Saturday, October 31, 2009
Apple ... checkmate
Apple shock and awe is totally different. It is like waking up one morning and suddenly everything has changed. It is like Marty McFly waking up back in the future to find his mother happy, his father a successful novelist, and Biff waxing the family car. One day you turn around and Apple is everywhere doing things that amaze and delight you.
The iMac appeared on the cover of the March 27, 2000 Time Magazine with Steven King peering out of the screen. The story inside was on video editing using FireWire. It had also been a two-page story in Time on December 20, 1999. An iMac connected to a camcorder was the climax of the Oprah Show on January 20, 2000. FireWire was on the cover of MacWorld. On the cover of the Dell Computer product guide. In-flight magazines were talking about FireWire. USA Today and every major daily were carrying stories on video editing using FireWire. Suddenly, Apple was on the front page of everything and FireWire was on page two. The Steve Jobs keynote speeches were lead stories around the world with CNN doing live updates from the convention center on their blog. Apple sales were growing 3X the rate of the PC market. Where could they go from there?
After Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power, Apple computers took a hard right turn. Gone were the wild candy colors. October 2001, the iPod was released with a new, classic, white look. A look that would be replicated in the iMac G4, released in January 2002. The new look was classy but still cool. Going forward, Apple computers took on a look of sophistication befitting a premium priced computer and more importantly, a look that would look right in a corporate environment. Now, the multi-year plan had reached the intended goal.
With the new Apple cool look, corporate sales started coming in. Keep in mind; home computer sales are only 30% of total PC sales. Apple had gone from near death to global trend setter in just a few years. They captured the attention of the computer industry with a bold new Mac (the iMac). They generated momentum in the home computer market. They showed everyone that they were here to stay. No more worries about Apple going out of business. Then they kept the momentum going with the iPod which introduced a sophisticated new look.
Financial analysts became virtual marketers for Apple, Inc. which increased corporate interest in Apple. Everyone had shares of AAPL in their portfolio. Apple then started promoting their computers as being better computers, not just fun computers. While a growing number of home computer users where starting to become Apple enthusiasts, corporations started hearing about the lack of problems with iMacs (no viruses, fewer crashes, better operating system). When employees started asking if they could use an Apple at work, a big thaw was underway in corporate America and more and more Apple's started showing up at work.
Ten years ago, the corporate status symbol was the tiny Sony Vaio 505GX notebook computer. Today, the corporate status symbol as a MacBook. The big target, from the introduction of the Bondi iMac, was to get Apple out of the niche market and into the big pond. The small fish in the small pond was now a big fish in a big pond.
Well played, Mr. Jobs.
James Snider is the Business Development Director for Accelerant Marketing Alliance, LLC == Marketing, Communications and Design. Corporate Marketing Department ... one hour at a time. www.linkedIn.com/in/jamessnider