Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Apple of Your Customer’s Eye


Amazing buzz today over the the upcoming announcement by Apple. I have seen several posts by people wondering how Apple is able to get everyone all worked up about their announcement. I look at it another way. I always see the excitement around Apple announcements as a grass roots movement. People are just that much in love with Apples products. I bet you wish your customers felt that way about you. So what has Apple done right to create this and how can you take advantage too? Lets look.

1st
They aren’t Microsoft. They were able to draw a line between them and Microsoft and declare that their side of the line was cooler, less evil, hipper, less corporate, and power to the people. Whether you believe this or not, they have been able to sell it to their customers and society at large. How does this help you? It tells you that you should define your business ethics and lead with them. Make sure the entire company believes, or at least behaves with that philosophy. Make sure your customers see you as Luke, not Darth.

2nd
They limited outside innovation for the sake of control and security. It damn near killed them in the beginning, by limiting outside developers and manufacturers early on. But they had a vision of how they wanted tome products and company to be, and were willing to bet the company on it. They also secured a stronghold in several verticals. Graphic design comes to mind, and we know how many of those people helped build Internet companies. Well played Apple, well played. How do you do this? Have a plan. Don’t blow in the wind and jump for shiny object and dollars. Believe your vision and follow your plan, don’t let the naysayers stop you.

3rd
They understand what their customers want. They see a need, make a product and a market. Till the iPad was released, what was the last tablet you saw? My guess is some clunky laptop with a convertible top. Heavy, slow to boot, hard to use. They defined the market, defined the device, own the market. How do they do that? Superior UI design and styling. Hand an iPhone to someone who just got off a call on their old flip Razor phone and ask them to call someone, they will be able to. It works like they think it should. So how do you do this? Get to know your clients and provide what they need. Not only provide what they need, provide it the way they think it should be provided. you need to work the way they expect you to work, or they will look for a new vendor.