The Marketing Genius Behind Apple’s ‘Sent from my iPhone’

Jan 7, 2020

Apple has a long history of iconic marketing campaigns. The 1984 Super Bowl ad. “Think Different.” “There’s an app for that.” Mac vs. PC. But one of the brand’s most pervasive marketing tactics is one you may not recognize, even though you probably see it every day.

“Sent from my iPhone.”

More Exposure than a Super Bowl Ad

That’s the default email signature for all 2.2 billion iPhones sold since 2007. Part disclaimer, part humblebrag, the line’s cultural meaning has shifted over the years as the iPhone has become more ubiquitous. But it’s offered consistent exposure for Apple’s most popular product of the last decade.

Early iPhone users were all too happy for an excuse to let people know they were using the latest luxury tech gadget. More than a few people found the message slightly obnoxious, and there are countless articles on how to remove it. But little of that ire was directed at Apple, which saw it as a free and easy way to keep the brand top of mind for anyone receiving emails.

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Excusing Typos and Sustaining Brand Recognition

Today, the iPhone signature has come to signal a request for a little more leeway when it comes to misspelled words or awkward autocorrects. But even that conveys a powerful message about the sender – that she’s busy enough to have to send emails from her phone, but still accessible and prioritizing your message.

Research shows it works. People see an email with typos sent from a phone as more credible than a flawless email without the disclaimer.

Many mobile devices now include a default signature repping their company, but the branded “Sent from my iPhone” remains something of a status symbol, and it still benefits Apple in its fight to maintain market share against Android phones.

The signature isn’t the only subtle way Apple gets users to advertise its products. Think of when you first noticed people wearing AirPods. Apple’s success is built on the brand’s cult-like following. People want to be the kind of people who use Apple products. They want to have “Sent from my iPhone” in their email signatures.

Long story short: More and more consumers – and businesses – are looking to buy from companies that reflect their point of view and the image they want to project. It’s not easy, but finding ways to turn satisfied customers into advocates for the company can create self-perpetuating brand awareness and success. 

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