Apple Marketing: then and now

Apple, iPad, Fall Keynote

The difference between Apple marketing under Steve Jobs and with Tim Cook at the helm was encapsulated by two videos in Tuesday’s Fall event.  The first, demonstrating the impact that the iPad has had on the consumer electronics and computer industries since its launch, was typical Steve Jobs: it communicated the values of Apple and the value of the product without the need for a single word.

Apple, iPad, Fall Keynote
Apple Fall Keynote – the impact of the iPad

The second, a ‘design video’ for the new iPad Air highlights everything that is wrong about Apple marketing under Cook.  It focuses more on speeds and feeds and self-congratulatory back-slapping.

Jonny Ive, iPad Air, Design Video
The Apple iPad Air ‘Design’ Video

Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself.  The first video starts at 62′ 20″ in Apple’s keynote video and runs for 1′ 56″, posted on the Apple website; the second starts at 71′ 55″ and runs for a full 3′ 09″.

Due to copyright restrictions I’m not able to post the video here, but it’s worth spending 10 minutes to watch both Apple iPad videos.



BlackBerry MUST Die!

$BBRY, BlackBerry, Mobile, Telecommunications
$BBRY, BlackBerry, Mobile, Telecommunications
BlackBerry MUST Die!

Whether Fairfax Financial, Google, Cisco, Samsung, former founder Jim Balsillie or, my favourite, Apple end up with all or part of troubled Canadian telecoms company BlackBerry one thing is clear: the BlackBerry name must die. This won’t be a problem in the event that the company is broken up, but should Balsillie or Fairfax chief Prem Watsa succeed in their bids and take the company private the chances of succeeding will be small unless the new owner changes the name.

Here are three reasons why:

  • The BlackBerry brand is irrevocably damaged. It’s become synonymous with delays, undelivered promises, disappointment and, ultimately, failure. If the company has any chance of successfully re-establishing a serious place in the handset market then it will need a new identity.
  • Once BlackBerry hangs out the ‘under new ownership’ sign the company will likely take on a new direction and that fresh start predicates a new identity. BlackBerry is synonymous with the world of the early 2000s, not the sort that are currently being sold by the likes of Apple, Samsung, Google and, even, Microsoft.
  • BlackBerry says Enterprise. If the new company has visions of providing handsets and services to a wider audience, whether directly, or as a service running on third-party handsets, it needs to shake off those Enterprise perceptions.

The truth is that whatever the company is called, in order for the startup formally called BlackBerry to succeed it needs to go back to the start and re-think its value proposition, target audience and validate its marketing assumptions.  It needs to go back to basics and create an entirely new strategic communications plan.

If you were running the startup formally known as BlackBerry, what would you call it?

Steve Jobs Was Wrong! Marketing Isn’t About Values…

Steve Jobs, Public Relations, Marketing, Apple

In a presentation I gave this evening on PR for startups and small businesses I explained why Steve Jobs got it wrong when he said that marketing is about values. Public Relations, in my mind, is about values, while marketing is about communicating value. I explained to a large group of entrepreneurs at a great new networking event, called Entrepreneur Evenings, that the key to a successful public relations program isn’t about media – it’s about delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time and using the right delivery mechanism.

Here’s a copy of the slide deck that I used.

Do you agree or disagree? What PR and marketing tools do you borrow from the Steve Jobs for your startup?

If you have any questions or disagree with anything I say then I’d love to hear from you on, @THINK_Lyndon on Twitter, or call me at +1 647.773.2677.

It’s us, not you! How PR agencies calculate retainers.

Public Relations, Retainers, Retainer, PR, Startups
“The CFO will determine the baseline hours, and the available client hours, for each staff person… [and] can create budgets that will be the basis of your fee quotes.”

You know when you talk with a traditional PR agency and one of the first questions they ask is, “what’s your budget?”.  This question often comes long before important questions about desired outcomes, commercial objectives, the target audience and what you’ve already tried. It should be no surprise then that, when the proposal arrives, it matches the budget you told them you have.

Have you ever wondered how they come up with the number that most PR agencies use for their average monthly retainer?  This article from PRNews explains how it’s more about their needs than it is about yours.  It explains that agencies should use the CFO to use their budget as the basis for setting their retainer fees, rather than one based on value and creating a plan that helps your business achieve its commercial goals.

This is one of the reasons that I started THINK | DIFFERENT [LY].  Your business deserves a PR plan that will help you deliver the outcomes it needs, rather than one that is built based on the number of billable hours the agency needs to meet its payroll.  It’s why we publish our hourly rates, give our customers control over what they spend – down to a single hour – and develop custom plans for each startup and small business we work with.

If your current agency doesn’t pro-actively look for opportunities to reduce your PR costs then we need to talk.  You need to THINK | DIFFERENT [LY]