Is there any wonder that Apple seems to often be the first example people give when drawing comparisons between competitors or illustrating an example of how to do “it” right? Setting aside The New York Times’ current campaign to identify and expose all possible weaknesses in Apple’s business practices—regardless of legality or custom— Apple has become the gold standard for comparative case studies in business operations, design, merchandising and customer service, satisfaction, passion and advocacy.
Why so? My simple answer is elegance.
Apple demonstrates consistent mastery at reading the world, seeing what’s there, what’s missing and imagining what’s possible; designing, manufacturing, marketing, positioning and supporting products and services that are, above all else, elegant.
How do I know if something meets the standard for elegance? It is tastefully done, has simplicity and grace, refinement of form and utility. It is superior in quality and user interface, and evokes positive emotional resonance. There is something essential about it—layer after layer have been removed until all that is left is that which is essential.
At the end of the day, the path of elegance is one that virtually any competitor, from global enterprises to individual contributors, can leverage for success. Within the noise and complexity of the 21st Century marketplace, elegance is a definitive differentiator.
Elegance does not come easy. To arrive at elegance, one must invest the time, practice and creativity to understand and become skillful at reducing complexity to essence. One must have the patience and perseverance to transform the mundane into art—routinely exceeding expectations in the service of an unwavering commitment to excellence.
To consistently produce elegance is to overtly communicate your dedication to the highest standards of care in the design, making and delivery of the products and services you offer. To engage with elegance is to know that those who created it care.
To encounter elegance is to come face to face with surprise, delight and joy. Are there any more desirable brand promises?