Posts Tagged Apple
An inspiring and simple corporate ethos: Focus everything on designing things people will truly love.
Steve Jobs and his team building their startup NeXT, captured on PBS. Brilliant.
The best of the Apple “Think Different” campaign. Not just advertising, rather a corporate statement of belief in itself and its culture. Years on, it is still this culture that inspires the wonderful products we see today.
For fun and interests sake, I’ve added their most recent campaign “Our Signature” (2013):
Duncan Davidson on the Apple Genius Bar:
Imagine, for a moment, you’re in charge of the development of a product. What’s more compelling? A) Somebody on your staff telling you that third party services centers seem to be buying lots of widgets and their reports indicate that there could be a problem with a particular feature of your product. Or, B) The head of your own service organization coming over with graphs and charts about exactly which parts break, why customers say they break, and that the cost for fixing the damage caused by a simple bumbling accident averages $593.
As a brand marketer I will never understand the need to outsource the conversations you could have directly with your customers. Not simply because of the opportunity to improve your products (above), but because it is one of the purest and easiest ways to understand and improve your relationship with them. Ask yourself: what would you do if you could get ahold of your best customers exactly when they wanted to hear from you? What could you learn, and what could you do for them to make them happier with you?
Below, a running list of ‘simply amazing stuff’: fantastic companies and brands that deliver on some really big ideas:
Apple. For some of the words most imaginative products, a magical ecosystem of applications and making it all work together so easily. Thanks for ‘iEverything’.
Nike+. For tracking, networking and reporting our workouts, and then using it to help people change their lives. Thanks for making a guy like me actually LOVE running!
Nespresso. For enabling the creation of a perfect cup of coffee at home, easily, and for building a new ritual experience and loyalty around a commodity.
Google. For putting ‘improving humanity through technology’ at the heart of your vision. We believe in your larger purpose, even if Wall Street thinks it’s a fragmented business strategy. Oh, and I love using all your stuff!
Steve Jobs. For showing us all what great vision and an uncompromising attention to detail can create, and how a few great people can use this to actually change the world.
Dominos Pizza. For such a simple consumer ordering interface, making it possible to order delivery with the press of a single button. (and for showing the marketing world that sometimes big ideas can be as simple as making your customers lives simpler.)
Addison Lee. For creating a platform where I can order a taxi with a button: putting dispatch, tracking and payment online. Clever, simple, useful.
James Cameron. For bringing your incredible imagination to film, and transforming the art as you do.
Ella’s Organics. For showing marketers what you can sell when you know todays moms, dads and kids better than everyone else. Great products.
Axe. For taking the most obvious human insight about young men, and then crafting great (and hilarious) executions on it, including the creation of an entire product category.
5’s. For showing us something new and exciting in chewing gum – an otherwise boring product category.
Jimmi Choo. For making a straight guy stop dead in his tracks to look at ‘theater for the feet’.
Virgin + Virgin Galactic. For having the vision to go places that others will not, and for having the balls to make it happen.
Juplier. For getting you the exact same beer, every time, no matter where it is poured or by whom. Incredible.
Trojan. For making safer sex fun, and less taboo.
Asymco author and analyst Horace Dediu, on the race to build a Blackberry killer, provides a great analogy demonstrating the importance of understanding your consumer:
RIM was like a barkeeper who enabled socializing on his premises by selling beer. The product he sold was not really beer but meeting services. A brewer looking enviously at the high margin beer being sold there might try to compete by launching “Pub-style beer” but the product won’t help people socialize any more if they drank it at home. Bar patrons were paying the high price of bar beer because it had an implicit rent attached for using the meeting site…
So no matter how much a brewer tried, unless they got into the business of managing taverns, they won’t ever put the barkeeper out of business.
This is because none of the products addressed the real question of what makes Blackberry live and thrive. They were just pub-style beer, not thinly disguised meeting places.
History repeats itself today as the Blackberry maker struggles to match the iPhone and iPad devices with its features, without understanding exactly why the products are so very loved, used and profitable.
Unfortunately, this happens all the time to marketers. Its critical that you develop the meaningful insights that drive your activities looking forward. We can sometimes be so blinded by the seemingly obvious that we immediately chase the tail of WHAT is beating us – and then try to meet or out-do their specifications. In doing so, we often miss WHY they are beating us. Reaching the underlying motivations driving consumer behavior is the most important thing for a good marketer.
My 3 year old is constantly asking, “why”? – it’s the core question that she uses to make sense of the world around her. Perhaps she is on to something?
Here is something that I am fixated on these days: In one of the most competitive and fast moving industries in the world, where most products are built from rapidly evolving and readily available commodity components, Apple is winning big. Really, really BIG.
The iPod Touch, The iPhone 4, The iPad. There is nothing out there yet that can ‘touch’ them. Even if sometime soon there were products that match the base product specs and design quality of these devices, they would still need to overcome the perfectly married software and surrounding iOS, iTunes, App and MobileMe ecosystems. The lead Apple has created for itself here is truly incredible when you think about it.
The product here is king.
Say what you will about the Apple advertising, but this story is rooted in the actual product itself – a convergence of technology, software and design – that years on is yet to be matched. It’s so good in fact, that even the competition dropping its prices on their hardware has gained them very little against it.
Then consider that they are doing this while competing across the operating system, PC, smartphone, music player, tablets, gaming and lifestyle software segments (and dabbling in TV, advertising, clouds, e-retail, retail, books and social media). Companies whose entire business is built and focused on a single one cannot put out a device to rival. What is going on at RIM, Nokia, Palm, Microsoft? They are all focused on this single entity in the iPhone and are releasing products that fail to match even Apple’s old technology.
I am trying to think about when there will be equally good products, or possibly superior products to compete vs. the current product line. The Android platform is getting there, but that is perhaps the only thing easy to spot on the horizon, and it competes with only a small piece of the overall Apple product architecture (iOS). We could still be years away from seeing these iProducts exceeded.
In this context, product leadership of this kind is to be respected.
Update: See great Asymco recap explaining some of the ‘why’. Describes it as, ‘Apple sells a value chain – not a product’
Update: RIM takes a bath with a $480M write down on Playbook inventory.