MacBook Pro: The Marketing of a Color
Apple Colors as Brand and Marketing Tools
Apple launched a new laptop in November 2023. The basic design stayed the same, but they updated it with a new processor, the M3, making the computer more powerful. They also introduced a new color, a dark gray, close to black, exclusive to some models targeting professionals.
The Marketing Implications of a New Color
Why is a new color relevant as a marketing strategy?
It's a custom alloy of 100% recycled aluminum. Apple gives it a marketing name: Space Black, like a mini-brand under the MacBook umbrella.
The color distinguishes this 2023 update from previous versions. More importantly, Apple allows the user to communicate that he is a professional. Some buyers may not need specific technical specifications, but they will buy that model because they identify with that group. And that is entirely legitimate.
A color communicates, and Apple does this in an elegant, simple way. It's a discreet dark gray, and I think it's beautiful. Only a few will understand what that color means: other professionals or aspiring ones. That's part of its power. It's like an internal code in a small group of consumers. It reminds me of one of those technical words that some professionals use to communicate with each other. Another parallelism is the made-up neologisms that teens create, words only used inside the group. Parents and other outsiders will not get it.
I Love It, and I Will Not Buy It
I will choose the other color option, silver, for different reasons:
- When most people in my segment will buy the black, having the "other one" is the new thing. I want to be out of the herd. Perhaps I'm a contrarian.
- I do not always want to communicate the code that Apple has written. I use the computer in keynotes with large audiences and small groups. Sometimes, it could give the wrong message. Most people will not notice it, but "the space black" could seem pretentious for some. On other occasions, it could be distracting. I want people to focus on the content I want to communicate without the preconceived baggage that color carries.
- There is also a simple technical reason. It has a special coating to prevent fingerprints, but even with that, the black one will be more challenging to maintain clean than the regular aluminum color.
- I do not know how this black will resist the past of time. First, from a purely physical way, no one knows how that protection coat will be in a few months or years and how it could affect the device's value in a possible future second market.
- More importantly, we are still unsure what this color will "mean" in the future. Will Apple use that color in other computers of the same range? How exactly? It may be something exclusive to this 2023 model. In that case, what now communicates "the last technology for professionals" in just a year or more could mean "that old tech from yesterday."
Small Details Build a Brand
I love this computer and this new color. Apple has done great work giving their consumers fantastic features, beautiful designs, and also valuable communication tools.
Finalment no ho he inclòs: The computer, especially the laptop, is for the programmer, like the warrior's sword—a tool with physical and emotional elements. I feel a special connection to that machine. It's something more than a bunch of features. Apple gives us that intangible.
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