Apple re-focus on core brand by losing the “i”
"Why have Apple started dropping their 'i's' ?" asked my mate Jason last night. "iTunes has been replaced by Music and iPhoto is now just Photos." he went on. "And its the Apple Watch, not the iWatch. And Apple Pay." I didn't reply at the time, being too knackered after a couple of sets of tiring tennis. But this morning I got to thinking about his branding question.
What are Apple up to?
On reflection, I think what they are doing is smart. Here's why.
First, Apple are re-focusing on their core brand. The products and services that Jason was talking about are core products and services. The stretch from Apple brand is limited, both in terms of product/function and emotion. This suggests that the optimum branding strategy would indeed be to use a simple descriptor. Hence, its Apple Music, Apple Photos and Apple Watch. Not a big change, but rather a tweak. But one that makes the naming slightly simpler, by doing away with the "i" in each case
See another example below, this time for Bacardi, using our brand stretch matrix. You see how a simple flavoured rum uses a descriptor, with a little Spanish twist: Limon, instead of Lemon. The Breezer ready-to-drink product needs a bit more of its own personality, hence a sub-brand. And orange juice feels so big a stretch that the Bacardi brand would "break".
Apple's move to re-focus on the core brand, and do away with sub-brands, has also been recently adopted by Coca Cola, who are now promoting all four of its key drinks under a new "one brand strategy", as I posted on here.
The second reason for Apple dropping their i's to focus on the core brand could be to do with distinctiveness. The original idea of using the "i" was to make Apple's product seem more distinctive. However, over time a plethora of companies have copies the use of the "i". This makes it less distinctive and even runs the risk of confusion, with people thinking these products are in some way endorsed by Apple.
In conclusion, this tweak to Apple's naming strategy simplifies the range and puts even more focus on the core Apple brand. It will be interesting to see if this strategy is applied over time to the rest of Apple's products and services.