People are still talking about the new Apple Pencil, and not just because of the product name. Steve Jobs was adamant that none of the Apple products released would ever need a stylus, and yet…here it is. This, of course, is the stylus to end all styluses, which is the only way Apple could get away with flying in the face of their late CEO’s wishes. Still, the tongues of the world wag away, all amused and perhaps irritated that Apple’s “never” turned into “now.”

This is what happens when you say “never.” Sure, there are some things you can be relatively certain your brand will never stand for. Still, saying “never” puts a lot of pressure on your brand standards, your products, and your employees. Why? Let’s take a look.

Shift in Buyer Personas

The consumers who seek out products and services like yours right now may not be the same people you engage with two years from now. As your company grows, your products become more sophisticated, and your ability to solve various pain points improves, your brand will grow and adapt.

Expansion of Branding Message

Over time, your brand vision and mission will also change and grow. Your determination to reach a particular niche now will expand as new products and services emerge. With each new niche you reach, your brand vision must accommodate the new buyers.

Improvements in Technology

It doesn’t matter if you’re a technology company; improvements in technology will change the way you do business. Whether you become more accessible to your buyers or you upgrade your entire product line, changes will always occur.

Think back to Apple’s buyers when the bold and colorful iMac arrived to save the company. The products were created with creative in mind, with the additional purpose of impressing the tech-savvy with all the bells and whistles. Now, Apple makes products that everyone can (and wants to) use. The expansion of their branding message came with the introduction of new technology, which reached a wider selection of buyers.

Why Steve Jobs Shouldn’t Have Said Never

All of these things add up to a very real situation faced by Apple with their Pencil. Maybe Steve Jobs didn’t want a stylus used with the products of the past, but he couldn’t have foreseen the technology of the future, no matter how clairvoyant the man always seemed to be. Remember when he also said Windows users wouldn’t be allowed to sync iPods with their PCs? With every reverse decision, the audience laughs and bloggers deride the company, and yet Apple still keeps saying “never.”

Perhaps the tech giant is large enough to weather the storms that follow their backpedaling, but are you? Is your brand familiar and well loved enough to move past mocking laughter? Even if you think there’s no chance your “never” will turn into a “maybe,” you may still want to bite your tongue. No one knows what the future may bring.

Facing a branding conundrum in your business? We’re experts and building brand strategies and nailing down brand voice. We also think it’s important to revisit your brand standards at least once per year to make sure you’re still reaching the right audience. Give us a call.

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