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iPhone user Loyalty Declines!! Is the Sheen Coming off Apple’s Branding Wizardry?

There is some interesting analysis coming out of some research reports, well that is to say interesting to us, but a little bit worrying for the Cupertino, based technology giant. The one thing that Apple always claims with pride is its brand loyalty, particularly when it comes to smartphones and tablets. But it seems that the one thing that Apple could count on, no matter what, is showing signs of erosion. Whether this will be a long term trend or a temporary “ setback” cannot be said for sure, but it’s something that its competitors will be looking at with a sense of achievement.

The Report

Strategic Analytics has come out with a report that has some interesting revelations; according to this report, in the US, only 88 % of current iPhone users say that their next smartphone will be an Apple product. Although still a pretty huge figure in itself, it is a climb-down from the 93% in 2011 who said their next phone will be from Apple.

So is this the beginning of the end of the glorious spate of Apple’s success? For all those salivating at this prospect, …stop salivating. Yes, Apple’s brand image has taken a hit ( Siri, Apple Maps etc.) Yes, its competitors are coming up with great devices (SIII, HTC OneX+, Sony’s Xperia Series), Yes, Apple has to do a whole lot more, if it wants to win the ‘Battle of the Smarphones”; but here’s the thing, Apple continues to retain its existing user base, and what’s more, it keeps adding to its customer base with new customers (says the same report).

Stuff Happens

Reconsideration is a part and parcel of a customer’s psyche. There is no doubt that the recent glitches in the form of Siri (it must be said here that Apple has released Siri in its Beta version) and Apple Maps ( why oh why, did Apple have to release this, when it was full of gaping holes?); coupled with a perception that the company doesn’t want to innovate or its lack of innovation, these glitches have made even loyal customers, doubt the recent offerings of the company.

Wake up Apple

Such reports should act like a wake up call for the company and I am sure that the recent shuffle of Apple’s management, is a step prompted by these reports. Apple is definitely not unaware of its slide and is taking steps to revert  to  becoming the Top Gun.

Apple all the Way

I also have no doubts that a company like Apple will have plenty of spades up its sleeves and here’s something else that you can ponder over – if a company that many people think lacks the drive to innovate, still manages to retain its existing customers and continues to attract new ones, it must be doing something right. In fact I think, most consumers don’t like complications that the newer versions of the operating systems with all their “innovation’ bring with it. A company doesn’t achieve the level of profit making ability that Apple has achieved purely because of branding alone. The fact is that Apple knows its consumers well; so it also knows that plenty of them are unhappy. This is why I think a healing balm is on the way.

Another thing, the ‘branding’ sheen is wearing off, but lets look at the silver lining here, Apple will now be forced to do something different, that is innovate some more.

Things are just getting interesting. I can’t wait to see what happens next… I wish I had a crystal ball.

Author Bio:- Mark Spenser works with PLAVEB, a world renowned web and mobile applications development company. He loves Apple devices, as much as he likes building great apps for them. He loves sharing his views and insights through his write ups on various blogs and websites.

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