iPod Apple's MP3 Player Relates to Maslow's Term Paper

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iPod (Apple's MP3 player) relates to Maslow's hierarchy of human needs.

Abraham Maslow created his theory of a hierarchy of human needs in the late 1960's and early 1970's. The psychologist wrote that human beings are primarily motivated by unsatisfied needs. Certain lower needs must be satisfied before higher needs are satisfied. (Maslow, 1970) Advertising new products often depends upon generating a sense of need, and promising that the new product can fulfill this need.

Take for example the Apple's new MP3 player, the iPod. True, on a Maslow-like physiological level, the first level of need, one cannot eat an iPod, and a less mechanical form of 'apple' is necessary for sustenance, iPods do satisfy the consumer's immediate physical needs for lighter equipment. iPods are portable and more amenable to working out, and for musical use on crowded subway, and the crush and strain of modern urban life. The iPod website from Apple also boasts of the convenience of the technology's 18-hour battery.

In terms of the second hierarchical need for safety, downloadable music is more durable than listening to music on CDs and it is cheaper to download individual songs than purchasing many CDs. Also, the branding of this new technology stresses the ability of the user to create arrangements of personalized collections of music. This tailors the iPod to the consumer's personal "loves," the third of Maslow's needs. The popular and various colors the product is available in, visually provides the component "social esteem," that Maslow defines as the essential fourth need of his hierarchical pyramid. Also, because the iPod is a popular product, simply having one confirms that the owner and user of the iPod is a consumer connected to the 'next big thing' in music. One can even, according to the Apple Website; synchronize music and photos upon one's handheld personal music device. Lastly, "self-actualization" by creating ones' own music mix is achieved through iPod technology -- the iPod personalizes one's listening pleasure through creating a self-tailored musical experience.

Works Cited

Apple. (2005) Official Website of the iPod. Retrieved 24 Mar 2005 at http://www.apple.com/

Maslow, Abraham. (1970) Motivation and Personality. Second Edition. New York: Harper & Row. Accessed at "Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs" website. (1997) Maintained by Robert Gwynne. Retrieved 24 Mar 2005 at http://web.utk.edu/~gwynne/maslow.htm

Question 2

Explain how the iPod assists people on moving from their real self to their ideal self. How does it help people portray a positive self-image?

As early as 2000, essayist and media critic Jeffery Rosen noted, "in cyberspace, there is no real wall between public and private and the version of the consumer that is constructed "out there" in the virtual world. Rather than the real self, one can construct an ideal self from bits and pieces of stray data and as "reading and writing, health care and shopping and sex and gossip" increasingly take place in cyberspace, the consumer can create a new self through the medium of technology. The iPod maximizes this consumer empowerment, the creation of a new self through the Internet and music. (Rosen, 2000)

Downloadable music on the iPod is one way cyberspace allows music to be personalized. Rather than listening to a predetermined set of music on a CD, one can select the order and artists. The experience of listening to music becomes about the consumer rather than the artist. Usually, the move from the real to the ideal self is accomplished in advertising by stressing, however gently, that the consumer must change by adopting a new product affiliation to become an ideal. However, the iPod stresses that the consumer is already the 'ideal' in terms of his or her tastes, talents, and desires. Thus, the iPod enables the consumer to function as the ideal self, by confirming the consumer's already existing needs and wants through a personal musical play list. Rather than learning more about new artists, the consumer learns more about his or her own tastes by creating his or her own mix.

Of course, the online capability in general can be quite positive for creating such a shift in advertising. The Internet's potential to unleash experimentation with identity, suggest that the Internet can serve as a mirror, even a tool, that helps people with the search for self by validating their inner choices and life, and encouraging them to pair interesting personal associations with sound and image, rather than to seek a new self through purchasing alone. (Murray, 2000) By buying an iPod, one realizes one's true musical identity rather than buying the art of another individual. For example, with the new iPod, one can mix the sounds of childhood with today to create an expression of the self that is as seamless as a CD, creating the ideal that one's real choices are just as valid as the artist who created the song.

Works Cited

Murray, Bridget. (2000) "Monitor on the Self." Monitor on Psychology. Retrieved 24 Mar 2005 at http://www.apa.org/monitor/apr00/mirror.html

Rosen, Jeffrey, (2000) "The Eroded Self." The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 24 Mar 2005 at http://people.brandeis.edu/~teuber/rosen1.html

Question 3

Explain how Apple built brand equity for the iPod.

Brand equity is defined as the added perceived value of a brand, apart from the functionality of the product. Brand equity can take the form of monetary value, the amount of additional income expected from a branded product over and above what might be expected from an identical, but unbranded product. "For example, grocery stores frequently sell unbranded versions of name brand products." (DDS, 2004) Brand equity also confers an intangible value associated with a product that cannot be accounted for by price or features. "For example, Nike has created many intangible benefits for their athletic products by associating them with star athletes." (DDS, 2004) Also, the overall perceptions of quality and image attributed to a product, independent of its physical features create brand value. "Mercedes and BMW have established their brand names as synonymous with high-quality, luxurious automobiles." (DDS, 2004)

By launching onto a new technology, Apple created a perception of greater quality in the iPod, in terms of perceived quality, by making the Pod synonymous with downloadable music. "The Apple computers brand" overall was "actually enhanced by the introduction of the iPod MP3 Player. The iPod was "a sensationally new idea," and the iPod was not just another MP3 player. It created intangible value in terms of its branding through initial quality and newness, its sleekness of physical features that created perceived brand quality, and an intangible brand vale quality by associating the brand with youth, attractiveness, and a streamlined design. (Halve, 2004) This all resulted in additional monetary value, as image and brand conscious young consumers, the target audience of a new technological product and a musically oriented product, jumped eagerly upon the Apple bandwagon. While brand equity does vary across individuals, the iPod seized upon the right individuals, at the right time, with the right product. (DDS, 2004)

Works Cited

DDS. (2004)"What is Brand equity?" Researcher's toolkit -- White Papers Strategy Research on Understanding Brand Equity. DSS Research. Retrieved 24 Mar 2005 at http://www.dssresearch.com/toolkit/resource/papers/SR02.asp

Halve, Anand. (2005) "What's in the Name?" Strategic Marketing. Retrieved 24 Mar 2005 at http://www.etstrategicmarketing.com/smJune-July2/sbrand_2.htm

Question 4

Explain how the iPod has used co-branding strategies with other companies to help sell their product. i.e. Nike, BMW, HP.

Until January 2005, Apple had no iPod or PC products that served the mass market. With the launch of iPod Shuffle and Mac mini they finally converged two product paths with the mass market in mind. (Nixon, 2005) This not only drove more iPod sales, via the Shuffle and other products and Apple accessories, but also fulfills the promised "halo" effect of the iPod products as PC users jumped to the Mac mini and adopted Apple's co-branded products. The halo effect was thus…[continue]

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