Thursday, October 25, 2012

Minimizing Apple

Here's your first clue that this Apple is different from the company that was run by Steve Jobs.

A couple of days ago when asked if he was concerned the iPad Mini was too expensive for cost conscious consumers who were attracted to the Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7, Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller said this...
The iPad is far and away the most successful product in its category. The most affordable product we've made so far was $399 and people were choosing that over those devices, and now you can get a device that's even more affordable at $329 in this great new form, and I think a lot of customers are going to be very excited about that.
What he should have said was this...
It's not that Apple hasn't taken on the competition before – the Mac vs. PC spots come to mind – it's just that Apple has never made price a part of that comparison. It's always been about product superiority.

A weak reference to a "great new form" doesn't cut it.

People pay more for Apple products because they're easy to use, incredibly integrated, and bullet-proof. Yes the form plays a part of it, but without those substantive benefits the brand has no meaning.

Schiller needs to work on his schtick if he's going to keep Apple on top.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Time is money

Back in 1986, when the watchmaking industry was undergoing a revolution thanks to the explosion of cheap timepieces featuring quartz movement, Franck Muller and Vartan Sirmakes got together and began making incredibly expensive watches famous for their "complications."

Today, they make forty thousand watches a year with prices ranging from a few thousand dollars to $2,400,000 for the Aeternitas Mega 4.

I'm not sure how many of these they sell each year, but it really doesn't matter – it's a brand statement. An engineering and design masterpiece with 1483 components and 36 functions, it is the ultimate demonstration of what makes Franck Muller "The Master of Complications."

So while Rolex positions itself on performance and Patek Philippe on tradition – two very important benefits in luxury watchmaking – by owning a secondary benefit and crafting a very good story, Franck Muller found another way to differentiate his brand and create a lot of value in an already extremely crowded category.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Creativity is alive

The art of creative strategy is taking a client's message and transforming it into something that people other than the client will watch, internalize and talk about.

This spot from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada is a great example of that.

By combining the pop culture meme du jour – zombies – with a quick lesson in how to make people undead, more people will remember the basics of CPR and lives will be saved.

Brave client + smart agency = great advertising.

Well done.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Stunt your growth

The rise of the internet along with the perceived reduced effectiveness of television and other mass media advertising has spurred the growth of stunt marketing: using your product or brand to ambush unsuspecting consumers and making them a participant in your demonstration or event.

The best examples of this are well planned, produced and promoted. It's not enough to create the event. You must capture the event then spread the video obtained from the stunt on Youtube and Vimeo for all to see, because unlike a television spot, you can't run event after event until millions of people participate.

Like all marketing, when you decide to produce a brand stunt the key questions to ask are: Is it relevant to our target? Does it fit our brand? How will it help us sell more product?

Don't let views, shares, tweets and likes be the only metrics by which you judge your event. If you can't link it to actually moving the needle in things like awareness, preference, trial or sales, there are probably better places to invest your marketing dollar, no matter how much fun your event is to stage.