A friend of mine, Frank, recently visited the Apple's headuarters at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, California. I asked him to share his experience of the brand just from visiting the lobby, here is what he wrote back:
"The purpose of my visit was to research the elements Steve Jobs used to carefully craft the Apple brand, and even the lobby itself was a masterclass in branding.
No company in history has ever created a brand and raised it to cult status in such a short period of time. I wanted to experience all the detail that went into creating perhaps the most effective branding the world has ever known.
Apple lobby at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, California
"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently...
The famous poem written for Apple's rebranding campaign after Steve's return to the company hung on the lobby wall in plain black and white block print.
The lobby itself is a vast three story glass enclosed atrium with relaxing conversation nooks scattered throughout that made the vast space seem relaxing, almost cozy.
Spot of Apple's Think Different campaign - Here's to the Crazy Ones (1997)
...They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things...
Gandhi, Maria Callas, Albert Einstein and Martin Luther King, Jr.
What is the secret behind Apple's ethos?
Standing there in that atrium reading those lines, I was being captured by the Apple ethos.
Hanging in the middle of the atrium above my head was a two-story tall artist's rendering of the latest iPad, while employees and other visitors sat below on ample leather couches engaging in animated conversation that was somehow muted by the atrium acoustics.
I was not being sold an iPhone or any other of Apple's products. I was experiencing a mysterious connection to the world of Apple. Somehow, the combination of the poem I was reading, the soothing effect of the atrium, and the subdued energy of the people around me was moving me.
I wasn't thinking about electronic gadgets or product innovation, but rather felt like I was part of some profound collective endeavor.
...They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward. Maybe they have to be crazy. How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Amelia Earhart, Picasso, Richard Brandson and John Lennon with Yoko Ono
Or sit in silence and hear a song that's never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels? We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do... THINK DIFFERENT."
A 360 Degrees Brand Experience
Like my experience when visiting Apple stores, a young woman in casual dress came out from behind the reception desk and greeted me.
'It's really something, isn't it?" she said with a big smile while glancing around the atrium. "I've been working here for three years, and I still get excited when I get here in the morning. How can I help you?'
I felt welcome and somehow involved. I knew who Apple was and what it stood for. Every detail of the lobby expressed Apple's mission and explained why I believed their products were the best."
Attention to details
I agree with my friend whole-heartily:
Branding extends to every aspect of your business; your personnel, how you answer your phones, what your sales people wear, your e-mail signature...everything.
I was told that many years ago Steve Jobs got involved into using iMac's to check in visitors at the front desk because he wanted to give a great first impression.
Like Steve Jobs, start with your lobby and build your brand with attention to every detail.