I’m not sure that my generation has seen a brand that markets as well as Apple does. In fact, they don’t just market, they present such a compelling story that even the harshest of critics can’t argue about how effective the words they chose and imagery they use are.
How come other companies aren’t trying to emulate it?
Well, there have been a few attempts including the way that competitor RIM rolled out the BlackBerry Bold a few years ago. They positioned the device along side luxury items with sleek lines on stunning imagery – in fact their display room at their annual conference was almost pitch black with leather everywhere and images of our most desired objects hung from the rafters. It was actually very well done.
So why did it not resonate the way the latest Apple commercials have? RIM sold the technology and told us about the experience while Apple emphasizes the experience and flat out ignores the technology. RIM says “dual core” Apple says “Magical”. RIM says “phone call”, Apple says “face time”. You get the point.
And now, with the pending release of the BlackBerry PlayBook, RIM is at it once again. Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis called the device technology “superior” and industrial design VP Todd Wood suggested the design is “iconic” and referenced Picasso in the same sentence (full article here). But what of the experience? How does the PlayBook make you feel.
Finally, someone starts playing
I ran across this great quote (here) from Russ Grandinetti, Amazon’s vice president of Kindle Content: “Our users don’t think of it as a gadget.” Bingo! What the Kindle has become is a way for readers to read more and do it easily from wherever they happen to be. The experience – from search to buying a book to reading that book – takes minutes, requires little thought and obfuscates the technology from view. This is exactly the right message to pushing out to the world that doesn’t carry one of these devices.
Technology doesn’t matter, the experience does.
It doesn’t take a genius to understand that good technology – especially in the mobile world – means you don’t notice it. Apple got this with the clean integration of iTunes billing and the iPhone and now the iPad. You don’t need to think about buying, downloading and updating your applications, you just click. This is what Amazon has done with the Kindle. Their ecosystem, their payment system, their model shouldn’t matter, the experience is what will keep people using the Kindle and buying more books. And buying they are.