Apple: A Second Generation Brand
Now that the other shoe has dropped and Steve Jobs is gone, we can expect the predictable onslaught of media rehash and overhype regarding Apple, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook and the future of the world as we know it. I can't tell you how many times I've been asked about "Apple without Steve Jobs."
First, before anyone gets too hard on Apple's management heirs, let me begin by reaffirming my position that Apple's brand jumped the shark way before Steve Jobs' demise. In fact, in 2010's Apple Jumps The Shark, I pointed out exactly why the bloom was off Apple's rose. The seeds for Apple's descent were sown into Apple's long range plans.
Simply put, the more people embracing the brand, the less cool it becomes. And if all you've got is cool, that means you're on the clock -- it's only a matter of time until you're no longer cool.
Second, with the passing of Steve Jobs, Apple now becomes a Second Generation brand, with a Caretaker Manager at its helm. As I've written here previously, brands often follow the same trajectory of the Three Generations of Wealth: The first generation (its founder) creates it; the second generation (his heirs) spends it; the third generation (his disconnected drone grandchildren) loses it. As pointed out in Apple Jumps The Shark, the brand had already lost its vision somewhere around the time when Jobs had begun transferring authority to Tim Cook, his heir to the throne.
Far from its original rebellious roots, the brand has become fortressed, secretive and severe to the point of bullying its competitors - along with its users - in the marketplace.
And then there's Tim Cook. Poor Tim Cook.
Yes, Apple will survive. No, it will not be the same brand.
Steve is gone. Get over it.