If there’s one thing Apple’s success proves, it’s that the most successful products in this day and age are loaded with cultural signifiers that transcend utilitarian values.
By now, we’ve all heard the comparison: Apple is smooth, minimal, edgy, casual, creative. And Microsoft? Their once dominant competitor? Some would say corporate, functional, dry, scientific, and professional.
This is the simple point: nowadays the most successful companies develop compelling narratives. Sure, you still need to offer a good product at a good price. But economics alone won’t write your company into history. You need to tell a story. You need to stand for something, anything – a style, a mood, a posture – within the cultural zeitgeist.
David Brooks recently published a column in the New York Times that tells the story of the boutique hotel industry to illustrate this very point. Happy reading!
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