Marketing is more than a way of doing; it is a way of thinking. It starts with the understanding of the distinctive characteristics of services, their invisibility, and intangibility, as well as the unique nature of service prospects and users. It is the understanding of the users fear, their limited time, their sometimes illogical ways of decision making, and their most important drives and needs/wants. Positioning is now not what you do to a product. Positioning is what the company is able to do to the mind of the prospect of the product. If marketers are able to uncover what is going on in the brains of those who choose one brand over another, what information passes through a consumers brain’s filter and what information does not, is the key to building brands of the future. In today’s society individuals have so many choices that one is going to pick and choose the messages in which they want to hear. While technology has changed over the decades, people have not. History shows that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, going mad in its pursuit, that millions of individuals become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it. This happens until their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first. Today it is the complete shift of communications infrastructure to the Internet, that “keeping in touch” delusion of being our greatest challenge, that has shifted marketing’s focus from the selling of products towards that of creating relationships. By asserting that individuals do not buy things but buy solutions to problems, marketing imagination is able to make the inspired leap from the obvious to the meaningful which is essence in creating relationships. It is more meaningful to think of the choice of buying a product as an act of risk reduction rather than as the expression of a brand preference. The discovery of the simple essence of things is the root of the marketing imagination. In order to move a new idea or product into the mind, one must first move an old one out. Once an old idea is overturned, selling a new idea is ludicrously simple. People like to see the high and mighty exposed. They enjoy seeing bubbles burst.
Apple is a master of the teaser marketing campaign, dragging on the suspense for as long as possible. Before the release of every iPhone, for weeks if not months, the media conversation builds to a deafening level. Apple brilliantly strokes this buzz by providing virtually no information on their end. It is an illustrating of marketer’s doing what they know best, letting others do the promoting of one’s product for them. Products do not sell. People do. Product features do not create fans. It is vital to focus on what people do and show how they feel using a product. Show what matters. The Apple logo is fixed to be right-side up for others. It is upside down to the user of the Macbook because it is the user who is selling the brand to others for Apple. Apple also is able to create the illusion of scarcity to increase demand. Scarcity (real or perceived) makes a product more desirable and in demand. It not only increases the value of a product, it also propels the procrastinators and those who want to be a part of the trendy crowd to step up and purchase the product. Apple has found its own ways to hype the sense of faux scarcity, for instance in 2012 when the Apple website reported that heavy demand had necessitated delayed delivery. It is a beautiful illustrating of intentionally restricting production of a product to create scarcity, therefore in essence fueling demand for one’s product. It is also key to focus on a friendly customer experience.
Apple’s product is the removal of complexity in favor of ease of use with innovative features such as touchscreen “gestures”. Smart branders use the outside-in approach. Begin with the customer of a product first (outside), then figure out how that product can be improved or the service to meet the customers need (inside). It is important to ask “What would make a product easier to use for customers?” and “How can a business make the customer experience special and different at every touch point?” It is vital to think of the customer experience holistically. Do not stop with the product design, also look at the way in which it is sold and displayed in the store or on the companies website and as well as the customer service experience with the call center. Illustrate the customers’ benefits from the product crisp and clearly in all aspects of marketing. A beautiful design is an important product differentiator. It is vital to find a visual hook, a visual something, a design, a logo, a shape, or a color that puts a companies brand/product in the minds of the customers. Aim to have a visual identity that is instantly recognizable like Apple’s. Apple created a brand culture that has attracted a passionate community of followers who identify with the brand’s innovativeness, simplicity, and coolness. It is important for a business to write down its brands values that define it’s branding culture. For instance, Apple’s “Think Different” ad campaign “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in square holes…”, defined their brand values and culture. To get a product notice, it is time to start breaking the rules like Apple did.
It is also vital to figure out a way to incorporate something into a product that does what Apple’s white headphones do; give consumers an easy way to sell the companies product while making them feel like they are part of an exclusive club. Focus on what people do with the product, not what it is the product does. Today, the iPod does not make one’s music sound better, provide better battery life, or save money. What it does is make Apple fans. The iPod was able to empower early adopters. Apple has always been a game-changer with its focus on the message with its marketing campaigns. The Mac was “The computer for the rest of us.” iPod was “1,000 Songs in Your Pocket.” iMac was “3 Steps to the Internet.” These messages are memorable and transcend product features. Apple’s marketing is able to create purchases even before it’s customers see it. This is an example of what happens when people do the companies marketing for them. Marketing is not about what the company is saying, it is about what others say for them. It is essential to equip them with the right words. It is also necessary to focus on the feel of a product. It begins with the packaging. For instance, look at the iPhone box; finely crafted, with extra touches like velvet-lining reminiscent of a fine watch box. The iPhone rests in a tiny lucite bed, trading the object d’art. By having packaging that stands out you’’ have earn fans. Fans are shorthand for fanatics. The Mac was not just easier to use than the PC, it also had style. Therefore, STYLE is Apple’s brand. Creative individuals gravitate to it because it frees their brains from having to “use” a computer. Designers, authors, artists, and customers are fans of good design and respond to extra thoughtful touches.