Some have accused me of being too complimentary with Apple, so this post will likely fan those critical flames. So be it. A recent article in BusinessWeek provides an interesting analysis of what makes Apple such a marketing  (and financial) juggernaut. In a nutshell, it’s not just the fabulous, buzz-worthy products – though those certainly are the crown jewels. As BW’s Sohrab Vossoughi argues, Apple is more than just a pretty face – the company has created a seamless and impressive ecosystem that creates strong demand, generates tons of (mostly positive) attention, and generates passion among its legions of fans. The ecosystem features the suite of products, of course, but also numerous innovative accessories, software, services, customer support, a retail experience, employee training, websites, marketing, advertising and even public relations. All of these link together beautifully to create a unique and superior customer experience. Every customer touchpoint is considered and perfected…and fully branded.

No – Apple is not perfect. I’ve written about some of its PR missteps. But the company carries important lessons not just for product designers or business strategists, but for anybody interested in how successful brands can outpace the competition and resonate deeply with customers.