Apple, the company that brought you the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad and a countless assortment of other “I”s, entered the history books once again last week becoming the first U.S. company to achieve a market cap exceeding $1 trillion.


Type that into a calculator and you’ll be entering a one followed by 12 (12!) zeros.

So, how does a $1 trillion company spend their marketing dollars?

Well in 2015, the last year Apple publicly reported their marketing and advertising expenses, the company spent a record $1.8 billion on marketing and advertising costs.

Wowza. Again.

While that number is pretty earth shattering, it represents far less than one percent of Apple’s overall valuation in 2015.

With a $1 trillion market cap, a conservative estimate would put Apple’s marketing budget at $2.5 billion in 2018.

Need I say it again?

For perspective, with a $2.5 billion budget, you could:

While that would certainly earn you a lot of impressions, Apple has chosen to spend their money a little more wisely centering their marketing strategy around three core tenants which not only drive their marketing initiatives, but their brand as a whole.

  1. Simplicity

There is no greater example of simplicity in branding, in design or in marketing than Apple. From the iconic dancing silhouettes to the equally famous Think Different campaign, the Apple brand represents all things effortless and timeless.

Apple’s simplicity exudes itself in every aspect of consumer contact. It is evident in the product itself as well as in the retail spaces where the products are sold. Intuitive design and a practical user interface are also built into the operating system at the literal core of Apple’s products.

This consistency in simplicity unifies Apple’s brand elevating every aspect of the consumer’s relationship with the brand into a unique, cohesive experience.

  1. Experience

Let us not forget the many collective hours stood wrapped around the sleek, glass Apple storefronts in shopping malls the globe over. The Apple experience extends beyond their minimalist-modern stores and genius bars to their elaborately stylized product launch announcements and events and to the customer experience within the technology itself.

The overarching Apple experience is what separates the Macs from the PCs, or the iPhones from the Androids, and what creates product loyalists and brand evangelists.

In a more abstract sense, experience is about value. Both the value your audience finds in your product or service and the values espoused by the organization itself.

  1. Innovation

A concept as synonymous with the company as the steely gaze of its late co-founder, Steve Jobs. While Apple may not have invented the concept of innovation, it has built upon the idea to such an extent that innovation is at the core of Apple’s business strategy.

Beyond revolutionizing industries or disrupting entire product categories, Apple’s brand of innovation is based on a system of differentiation. “Think Different,” from its inception, was more than a simple ad campaign. It was an innovation on Apple itself, a rebirth of a company unmatched, until recent years, in product, ambition and innovation.

So, what makes a $1 trillion company? Big ideas. But what sells a $1 trillion company is a dedication to simplicity, experience and innovation.