Here is an angle that I haven’t heard anybody talking about in light of Apple’s latest hire: People connect the idea of Apple wanting to become a luxury brand with them entering China and Russia. Emerging markets Apple is trying to find a foothold. This is the obvious explanation and one that certainly makes sense in the short term.
Here is a longterm thought, that I think Tim Cook is after, perhaps even more so than the short term gain from selling more iPhones in China.
Apple is in a unique positions to be the first tech company that will grow into a legacy brand. A brand that will be known for generations.
All tech companies we know today, that is really all tech companies that ever existed, face the same dilemma as new startups enter the market: Can they adapt fast enough to change with the times or will they be pushed into oblivion? They usually opt the road to become a consultancy or enterprise solutions provider, thus continue to drive revenue, but increasingly fading from the public eye. Or they get bought, cut into pieces and turn into a byline of history.
Where will IBM, Sony, Nintendo or Microsoft be in 15 years? Blackberry has basically already disappeared so has Nokia… the list goes on an on. Remember the Computer brands of the 90s. Gateway anyone?
What brands have successfully build a beachhead in the future? What brands are still on the forefronts of people’s mind by smartly engineering their personas, their products and their marketing?
What we perceive as luxury brands today: Burberry was founded in 1856. Rolex in 1905. Porsche in 1931. Brands that by tech standards should be long obsolete are still coveted and highly regarded all over the world. They continue to set standards while buckling short-time trends. How much has Rolex suffered on Swatches onslaught in the 80s? How many people are choosing to by a Tesla rather than Porsche?
Apple has a chance to be the first tech company who’s brand doesn’t get blown away by the winds of the VC funded startup frenzy.
That is what Tim Cook’s legacy will be. And that’s why his hires from the fashion world are a big step in that direction.