Tuesday, January 09, 2007

iPhone communication thoughts..


Well well.. possibly the biggest product launch of the year.
x
Would you do a Steve Jobs and present it all on your own? Or would you let your employees help explain it?
x
Personally, I think Apple have missed a bit of a trick with this launch. Why not emphasise the phone's qualities by demonstrating how 'average' employees use it. Yes, a good old fashioned try before you buy.
x
It is perhaps testament to the controlling nature of Jobs (from what I've read) that he's reluctant to let it be shown this way. The products are his children, and damned if he isn't going gush and evangelise about them on his own.
x
Steve, the product's going to sell well. No need to be possessive. Let your army of Mac devotees do it for you. I suppose you always know what you are getting if you are the brand yourself.. coming neatly back to my suggestion that people can be branded, albeit in peculiar ways, whilst writing blogs.
x
Like Richard says in his excellent 'Brands & 2.0' presentation, talking and writing about the brand changes the speaker more than the listener; is it then better to have a single presenter, so they can evolve with the brand?
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Look and what Bill Gates as done with his presentation to the world; as he's become more philanthropic, attitudes towards Microsoft have softened.
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Or, perhaps better yet - should brands have readily identifiable spokesmen/people at ALL?
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For what it's worth, I don't think it's nearly as much of a risk/reward thing as with associating celebrities with brands which seemingly have nothing to do with them. At least product evangelists have some form of history with the brand.
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Still...if Jobs rubs people up the wrong way, or indeed, if the iPhone flops (I don't like the lack of keys, I'll be honest - this may not help it.. but I don't know...I hated the RAZR, but it seems everyone has one...) - which it won't - Apple could have an interesting time on its hands.
x
But if it did fail, Apple would be able to get out of it; it'd call in the renegade Apple preachers, something which no other brand seems to have.
x
P.S. There is more new music in the sidebar. Check it out...
x

14 comments:

Steve Roest said...

Hi Will,

Think the site is great. You won't stay a "wannabe" for much longer, that's for sure.

Anyway, I wanted to pick up on your point about product evangelists being a better choice than unrelated celebrities.

I fully agree with you that in an ideal world product evangelists would be a better choice to talk about the product, and encourage people to use it, try it, buy it.

Web 2.0 and the explosion of social media has made it easier for these product evangelists to be heard, find others who share their love for "X" and influence other consumers.

However, (and remembering I actually agree with the sentiment you express) the fact that brands are still more than willing to use celebrity spokespeople shows that it works to shift product. Companies make money by selling stuff - they need to find the most effective way to sell that product.

My own view on the discussion is that the increase in consumer influence that relatively unknown product evangelists (or on the the other side, product haters) now have has led to companies strongly reconsidering the relevance of celebrities to their brand. They will still use them because they work, but relevance has become paramount.

What do you think?

If you're interested in the DAS Accelerate Scheme, check out http://openhouse.typepad.com and have a look around - I'd be interested in your opinion.

Many thanks,

Steve Roest
DAS

Will said...

Steve,

First of all, thanks very much for the compliment. We'll see about remaining a 'wannabe'.. it really depends if I can click with an agency or an organisation. Here's hoping.

Your post is very timely - I applied for the DAS scheme last night. Look out for the application - I'm quite keen on the brand management stream, but any thoughts/advice would be good. Shoot me an email to triggerhappy12@hotmail.com if you have a minute.. it'd be good to chew the fat.

As for the blog - I like it a lot; it's like Ogilvy's, but a lot more topical. One suggestion would perhaps be a facility to have multiple authors, so people can construct multiple posts, like Paul Colman's other blog (http://lifeinthemiddle.typepad.co.uk/letsseewhathappens/). I suppose it depends if you plan to keep the blog to purely DAS things or to claim it more for your own writing.

Finally getting to the point about evangelists - I agree with you; celebrities do still have relevance if they meet the brief perfectly and don't seem like too much of a jump (think Affleck & Lynx and not Church & Walkers) to imagine them actually using the product or service.

Halifax, as I mention in my post, remains to this day the most effective use of wrapping celebrity status around an evangelist. Whether this was due to it pretty much being the first (especially in the banking sector) remains to be seen.

However, I think using evangelists can be just, if not more dangerous than the celebrity. You could view Elephant.co.uk and other Insurance executions as using product devotees, but those seem fake and forced.

I believe the best medium for evangelists is the digital format - it seems to inspire people who truly love their product or service. On TV/viral ads it often seems far too forced.

Of course, in all of this remains the importance of brands in people's lives; I like the Russell Davies analogy between your family & friends being massive action figures, and your brand affiliations being about the size of a toy car. I think that sums it up.

To stumble across someone who really values the brand on the same level (as I think Jobs does, or people who actually run/own the business) is rare - to be able to pull it off without people cringing is even rarer. It runs the risk of being like a used car advert or 'infomercial' if you aren't careful.

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