More than a logo- Steven Falk

By iSportconnect | September 27, 2012

Apple is officially the world’s coolest brand. It sells the most desirable products; continually updates its core offer; operates an uncompromising design philosophy; embraces the mass-market with premium pricing; and wraps itself in an outstanding retail/service proposition that invariably delivers on its promises.

Each new product launch delivers a new chapter in the brand mythology and follows the familiar pattern of frenzied media speculation culminating in secretive invitations to “an exclusive event” at which the new technology is wondrously revealed. The media always keen for an exposée seizes upon any hint of dissonance between the new technology and initial customer reaction. Invariably this is soon overwhelmed by queues of eager early adopters wishing to acquire the latest iteration of “cool”.

So what can sports brands learn from Apple?

1. Every organisation needs a vision. Apple’s is to “Think Differently”. Its mission is to define the future of mobile media and computing devices. This is how all stakeholders including the owners, management, staff, talent, fans, customers, partners and suppliers can understand the corporate objective

2. The vision is supported by strong brand values. These are the rules governing the behaviour of both the individuals comprising the organisation and the corporate entity as a whole. The key point here is only to promise what in fact can be delivered. Many sports businesses fail at this point

3. Avoid selecting ‘motherhood and apple pie values’. Every organisation should aspire to excellence, integrity, leadership, pride, unity etc. It goes without saying. Choose values that not only reflect the nature of your organisation, but ones you can live up to and deliver against under any circumstance

4. Your chosen values and behaviours determine the personality and essence of your brand reflecting its culture, history and traditions. This is articulated to your fans and customers through development of clear brand guidelines and application of marketing content consistent with brand values

5. Dissonance can kill a brand. Delivering on the brand promise means that an organisation should never engage in activity that may create conflict between the vision, values and day-to-day operations. This may mean making painful choices to build real brand equity

6. Brand development is an on-going process. It should be reviewed and revised regularly to ensure that vision, mission, values and behaviours are consistent and reflective of the brand’s essence and personality

Can Apple continue to fight off its competitors in the promiscuous world of hi-tec consumer products? That depends on the success of its next major innovation.

Can a sports brand emulate Apple’s essence of “cool”? Just ask Nike.


About Steven Falk:

A graduate in Psychology from Manchester University, Steven started his career in the motor industry before taking an MBA at Warwick University Business School. There followed commercial roles at Astra Zeneca, United Utilities, Great Universal Stores and MBNA Bank where he worked on a range of assignments in the UK, Eastern & Western Europe, North America and Asia.

From 2001 to 2009, Steven was Marketing Director at Manchester United Football Club. Steven served as a member of the Executive Committee of Manchester United and a board director of Manchester United Foundation, the club’s charitable trading arm. In January 2010, he launched Star Sports Marketing, a specialist sports marketing consultancy.

For a confidential conversation on how Star Sports Marketing can help you to devise and implement an effective brand strategy. Visit or email

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