apple | porsche : product strategies and design practices | alexandros stasinopoulos | strategic+product design | ...................
  apple | porsche : product strategies and design practices

ap_titlos_m

at first, these two companies, a computer company and a car company, may have few, if any, similarities other than the fact that they both are highly recognizable brands and that both have numerous fans and numerous “haters”.

nevertheless by examining a little bit their history and the way they structured their product strategies someone can find striking similarities.

product portfolio strategies

both of them, in order to survive and grow, they needed in a point of their history (that for both was the mid-end ’90s) to re-invent themselves and to expand to new market segments (as both until then had a very limited product range targeting niche markets) that where completely different to the ones they were familiar with.

ap_expansion2

apple, with the introduction of ipod, moved from the computer industry to the one of entertainment /music electronics market, which is a lower budget market segment that allowed the brand to reach a much wider audience . later, the brand expanded to the markets of mobile phones (iphone) and later to the tablet market (ipad).

porsche, from the coupe 2-seat sports-car market segment expanded, first to a more affordable sport car segment with the boxster (just like apple with its ipod) and then to the very risky (for an old, well established sports bar brand) segment of suv with its cayenne model.

another interesting detail to note is that for both companies, these new products, today, they generate the majority of the annual turnover of their companies.

what is admirable for apple and porsche is that not only did they expanded through extremely successful products to new market segment but also (and to a point maybe this was more difficult to achieve) they managed to transfer their brand identity to these products and to further enhance their overall brand names.

design evolution strategies

ap_productevolution

beyond their strategy to penetrate new markets, the two companies show great similarities on their design strategy they adopt regarding the evolution of their products. both, have created iconic 1st generations of each product with distinctive design language with the successors to show little differences in their design. it is mainly the technology under the shell that changes in every generation and thus every successive generation should be regarded as an evolution of the previous one and not a revolution.
however, the life-cycle of an electronic product (approx. 1-2 years) is much shorter than the one of a sports car (approx. 5-6 years) and in this product category where  trends and styles change rapidly there is a question mark on whether apple should try to create a new design language (or a variety of them actually) so that its customers will not get bored or feel outdated.
on the streets i have seen porsche 911s from the late ’60s (as they considered classics) but i have never seen anyone carrying an 1st generation ipod.


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