“Apple’s recent acquisition of Beats has gotten many people wondering if the Apple brand is as strong as it once was,” Denise Lee Yohn writes for Forbes. “Some see the surprising move as a significant departure from the strategy that has built Apple into the one of the greatest brands of all time and they consider it a proof point of the decline of the Apple brand cachet.”
“The Beat deal is also surprising because it installs Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre as key players in the newly combined organization,” Yohn writes. “Apple’s brand equity used to bank heavily on one person, Steve Jobs – and all other key players, even current CEO Tim Cook, were considered insiders, Steve’s disciples. With the addition of such high profile outsiders, the brand seems to have lost the tie to Jobs and the purity and commitment to ‘Steve’s way.'”
“On the other hand, though, the acquisition may not be all that much of a change for the Apple brand. Apple achieved brand supremacy when integration became a core business driver. iTunes first revolutionized music by integrating content with hardware and software. Then the iPhone revolutionized communications by integrating hardware and software (apps). Now this Beats development is likely to create an equally disruptive change by integrating content with wearable hardware and personalized service,” Yohn writes. “Perhaps there isn’t as much cause for concern over the Apple brand – at least not in the near term. The biggest question mark the Beats deal raises is really about corporate culture. No longer is the leader of the company like a rock star – the company actually has two rock stars on its payroll. And no longer are the designers and engineers the cool kids on the block. Content may actually become king. It’s unclear if Apple employees will be as inspired by Iovine and Dre, and it they will play by their visions and along with their teams.”
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