June 30, 2007
iPhone Brand Name An Instant Legend
The iPhone is here.
No matter if you love the name it or hate it — or love the phone or think it’s terrible — there are now only two mobile phones in American history that consumers ask for by product name: The Motorola Razr and the Apple iPhone.
I think that is a milestone.
There is room to argue that the iPhone name is inaccurate (and admittedly this gadget is a convergence multimedia entertainment and organizational device), but I consider the iPhone a great brand name.
Why? It leverages the iEquity of 100,000,000 iPods that are already in the hands of consumers.
And we still call that thing you pick up and call another person with a “phone” even though they can do a million other things, just like we call these things sitting on our desks computers, despite the fact that they are converging in to media and communication devices.
Let’s face it, the iPod name is doing just fine and we never used “pods” for anything related to music until Apple came along. Now it’s hard to disassociate the name from the word “MP3 player” or even “music player.” And chances are, no matter what Apple called this device, we’d be referring to it as an “iPhone.”
This is a luxury buy, the ultimate phone for the person with some extra cash and a love of gadgetry.
Last week, the New York Times quoted Nokia President Bill Plummer in an article that is cautiously optimistic about a product that is possibly too expensive and fragile for the average buyer, who says the iPhone is the “evolution of the status quo.”
The big question is still whether or not the well named iPhone, coupled with the super powerful Apple corporate name, will find the hoary AT&T name that provides the wireless service a liability.
It is far too early to tell but my feeling now is that the iPhone brand name is so strong that pretty much any carrier would do.
Yes, I will be watching very carefully from the sidelines to see how these two mega brand names with utterly different corporate cultures and marketing skills work together.
But here’s a hint: So far, Apple’s association with the Intel brand name has been pretty darn lucrative. If we’re willing to buy iMacs with Intel inside, I’m sure we can learn to love iPhones with AT&T inside.
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