The iPhone is a beautiful device- but it’s an even better marketing case study.
Up until the iPhone mobile phone service providers like Cingular, Verizon, T-mobile, Sprint, Nextel, Blackberry etc. talked about coverage, price, service, products or service. Differentiation techniques included Nextel’s walkie-talkie function, T-mobile’s five friend deal, Verizon with their “network” and “Can you hear me know” tagline, AT&T claimed more bars, Sprint had “an all digital network” and Blackberry delivered e-mail.
Now- everyone is looking for an iPhone killer- with multi-touch screens coming fast and furious and a new look at “Smart Phone” features. But what the telco’s are missing is that the iPhone phenomena isn’t about technology, it’s not about cool design, it’s not (well almost not) about status- it’s about providing a better user experience. It’s experiential marketing- and it’s something all the Telcos have missed from day one.
Apple understands the integration of form, function and the user experience better than most brands. What has set a Macintosh apart from the competition isn’t just the superior industrial design- but the experience of working with a computer. Apple integrates the hardware and the software to just work better and has from day one. Plug-n-play has been the standard since the Mac launched- no configuration necessary. It’s that kind of approach to the integration of technology into the users life that’s making Apple the instant king of the mobile telecom market.
For example: after the third time my non-smart phone had died- and I couldn’t restore my contacts with the help of the people at the Sprint store- I switched to a “Smart phone” that allowed me to sync my contacts to my computer. How hard could it be for Sprint to keep my data backed up on their server for a phone? Easy- and privacy shouldn’t be an issue- since they already log all my calls. Has Sprint thought about that? Of course not- they aren’t concerned with the user- except when the bill doesn’t get paid.
It’s been said that the cell phone is the most important fashion accessory to teens. Marketers who still believe in brand loyalty- always strive to reach this market to develop long lasting relationships- yet few have really analyzed what the teen market wants. Outside of the price of the iPhone- it integrates the complete students wardrobe electronic accessory closet- a music/video player, a phone, a camera, e-mail and IM functions, web browsing. Except for the missing video camera- this is the ultimate teen toy. And if you think price is an issue- remember the first 5gb iPods were $500 and didn’t take long to own 70+% of the mp3 player market.
Apple is once again showing an entire industry that changing the experience of how consumers use a device is more important than price, service, or your “brand.”
Differentiation/innovation is the only sustainable competitive advantage in marketing. Lower prices and sales aren’t what they used to be. Providing a better experience is what is turning the iPhone into the fast selling consumer electronics device ever.
How can you change your delivery of products and services into a better, simpler, easier experience? That should be your first step in marketing anything today.
That’s the next wave in marketing and innovation.
This before and after ad example will never win any awards, but, it could make the difference between being looked at- and being ignored.
The call came at 6pm tonight: Can you take this ad and make it better? In an hour?
This isn’t how to run a business, or how to get the best possible work, but it’s often the reality in advertising: you can have good, fast or cheap- pick any two.
The original isn’t really an ad at all. It’s an announcement. There isn’t really any type of call to action, or anything that would speak to the consumer emotionally. In fact, it’s mostly about the client- “the first place Dayton Bombers.” The ad was done by the ad department for a previous paid placement- you buy the space- we’ll have a flunky design something.
This is what we had to work with- plus the Kelly Cup logo. Some information could be stripped out- it wasn’t important to the customer: AA Hockey- well, there isn’t another team in Dayton, 1st place- doesn’t really matter in the minors as much as the majors, and the flow of white space is just all over the place.
So- take the elements that they have used all season- and try to make them work. The visiting team logo is only important to the hardcore fans- no one is coming to see the visiting team play so we can make that smaller. The McDonalds promo isn’t happening- so we loose that too. We’ve looked at the audience- and know that this is a NASCAR, WWF, Tough Man crowd- that loves to see fights- and to taunt the other team- so making the word “Fighting” a key part of the ad- may get some attention.
In less than an hour- this is the result. Not an award winner- but, at least bold, clean and making some sort of appeal to the emotional side of the fans.
What do you think?
We also threw together a low-budget TV spot to promote the game. Since we had no existing game footage to use (and couldn’t count on any great stuff in one game) we had to construct a concept that we could control. We were told the leading scorer spoke Romanian (not true) and thought we could have fun with a Borat style low budget spoof. The idea was to do something that would cut through the clutter of local ads (none have ever aired in Romanian in Dayton OH) and get people to look to their sets to see what’s going on. We also posted it on YouTube- where it has received over 600 views in 24 hours. The translator obviously knows less Romanian than we did.
One of the first design and advertising books that really spoke to me was Pentagram’s Living by Design (long out of print). Its basic premise was that design extended to more than graphics, architecture, advertising- but was the entire consumer/brand experience- long before people were talking about experiential marketing.
I was lent the book by a former employer, who had been given it as a gift by one of his professors. After I read it, I tried to talk to him about it, his response: “I don’t read books.” I didn’t stay at that job very long (probably because I did read).
I went to Pentagram’s London office to find a copy, several years later. They were nice enough to give me a copy- that had a section removed- and she copied the missing pages. I later got a complete copy from an art book store in Santa Monica- it’s one of my most prized books.
So, when I stumbled onto Pentagram’s blog- and saw this logo- I was instantly reminded of why I believe design does make a difference.
Take a look at this elegant logo- then read their description:
The identity is a hieroglyph, designed to be universally understood, that utilizes the icons of the OLPC laptop interface, also developed by Pentagram. The website design employs these symbols as the basis for navigation. Each icon leads to a corresponding section of information: the laptop to a section about hardware and software, the arrow to a section about participation, and so on. The site launched in English but is currently being translated into many languages.
For all the companies that don’t think they can afford to do a proper logo on start-up, just remember, you can pay now, or pay later. A well designed brand mark can make the difference between having a corporate identity- and becoming a lifestyle brand, ala Nike, Apple, BMW, Mini etc.
And, by the way, if you aren’t familiar with the One Laptop Per Child initiative, you need to read more about it– it’s truly something that could change the world.
There is a printing craft that has taking a beating from Laserprinters, digital presses, direct to plate and inkjet imaging-it’s the old school, hot type letterpress studio.
When I was in Paris a few years ago- I stumbled into an old shop that still was composing type by hand- and it was a joy to look at ink pressed into paper.
I just found a site that is a guide to letterpress shops- and thought I would share:
D*S Letterpress Guide
Welcome- what you’ll find here is a working guide to some of the best letterpress studios in the country (as well as a few abroad).
The guide is meant to be searched by the following categories: State, City, E-commerce Enabled, Custom Work and Pre-Made work. You’re more than welcome to read down the center column as you would with a blog but the list is much more useful when organized by search results.
If you know of any letterpress printers around Dayton OH- please add them to the letterpress guide- and drop a comment on this site.
Unbelievably, the Letterpress guide makes no reference to Hatch Show Print, the coolest place for band posters this side of Mars.
I’m totally convinced that within 5 years, the only people selling targeted ads in video will be Google. The networks (broadcast and cable) will be toast. Content producers will be uploading their content to Google Video- where we will go to download our programs. Some will be free, others will cost, and if you can’t afford to buy the program at full price, you’ll be able to opt in to sell your eyeballs to some marketer who wants to reach you.
So, when Google wants to know it’s future, they call on Seth Godin- and this 48 minute video shows you why Seth Godin is one of the go-to guys for the future of marketing and advertising.
When I have some more time, I’ll pull out the juicy parts- but for now- I’ve pointed you in the right direction.