30.10.17

Getting your (branded) house in order

Apple’s new flagship phone, the iPhoneX, is due for release and much speculation was written on many tech blogs about what it would be called and what it would look like. A very inquisitive person even found an updated icon in the developer software that got people as excited as it did worried. The end result was very much the same.

Apple made a big deal of this being the 10 (X) year anniversary of the iPhone and they were going to celebrate by doing something different, which they did, to an extent. My grievance isn’t with the phone and what it can or can’t do, it’s with Apple’s supposed ‘branded house’. I feel this 10 year anniversary was the perfect chance to get their (branded) house in order.

Even Google don’t get it completely right but they are certainly giving it a go. Consistency in naming and visual identity creates a level of professionalism and care that you know already exists in each of their products.

Its interesting to compare the two tech giants as they have both been ranked the most valuable global brands by Interbrand. Apple are still number 1, despite my perceived lack of care for their overall brand.

My suggestion will no doubt stir up some hate and the opinionated amongst you will say I’ve got it all wrong and that you can’t just throw away 10+ years of brand recognition on the whim of a blog post. And you may be right. But fuck it. Here it goes.

Drop the i.

There, I said it. Blasphemy in its purest form.

i originally meant ‘internet’ but these days all devices are internet connected and the only thing keeping it near any of Apple’s most popular products is brand recognition. I’d argue that Apple is big enough and powerful enough to ride out the storm of angry tweets and live to fight another day.


 

And iTunes? What are you? You’re home to my music, movies, tv shows, MUSIC and Beats 1 radio so you must be an entertainment centre. Your name suggests otherwise.

 


 

To put an analogy to it when my beloved Newcastle United were forced to change the name of our stadium from St James’ Park to The SportsDirect Arena there was uproar, and rightly so. You can’t wipe out 125 years of history on the whim of some scrupulous owner! But it happened (and subsequently changed back) and I’d argue that the next generation of fans would be calling it The SportsDirect Arena but the older fans would cling on to that iconic name until the day we die. This rationale also works for Marathon/Snickers, Opal Fruits/Starburst, BT Cellnet/O2 and so on and so on. At the end of the day people will call it whatever the fuck they want and guess what? Life goes on.

So if we drop the i, what do we call it? Simple, the Phone. Just like the Watch, TV, Music etc. You might as well restart the numbering for this version while we’re at it. So instead of iPhoneX it simply becomes Phone. Apple’s logo is the perfect symbol in what it represents. It is steeped in the company’s values and depending the side of the fence you are on invokes a certain passionate response. By using their logo Apple would reinforce ownership of the product and start to bring a little bit more consistency to their product line.

In addition to the  I would use San Francisco, Apple’s brand font that was created in-house, across all the products. San Francisco Bold and Light would be used to differentiate between product and model numbers/names.

A quick search through their site shows that there is no consistency in capitalisation on their product range. By making everything Title Case you begin to personify the friendly tone of voice that Apple uses and make sure that it’s not SHOUTY like WATCH or MUSIC.

This blog is purely based on the iPhone/Phone naming and I’m only scratching the surface visually. If we were to do this properly there would no doubt be months of research and focus groups, £££ and so much fucking red tape from numerous stakeholders that it’s not worth the hassle. I would bet my granny that people have sat round in Park and debated bringing their branded house in line. But they got 30 minutes deep into the debate realised what a shit show it is, gave up, microdosed on LSD  or had a blood transfusion.

Actually, while I’m in rant mode, Apple need to define what a ‘pod’ is. There are 3 products with pod in their name and they couldn’t be any different in aesthetics or function. The HomePod, AirPod and iPodTouch. A valid point raised in our studio was that a pod could be something plays music or makes sound? I’d imagine there was some kind of battle between the product teams (see Anchorman) in the middle of Park for the right to use pod but no one won. Sir Jony then awarded everyone with their participation medal and now pod means fuck all.

You know what? The model names for each product aren’t great. You’ve got Air, Mini, Pro, 8Plus, X, Series3 to name a few. Why not put some consistency across these too? How about three models for very product that has the need for it? PhoneAir, Phone, PhonePro – thats it.

And iTunes? What are you? You’re home to my music, movies, tv shows, MUSIC and Beats 1 radio so you must be an entertainment centre. Your name suggests otherwise.

A complete rebrand across their product range is needed (iMac, iPad, iOS, iPodTouch, iTunes I’m looking at you). But why stop there? Let’s rebrand Everything. 🙃

But I’m going off topic… The point of this blog is to highlight the OBVIOUS missed opportunity Apple had to rebrand their most popular product and set the wheels in motion to get their (branded) house in order. My opinions warrant a much more in depth conversation, possibly with Sir Jony and the Heirarchy. You know where we are!

Previous blog post