Happy again.
1990 – 1999: Worked only on PCs. Almost required therapy.
2000: Back on Macs for good. Did year-long happy dance and haven’t stopped yet.

In my experience, PCs work just fine. They get the job done, but are all-too-often very frustrating to work or teach on.

Whatever problems I’ve had with Macs over the years have been minimal to non-existent.

So my passion for all things Apple stems mostly from consistent reliability and usability. Stylish design and general coolness factor are just the icing on the cake.

EmpressPixie's avatar

It is very heavily studied and you can read books and books from Marketing professors on how to create and recreate your own “Cult of Mac” for your product. But the easy answer is that Apple works to create a cult-like following of their product because the products that have that very loyal following always have a strong group to fall back on. Many Mac owners (Or Saturn owners or other cult-following-owners) wouldn’t consider another product. In the tech sector that is a big advantage. But it does mean that—among other things—you can’t do wide appeal sales or price wars, one of the things that usually define these “cults” is that their average price is a bit higher than the industry average, but it doesn’t really move.

But that is only part of it—these companies do so much to create this atmosphere including annual meetups, consistency, and one marketing direction. For instance, with Saturn the marketing whatever is: you pay one price no bargaining. Yeah, you hear a lot about their cars, but in everything they put out, you also find out that you’ll only pay one price. With Apple, you only have to look to the iPod commercials to see this—they’ve evolved from the first iPod commercial (black silhouette on a colorful background), but it’s still the same, basic commercial. You don’t turn on the TV, see only part of it and wonder what it was for.

Anyway, so as not to get carried away, if you are really curious, there are a good number of books on this subject. And while many customers will say things like quality products or service and care, it is also a very carefully cultivated and well crafted marketing tactic. (Though I want to say that Apple is the group they studied when they first started looking at the phenomenon.)

EnzoX24's avatar

You see this a lot in videogames as well. Mostly Xbox and Playstation fans now, as Wii owners cuddle in their corner crying “It is next gen, it is next gen, it is next gen.”

EmpressPixie's avatar

Ha! My boyfriend is a Wii owner of that sort! “They will come out with better games, they will!” intersperse with “EFF YOU NINTENDO! It had such promise.

EnzoX24's avatar

My Wii is Ebay bound very soon if I can make back at least what I payed or close.

But yeah, Wii elitists are the greatest example of brand loyalty.

Jax's avatar

Technology should serve you, make your life easier and enable you to accomplish great results with minimum effort.

This is what Apple does for it’s customers. Then there’s the design, comfort, ease and clarity in the use of hardware add-ons and software.

The other options offer about the same results but you spend an awful lot of time trying to keep the computer working or getting it to work, instead of working with it.

andrew's avatar

@enzox24: Ugg have been around since 1999. As much as I hate to admit it, they’ve been around longer than a fad. Crocs I’ll agree with.

EmpressPixie's avatar

@enzox, andrew: Crocs would probably have had more staying power if they weren’t likely to rip your feet off on the escalator. It hasn’t killed the brand utterly, but it makes it harder for their following to defend them.

Nimis's avatar

Andrew: I think they were around since way before that.
I remember everyone had Uggs in grade school.
(I was out of high school by 1999.)

PIXEL's avatar

I’ve typed this in several other threads but whatever. Apple focuses on details other companies think don’t matter. For example they put lots of work into the look and feel. I love a product that does what I want and has looks for a bonus and I think it’s great how Apple just can’t stand still. It’s update, after update, after update. Apple just makes people love computers. They’re the reason I’m so computer smart. They’re the reason I got into graphic design and visual effects. No joke.

derpderp's avatar

I grew up with Commodore 64’s and Amigas, so I’ve always known great hardware and awesome software. Amigas were at least 10 years ahead and Macs & PC’s didn’t even compete before 1995. It’s a shame that piracy killed the Amiga, although Commodore where very much like Apple in terms of having closed hardware architechture (i.e. noone else could build it but them).

I had to use Macs at University between 94 – 2000 and it is from that experience that I have utterly loathed Macs ever since. They were the most hopeless, unreliable, dumbed down systems I’ve ever had the misfortune of using. I would go through entire labs of the damn machines and they would just crash and crash and have issues while I’m doing even the most basic tasks. We were using Mac “classics”, LC II’s, LC III’s, some models of Power Mac etc. They were all rubbish. I saw that sad Mac face more than anything else.

In the workforce I had experience with iMac’s and, while they were fairly pretty, they still crashed just as much as the older models. You should’ve heard the screams from our graphic designer when he lost a couple of hours work. Again.

I’ve always hated that Macs (and now iphones/ipads) are a closed system and the user is actively discouraged from upgrading anything in their system. I believe the ability to upgrade hardware has changed since they changed to using the same, indentical, Intel-based hardware as everyone else, but I’ve been too scarred from trying to use their horrible systems again.

The OS might not crash as much since OSX was introduced, but I still don’t like using it at all. In the past few years (2009 – 2011) I’ve sat behind experienced Mac users and watched them fumble and struggle with the unintuitive UI, and accidentally click things in the background because many applications aren’t even contained in their own window.

I’ve tried to use a MacBook (to test cross-browser compatibility) and it gave me the shits within minutes. Maximise should fill the whole screen and Minimise should get it the heck off my screen – not just make the window slightly bigger and smaller depending on what I had to manually drag it out to before.

The thing that annoys me about many of the stories from Mac fans is that they equate Customer Service with the choice of OS. i.e. “I had great service from the Apple store therefore Mac > PC” – my local computer store gives just as great service, but I don’t harp on about it. Dell, HP, Gateway etc also give the same level of service as Apple – assuming you want to buy from those providers.

The thing I love about my PC’s is that they just work. I’m typing this on a Dell laptop (running XP) from early 2006 and I haven’t had a single issue with it. No viruses, no reinstalls, nothing. I also have a PC from 2000 that was running 98 for a couple of years, dismantled, carried overseas in pieces, reassembled, upgraded to XP, dismantled, carried back to my home country, and it’s still running – granted its a bit slow these days, but it’s still ticking 11 years later. And yes, I do have a top of the line i7 running Windows 7 that will wipe the floor with any Mac.

I always thought it was a shame that Microsoft saved Apple from bankruptcy, but at the end of the day it is necessary to have competitors that have to innovate to survive. I have no great love for Microsoft, but comptetition from Apple (and now Google) will ultimately mean that all consumers get better products and services.

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