In 2008, Steve Jobs was quoted in Fortune magazine saying that “Apple is a $30 billion company yet we’ve got less than 30 major products. I don’t know if that’s ever been done before.” In addition, in a Wall Street Journal interview, current Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked about what he learned from Jobs. Cook responded, “Focus is key … that you can only do so many things great, and cast aside everything else.”
Recently, Cook has been quoted as saying, “We are in one of the most prolific periods of innovation and new products in Apple’s history.” These new products include Apple Maps, the iPad mini and the MacBook Pro with Retina display, as well as updates to hits like the iPhone and iPod lineup. In addition, Apple is rumored to be developing a radio service as well as a TV product.
Today, we find plenty of instances where clients want us to build websites that are highly dynamic in look, but not in functionality, such as animations that make the simple web pages more attractive.
The first thought that comes to mind when considering the addition of embedded videos, games, interactive graphics, etc., into a website, is the use of Adobe Flash or just “Flash” as it is more popularly known. Flash has been around since 1996, and with their popularity, various facilities and friendly plug-ins, Flash improvements have helped developers worldwide build fantastic websites. However, there are some drawbacks to these Flash improvements that have caused developers to seek new alternatives. Thankfully, a new alternative has come – HTML5. With its open source platform, easy access with mobile phones and other features, HTML5 has gained tremendous popularity in a short period of time. Interestingly, people have started comparing these two technologies, and we are seeing a great deal of discussion about Flash versus HTML5. (continue reading…)
Social media marketing, advertising, and PR are all important components of an effective marketing strategy. However, those components lose their effectiveness, and even become detrimental, when the brand itself is faultering. Advertising is about increasing brand awareness, but when people think negatively about your brand, increasing awareness does not help. Similarly, the social media landscape is where people are communicating among each other about you, about your competition, and about everything else. But again, when people have negative thoughts about you, encouraging more conversations is counterproductive.
Successful brands are those that are singularly focused on delivering the best products and services in markets consumers demand. Consider companies like Apple. On top of their other successes, their iPad is on target to being the fastest product in history to reach the $1 billion mark. Although Apple invests in marketing (principally advertising and minimally in social media), it own’s the public’s perception as a company that delivers the most innovative and desirable devices. Apple is focused on product and customer first, which then enables effective communication options.
On the other hand, companies that cannot consistently meet and exceed their customers’ expectations will faulter no matter how much attention is paid to the remainder of the marketing mix. Their focus should instead be on their products and service. Once those are on the right track, companies can once again employ communication tools to regain growth.
Domus is a marketing communications agency based in Philadelphia, focusing on fundamental marketing strategies that employ wide ranges of communications media and delivery. For more information, please visit us at http://www.domusinc.com.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple will be coming out with a new iPhone this summer with significant advancements over the current model. But possibly more importantly, they will come out with two models – one for AT&T and one for Verizon.
This highlights the difference between Apple and AT&T. Apple has always been very proactive with its product development. It’s only within the last few months that the iPhone is being seriously challenged by competing phones (e.g., Google’s Android, etc.), but they already have the next improvement ready to go out. Moreover, as the market for AT&T iPhones gets saturated, Apple will continue to grow by now offering a Verizon model.
On the other hand, AT&T has consistently been too slow delivering on their product – the network – and as such their reputation in the market reflects that.
The day Apple releases their Verizon iPhone will certainly be a major blow to AT&T. It will be interesting to see if they recover.
Yesterday, AdAge had an article predicting that, as with past product introductions, Apple will significantly bump up its advertising spending to support the introduction of its Tablet being announced today. Other sites have picked up and repeated the story.
What’s interesting, though, is that today’s introduction is Apple’s first since the full explosion of social media usage. (The iPhone was introduced in 2007, which, although in the age of social media, was still at the very beginning of the explosion.) So how will Apple advertise their new introduction? Obviously, they’ve done a great PR job thus far, getting stories and opinions with increasing frequency and anticipation for months leading up to today’s announcement. But once they start advertising, which media will be their dominant focus?
In all likelihood, they will spend most of their money on traditional media, especially television. They’ve been successful at it, they continue to use it (e.g., Mac vs. PC ads), and it’s the best vehicle to cement the Apple brand image onto a new product. But, whatever they do, it will be interesting to see how one of the best brand positioning companies of our day executes its marketing plan.
OK, so I’m a little bit of a technophile (OK, a big one), so excuse my enthusiasm. But today is the end of the last week before the Apple tablet is introduced (hopefully – they haven’t actually confirmed that that is what their January 27 announcement will be about). After next week, computing as well as information and media consumption will begin its dramatic shift into a new era. This week is the end of the old era.
Strong predictions, but consider that virtually every major Apple introduction (when Steve Jobs has been at the helm) has fundamentally changed some aspect of our lives. Apple’s first machines ushered in the personal computing era. Apple’s MacIntosh ushered in computing’s graphical user interface. Apple’s iPod changed how we listen to music, iTunes changed the entire music distribution industry, and the iPhone/iTouch changed our concept of mobile phones. Apple wasn’t always the first in a category, but their innovative products consistently propel nascent industries into integral parts of our lives.
Companies (Microsoft and its partners in particular) have tried for years to make tablet computers a successful market segment, but they’ve always come up short. Next week, however, Apple is ready, and (according to rumors) not just with a product but with partners and supporting services to make the offering another potential market changer.
As marketers, there are so many lessons we can learn from Apple, from their ability to create innovative and exciting products, to their marketing efforts. Mostly, though, I’m in awe of how so thoroughly and completely they’ve created a branding position, and solidified it year-after-year in an industry where 10 years is the equivalent to a lifetime in other industries. When you think of Apple, what do you think of? Innovative, cool, must-have products? Is there anyone, anywhere who doesn’t share that image of them? I’m sure even Al Ries tips his hat to Steve Jobs.
Domus is a full-service marketing communications agency based in Philadelphia. For more, please visit our web site at http://www.domusinc.com.
December, 2009 was the month that Google’s Chrome finally passed Apple’s Safari in the browser market share wars. (See Browser Market Share.) From a marketer’s perspective, one thing should immediately be added to everyone’s to-do list this January. If you’ve been paying less attention to Chrome than the other browsers when testing your web sites, it’s time to change that. Chrome is not only here to stay – Google is on a roll and will continue to push its market share upward.
So, download Chrome and start testing.
Domus is a full-service advertising, PR, and social media marketing agency based in Philadelphia. For more information, please visit our web site at http://www.domusinc.com.
From one perspective, 2009 was a difficult year for Microsoft. It lost overall market share in the browser wars, MS-Office was being challenged by Google Docs, and Windows Vista was still being attacked by users and especially Apple. Overall, it missed its profitability targets and it was forced to do some cost-cutting (read: layoffs). Many have been saying that Microsoft has started its decline.
However, another way to look at 2009 is to look at the company’s actions in response to the changing marketplace. The most successful companies are not always the ones who lead the innovative charge, but the ones who keep building on their own and others’ innovations, responding one step at a time to consumers’ desires. Microsoft, in fact, is famous for this – most of their major products became industry leaders only after four or five generations of updates.
So how has Microsoft responded to the competition and marketplace in 2009? The list is pretty impressive. On the legal front, Microsoft successfully got the European Union to stop bullying it (for now) – it just dropped its antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft. On the product front, Microsoft introduced new versions of Silverlight, a new HD Zune player, a new version of Internet Explorer, a completely revamped search engine (Bing) with a continuing stream of new features, a Bing App for the iPhone, and its Surface computing hardware. On the partnership front, Micrsoft signed significant deals with MySpace and Yahoo, and it launched a significant WebSpark program for small developers. On the advertising/promotional front, it launched massive campaigns supporting both Bing and Windows 7, it consistently posted some of the most watched videos on the internet, and it opened the new Microsoft Stores. And, on the R&D front, there are advances for the XBox (Project Natal), a new version of Office (Office 2010) with web-based availability, a possible new tablet computer (their Courier Tablet), and new work on IE 9.
Microsoft is certainly not standing still. And if 2009 is any indication, 2010 will be another interesting year. Anyone who discounts their competitive potential is making a mistake. In fact, most companies who are struggling in this recession should exude the same energy as Microsoft in updating their products and services to fit the changing marketplace. This is not a time for complacency.
Yesterday our blog post was titled, ” Dell and its Twitter Sales.” As a follow-up, it’s interesting to look at Apple. They have virtually no corporate-imposed social media presence. They don’t Tweet, they have a minimal presence on Facebook, they don’t make great efforts to engage with their customers online. On the other hand, they spend a lot of money on traditional advertising. They buy up significant television commercial time (Mac vs. PC ads, iTunes ads, iPod ads), they buy billboard space, they buy glossy magazine ads, etc.
Yet, can anyone doubt that Apple is a successful company? Can anyone doubt that they are in touch with what the consumer wants in this digital age?
Does this mean that new media does not work? Absolutely not. It’s a reaffirmation, though, that what matters most isn’t as much the media as the brand itself. Media is the vehicle for spreading a message, but if a company does not truly have an impactful message emanating out of an inspiring brand position, the distribution of that message does not have much impact.
And an inspiring brand position can’t just be some slogan made up by a group of people in a room. It has to be part of the heart and soul of the company – starting with the person at the top and including everyone below. It has to be evident in the product, in the culture, in the service. Everyone knows that Steve Jobs created and continues to inspire creation of innovative, high quality products that enhance consumers’ computing and multimedia experiences.
With an inspiring brand position solidly in place, a company can distribute their message effectively in many ways, including new media. But without one, a company might be best off by first figuring out how they can truly stand for something meaningful to their potential customers.
Domus is a marketing communications agency based in Philadelphia. We help companies build inspiring brand platforms and then develop and execute effective communications programs, including advertising, public relations, internet presence management, social media marketing, and others. For more information, please visit our web site at http://www.domusinc.com.