Creating new value for health brand customers: 10 lessons from Apple

Can you be the Apple of (fill-in your health segment here)?

There’s good learning here for marketers to take away from Fast Company’s July cover story – Invincible Apple: 10 Lessons From the Coolest Company Anywhere.

After speaking with former employees, current partners, and others who have watched Apple for many years, the article’s author states the answers to Apple’s phenomenal success center around discipline, focus, long-term thinking, and a willingness to flout the rules that govern everybody else’s business.

Here’s Fast Company’s excerpted report on the Apple playbook:

1. Go Into Your Cave: translated as set your own agenda.
2. It’s Okay To Be King: Jobs and his team know exactly what they want, so everyone knows what the plan is. And from the likes of it, it’s working.
3. Transcend Orthodoxy: Despite all the noise about Apple’s closed ideology, the company adopts positions based on two simple conditions – whether they make for good products and good business.
4. Just Say No: Jobs’s primary role at Apple is to turn things down. Every day, he’s presented with ideas for new products and new features within existing ones. The default answer is no. “I’m as proud of the products that we have not done as the ones we have done,” Jobs told an interviewer in 2004.
5. Serve Your Customer: When Apple devised its retail strategy a decade ago, the company had a single overriding goal: to launch stores (and associated service) that were unlike anything that customers associated with the computer industry.
6. Everything Is Marketing: Apple’s most effective marketing is built into its products, i.e. iPod’s white earbuds, the Mac’s startup sound, the shape of the MacBook’s back panel. Apple understands the lasting power of sensory cues, and it goes out of its way to infuse everything it makes with memorable ideas that scream its brand.
7. Kill The Past: No other company reimagines the fundamental parts of its business as frequently, and with as much gusto, as Apple does.
8. Turn Feedback Into Inspiration: Apple believes that people can’t really envision what they want. So he uses customer ideas as inspiration, not direction; as a means, not an end.
9. Don’t Invent, Reinvent: To use a musical analogy, Apple’s specialty is the remix. It curates the best ideas bubbling up around the tech world and makes them its own. It’s also a great fixer, improving on everything that’s wrong with other similar products on the shelves.
10. Play By Your Own Clock: Jobs knows he’ll never be fired, so he can devote years, if that’s what it takes, to attain Apple’s high standards. Of all the points covered here (according to this author), Apple’s willingness to go long is perhaps its greatest strength.

After reading this article, I begin to think about innovative, game-changing health organizations like Mayo Clinic, PatientsLikeMe, Sermo, Walgreens (Take Care Clinics), Intuitive Surgical (da Vinci robotic system), 23andme

What others would you add to this list?


Eric Brody

Eric Brody is President of Trajectory, launched in 1999, the specialist health & wellness branding and marketing agency using every moment to move customers, brands and businesses upward. Prior to Trajectory, Eric served as EVP and Management Board member at Interbrand (the world’s most influential brand consultancy). Before Interbrand, he held senior marketing positions at Beiersdorf Inc. and L’Oreal and advertising account management positions at Marschalk and Benton & Bowles.He has also taught as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall’s Graduate School of Communications and has lectured at Wharton Business School and Emory Goizueta School of Business.