Will Apple’s social and environmental responsibilities define their brand and future success?
A hallmark of Apple’s success has been the feeling it creates when you purchase their products. An amazing amount of detail has gone into defining the experience so from the moment you open the box you are emotionally connected to the product. According to the company’s 2014 Supplier Responsibility Report they are now producing their products without having to use any conflict minerals such as Tantalum and a 95% compliance rate to a 65 hour work week.
So empowered with this information for the first time you can really feel good about purchasing an Apple product. But do you really care?
In reality no your don’t, most people when purchasing a device such as a Smartphone do not really care for much apart for the functions, features and price. If you asked a number of consumers if they even knew anything about the conflict mineral Tantalum and whether it was used in manufacturing of the device they are holding my guess is that most of them would have no idea. (If you want to know more this should help you).
They would have heard about the excessive demands on human labour to get the product that they are holding into their hands, but in reality they may be thinking that they too had to work hard in the drive through section of the local McDonald’s to get the money to afford the device they have just purchased. So this alone will more than likely not stop them purchasing the device.
In reality it is time we started to care more about the social and environmental responsibilities of the companies producing the devices that dominate our lives. As a result I believe it is only time before this becomes a factor that is as important in the consideration of a new device as function, features and price.
If so you would have to think that the work that Apple has been doing in ensuring that their products are made without the use of conflict minerals and in empowering all their workers with a view to improve their lives will become a competitive advantage that will be the hallmark of the company future success.
Even if the competitors follow you would think that none of them will be able to complete with Apple when it comes to creating an emotional connecting between their products and the manufacturing process. Who knows, with a little of Apple’s marketing magic it could become embarrassing to be seen holding any other Smartphone other than an iPhone.
Not to mention the fact that Apple already has a big head start compared to their major competitors who seem to be doing nothing at all.