Innovation is Recession-Proof (And Why Likability is Important, Too)

In case you didn’t know, Apple’s kind of a big deal. Over it’s last quarter, Apple’s sales skyrocketed. Selling 37 million iPhones and 15 million iPads, Apple is selling hundreds of thousands of phones and tablets every day, and is far from slowing down.

It was the second-most profitable quarter of any company ever in US history. Second only to ExxonMobile in 2008, when oil prices were through the roof (I remember that summer-of-not-driving vividly).

Ladies and gentlemen, there’s a lesson to be learned from Apple’s ridiculous success:

Innovation is recession-proof.

Even in one of the worst economic environments we’ve ever been in, Apple is going gang-busters and is showing no signs of stopping. Why? Well, there’s a few reasons:

(1) Outstanding Products

If you’re an iPhone or Macbook user, can you honestly imagine going back to a Dell or heck, your old Razr flip phone? Of course not. And this is coming from someone who used to swear against the iPhone. Apple products are simply better, more intuitive, and not to mention, sexier.

The foundation of any successful business is a great product or service. Apple has this one in the bag. Anything and everything they release is swooned over by the masses. I mean, honestly, we haven’t waited in line like we do for the latest iPhone since the days of Beanie Babies, Tamagotchis, and Tickle-Me-Elmos.

(2) Likability

Apple has a mystique that cannot be denied. Admit it, you feel cooler when your taking pictures of sunsets with your iPhone and posting them to Instagram. We love bringing our Macbooks to the local coffee shop to work on a project while sipping a latte. Apple has become a part of our generation’s culture. It’s bigger than a product. It’s an experience and an idea.

A recent article on 37Signals  says it best:

“…Macs were (and are) just better. Not just because they were better built or put together, but because Apple was a better company. A braver company. A company that stood for higher ideals. When compared to the empire of Microsoft and the Dells, Sonys of the time, it simply felt like they were more right…”

The mark of any truly successful brand? It’s ability to create an experience and an emotion that’s bigger than itself. Apple knocks this out of the park.

(3) Innovation

Apple has proven the value in innovation, time and time again. They’re not ahead of the curve, they’re setting the curve. The Nooks, Kindles, and PCs of the word are doing everything they can to keep up, but keeping up is about all they can do.

Above all, Apple is driven by one principle that defines their business model: Superior products through superior design. It’s an ideal that can be seen in everything they do. From the design of their products to the design of their stores. The sleek, subtle features you notice when browsing on a Mac, to the customer service interaction with the blue-shirt-wearing hipsters holding credit-card scanners.

We’re fascinated by “new”. We live in a world that demands something different, something unique, something fresh, and something innovative. Now. Right now. Apple delivers, above and beyond our expectations, and delivers with authority.

There’s a very simple lesson to be learned from Apple’s continued path toward world domination (that is, if Facebook doesn’t beat them there):

Don’t worry about someone else stealing your idea. Don’t focus on the competition. Focus on your own business and how you can offer the absolute best product. Experiment. Try. Fail. Learn. Grow. Evolve. Don’t get comfortable. Be daring. Take risks. Create. Execute. Innovate.

Or, as David of 37 Signals so aptly puts, “Make the best damn product out there, charge a profitable price, and win the world.”