Apple Inc. versus Ronseal. That’s quite an odd contest we hear you say. Yes, it seems strange for us to be comparing two completely different brands at total opposite ends of the retail world. One is a global superpower and manufacturer of sleek, modern and expensive electrical devices; the other a provider of wood care products and DIY materials. One is quite clearly a lot more successful and profitable than the other with more global recognition than Ronseal could ever dream of.

Apple vs Ronseal - Branding vs Performance

Ronseal is a UK based company with products primarily being sold on home turf; nevertheless their catchy slogan and marketing angle, ‘does exactly as it says on the tin,’ is famous beyond UK shores. It is this slogan that has provided the influence for our comparison between Apple and Ronseal, or more importantly, branding and performance.

For all of the Apple lovers out there (the nutters that have queued up outside various Apple stores for 7 days waiting for the next upgrade) this article probably won’t please you. In this article we aim to prove that branding exercises and marketing strategies lack their full effect if your product does not perform as it should and that concentrating too much on branding efforts can cause functionality to suffer.

Exactly What it Says on the Tin

Ronseal’s marketing approach and brand slogan is quite simply genius. Utter perfection in marketing terms, literally, it’s the kind of thing that makes us digital marketing geeks drool. It couldn’t be simpler. They give you exactly what is written on the tin and the product does exactly what it should do. Not a lot of products out there ring this sort of truth. For example, how many of us have bought something from a late night shopping channel with their glamorous presentations, only to be disappointed with the product on arrival?

Fair enough, Ronseal isn’t quite the same. You would expect nothing less than wood preserver in a tin that was labelled ‘wood preserver.’ It’s not like it’s going to be filled with custard. But that’s not the point. Their whole marketing campaign and every one of their television advertisements is based around this no nonsense attitude and ‘we give you what you want’ approach. So when you are in the need of some decking care products, you know that Ronseal have it and it does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s so simple and so good that it’s been their slogan for as long as we can remember.

Apple iPhone 5 to iPhone 6

On the other hand there is Apple with countless different advertisements, marketing campaigns and clever little mottos. Obviously, this global phenomenon is on a much larger scale than Ronseal and therefore merits having more media attention and hefty marketing strategies. They need it to survive in a cut-throat industry and must continue to improve through risk of falling behind the competition.

However, we beg the question, is Apple now concentrating too much on its self-promotion and not enough on its products? When we say products, in this example we mainly refer to the iPhone 6. In fact, let’s concentrate on the iPhone 5 as well for arguments sake. First of all, Apple has excluded a number of customers by joining the phablet craze and releasing an upgrade that is too big for those who like a more comfortable phone in their pocket. The jump in size from 5 to 6 was too big for many people and a totally unexpected development. Not to mention the thing bends like a Curly Wurly. This has been one of the main reasons why many individuals have emigrated away from Apple and are now using other models. Nevertheless, this is a design issue and is of course down to personal preference.

Not Exactly What it Says on the Box

What isn’t down to personal preference is what Apple promises you with their product. For example, how many of you actually speak to Siri? When you do, how often does he understand you crystal clearly? How often can you speak to Siri without you having to elongate your words and pronounce them in a way that makes you look like a walrus? A slight regional accent is enough to make Siri almost completely disregard you as even being English.

Apple is advertising new elements introduced with the iPhone 6 when they still quite clearly haven’t mastered some of the features of the iPhone5. We’re not suggesting the features do not work entirely; they just haven’t been mastered and perfected before moving on to the next development. All of Apple’s glamorous television campaigns highlight funky features that seem to help you through life. Features such as fitness aids, musical instruments and sporting guides all seem smooth, operational and desirable on telly. But how many of them do what the advert shows?

For instance, we’ve been told we can FaceTime anyone with an Apple device practically anywhere in the world. On the seaside, by a river, in the woods, in an airport – literally anywhere! Is this advert completely true though? Have you tried to FaceTime someone outside with a 3G connection? It’s not 100% reliable, it does not always connect and certainly does not always do what it says on the tin.

Have a look at this iPhone 5 advert and watch from about 48-50 seconds in.

This should be the part where the little lad kicks a ball with a free kick and his coach seems to be filming his effort on an iPhone. The clip suggests that the coach is able to replay the kid’s effort back to him on a virtual football pitch displayed perfectly on the iPhone. Now come on. Honestly? If what this clip suggests is true, do you expect this to work perfectly every single time? With a fine degree of accuracy? If so, why aren’t football teams across the world using this technology?

We’re not suggesting that because it may not do this every single time that it is therefore a bad phone. Not at all. The issue is that Apple has advertised their product in this way and is therefore selling a product that does not do what it says it should. The panorama photograph feature introduced with the iPhone 5 is another element that doesn’t work as easily as the advert suggests.

Unless you have the steady hand of an experienced brain surgeon, most of your panoramic photographs will produce alien like figures and distorted skylines. Quite simply, the iPhone does not always do what it says on the box. It clearly doesn’t.

Already Falling Behind the Competition

Whilst Apple are taking over the world and advocating innovation in many areas of electrical technology, they fall behind in various other developments which many now consider fundamental. For example, no Apple device is waterproof or dust proof; meaning the iPhone 6 lags behind other models in that respect like the Sony Xperia Z3. The camera on the iPhone is also considerably worse than many other different brands and models and their chargers are known for breaking easily.

This charger issue has been a common problem ever since the release of the iPhone 5 but yet Apple has stuck with it. Why? Perhaps because it ensures you have to take another trip to one of Apple’s incredibly futuristic and gleamingly white stores for a replacement; where your senses will be inundated with yet more branding efforts and technological brainwash.

Steve Jobs

The late Steve Jobs was and still is regarded as a technological Guru. Gates’ nemesis and fashionable foe, Steve was a breath of fresh air to the industry. His presentations were flawless, with the power to stir real emotion and excitement in consumers across the globe. His ideas and innovations will go down in history as being ground breaking and revolutionary. Mr Jobs was a huge advocate for technology and placed as much thought into functionality, performance and product appeal as he did in advertising campaigns.

It’s been over three years since Steve Jobs passed away and since then Apple has trudged on trying to cling on and keep hold of the success managed and instigated by the man himself. Unfortunately though, many news stories online and in print have suggested that the rate of success and profitability has stagnated ever so slightly since Jobs left the company in 2011. If you look at the iPhone 5 and 6, there is not a huge step taken from the iPhone 4 in terms of development and improved features. With the iPhone 6, perhaps the most mentionable new element is the security lock; but even that isn’t that impressive.


Without its revolutionary leader, is Apple starting to suffer? Are they truly falling behind? Let’s face it; if there isn’t a considerable technological leap with the iPhone 7 then we may start to see a dying species in the electronic world. It seems as though Apple are now focusing so much on their cool image as a way to maintain customers and cover up their failings. Either that or they are concentrating so much on marketing campaigns and image that they are neglecting the product itself.

It is a dangerous game telling people how great your product is without taking the time to shut up and prove it. If your product does not do exactly what is says on the tin, then you are lying to your customers and selling them short. In the interest of technological developments and electronic innovations, let’s hope Apple realise this notion.

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