Given the amount of flack that I have been giving the folks at Apple lately (great products; arrogant marketing), it was refereshing to read this by Nick Wreden over at Fusion Brand.

Which are more valuable – your brands or your customers?
The choice represents an important strategic issue. If you answered brands, then youÂ’ll no doubt devote attention to increasing the value of your brands. YouÂ’ll pay homage to such concepts as “brand equity,” “brand image” and other buzzwords. You may even pay consultants who promise to refurbish your “brand architecture,” defined by David Aaker as “that which organizes and structures a brand portfolio
by specifying brand roles and the nature of relationships between them and their markets.”
Unfortunately, that answer is wrong.

Ouch! Nick hits the whole Apple conundrum in a short article. Reading David Sobotta’s comments on Apple’s failed attempts to sell to the Federal Government helps to highlight the fatal flaw in Apple’s marketing plan: you will buy our stuff because we say it’s cool.
Sorry, your customers and fanatics are what drive your business and allow Steve Jobs to tear down historic houses to build modernistic monsters in Woodside. And if you can’t sell to the federal, state, or local governments, the average consumer is all you have left, isn’t it?