The iPhone effect

As published in MarketingTribune on October 16, 2017. About a decade ago, Steve Jobs introduced his pioneering innovation, the recent iPhone X launch being the provisional climax. In these 10 years, no fewer than 1.2 billion iPhones have been sold and Apple has become the most valuable brand in the world (Forbes World’s Best Brands 2017), with an estimated market value of 170 billion dollars. But the iPhone effect reaches much further. The arrival of the iPhone has changed consumer expectations for ever and laid the basis for what brand success would be like in the future.

Swiss army knife

Remember Steve Job’s mythical words at the iPhone launch? “An iPod, a phone and an Internet communicator. An iPod, a phone… are you getting it? These are not three separate devices, this is one device, and we are calling it iPhone.” By integrating different technology components in one single device and providing more than 2.2 available applications in the current-day App Store, your iPhone is now a jack-of-all-trades: calculator, photo or video camera, torch, musical instrument, compass, you name it. In the future, brands will need to embrace more of this kind of and-thinking rather than or-thinking. WeChat or Amazon are typical examples of this one-stop-shop principle. They lay down the new convenience norms by bundling assets for clients in one single place, just like a Swiss army knife.


The iPhone has evolved from a gadget to an extension of oneself, fitting in with house keys, glasses or wallet. We have adopted the routine of picking up our smartphone about 150 times a day, on average, at the most diverse moments and in the most diverse locations. Even if, as a brand, reaching a similar level of addiction is unthinkable, brands will need to think more consciously about how they can really be of importance within the consumers’ routines, frictions and aspirations. The Oreo ‘Twist, Lick, Dunk’ campaigns are a good example. Consumers love first eating the middle part of the biscuit and only then move on to the outsides. This consumer ritual is the starting point for the advertising developed by the brand, and this very advertising in its turn totally reinforces the existing ritual.


Just like a new iOS release for iPhone, future products and services can renew and adapt themselves in accordance with user and/or context. In 2014, car manufacturer GM recalled more than 30 million cars because of construction errors, which entailed a stock-market decrease of no less than 3 billion dollars. When some of the Tesla models caught fire in the early years, a simple update of the Tesla software was sufficient to solve the problem without having to recall as much as one car. Just ask yourself how your brand can build a similar type of adaptation power in order to develop more relevance for your target group and also to increase your effectiveness.
The iPhone is one of the most talked-about innovations ever. To what extent does your brand lift on the iPhone effect: does it bundle assets for customers, is it part of daily customer routines and does it adapt itself dynamically?

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