The recent introduction of the iPhone 6 is just the latest in a series of successful product introductions by technology giant Apple.  From their iconic iPod to the revolutionary introduction of the iPhone, Apple has dominated the consumer electronics segment for much of the last decade.  Apple’s success is due to more than great products, though, the company’s culture and marketing strategy are integral to their success.  Below are four lessons we can take from Apple and apply to our businesses:

Integration.  Apple has products in a variety of different markets, but all of their products tie together. You can shop for new music on your Apple computer, download it onto your Apple iTunes application, then use it on your iPhone or iPod. You can then read up on the music on your iPad and even watch the band or music video live on your Apple TV. None of these products are identical to the others nor are they even in the same exact market as each other. But Apple has created a brand that allows you to travel through a variety of different markets while using their products. What additional services can your firm provide to your clients to make their lives easier?

Customer oriented.  Apple’s focus is on providing value to their customers. This is obvious from their commercials… have you ever seen an Apple commercial, for any product, listing product specs or focusing on the product attributes?  Invariably, Apple commercials focus on how their products will make the consumer’s life better.  At the end of the day, that’s why customers make a purchase, because they believe whatever they are buying will add value to their life in some way.

Market creation. Apple was able to use their marketing to help them not only fill a need, but to create one as well. Ten years ago no one knew what an IPod was… they were still using CD players (remember those??) Then, Apple came in and marketed a new idea to the people that would love it most (young people and teenagers, primarily). They not only became the standard for the market, they were the market. If you can correctly market what you do to the right people, it doesn’t matter if people have never heard of your product or service!

Company Culture.  From their top management on down, Apple is a company with a mission.  Their goal isn’t profitability, their goal is to change the lives of their customers for the better.  This mission is reflected in everything they do—product design, marketing, right down to the training of their employees in the Apple Stores.  Apple is a prime example of the power of company culture.  What do you believe in?  What does your company stand for?

Apple makes great products, but that is not what they are about, and that is not why they are successful.  They’re successful because they’ve built their company around a critical concept, adding value to the lives of their customers. What can you be doing to bring these values into your business?