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Better Brands: How the Apple Store completed the brand experience

Apple's New iPhone 4s Goes On Sale

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Apple Store customers look at the new Apple iPhone 4Gs on October 14, 2011 in San Francisco.

Sasha Strauss of Innovation Protocol will be joining me at the first DeBord Report live at the Crawford Family Forum, this Wednesday, March 21, from 7 -8:30 p.m. (RSVPs are being accepted right now!) In preparation, I'm running a micro-series of posts about branding, Sasha's speciality, all this week. 

In honor of Apple's announcement that it will pay a dividend to investors for the first time since 1995, and also buy back $10 billion in stock, the Apple Store and its role in the Apple brand is my subject. What was it that made the Apple Store different — and what is it that's enabled the retail outlets to generate such loyalty,  go along with booming sales and foot-traffic for Apple? 

Simple genius, that's what. The Genius Bar, in fact, the Apple Store's in-house tech-support resource. Hard to think of an Apple Store without the Genius Bar now. But that wasn't always the case, as David Aaker pointed out earlier this year at Harvard Businss Review blogs:

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