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.



How to use video to differentiate your marketing

Yesterday I was talking with @mone_Knows  about innovation in PR.  I mentioned how very few companies have worked out how to use video as part of their public relations, marketing and online customer service activities, and she showed me a video that glasses retailer Warby Parker had made for her when she was looking for a new pair.

I tweeted the company that I liked what the company was doing and they made me a video to say thank you.  Very cool – and not just because they made me a video.  They could have made it about them but they didn’t – it was about me.  It’s not a sales video, there’s no hard sell… it’s friendly, personal and – because it’s video – it shows a little of the personality of the brand.  It also demonstrates that using video as part of your PR, marketing and customer service activities can be quick [their video came just a couple of hours after my original tweet], cost-effective and builds a relationship with an audience – whether its customers, prospects, journalists or influencers.

Check out Warby Parker’s YouTube channel to see how they’re doing it.  None of the videos has a huge number of views – and that’s OK.  It’s not the point.  The videos aren’t about viewer numbers, they’re about building a personal relationship with their audience.   And, before you think that it only works because Warby Parker is a consumer business, think again.  Video works for B2B businesses too – you just have to figure out how best to use it for your target audience.

So, next time you’re wondering how to differentiate your business, and build a relationship with a target audience, think video.


I wanted to share my thoughts on a problem that fellow startup communications professional @MarkEvans wrote about recently.  He asked the question, ‘where are Canada’s Startup Marketers?‘ and also offered his take on why good marketing people are hard to find in the startup community.

Here’s my response to Mark’s question and my thoughts on why there are very few good marketing people helping entrepreneurs.

Are you an entrepreneur? Do you agree with Mark?  What are the problems you encounter when you’re looking for marketing and PR support for your startup?  Leave your comments below or send me a video and I’ll add it to this post.

Want to create a viral video? Just

What can marketeers learn from a pop video when trying to figure out to engage an audience? Watch the video for the Radiohead song Just and you’ll find out.

The video was released in 1995 and for years fans of the band flooded user groups, discussion forums and music websites asking one question: what did the guy say to get them all to lie down? The band have said they’ll never tell, lip-readers have analysed the video, fans have had their say… but as nobody knows, the debate goes on!

Who owns online video?

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while and now seems an appropriate time to do so.  It’s unfortunate that the stimulus is a horrendous crash at the Daytona Speedway in Florida on the day before the famous 500, and my thoughts are with all those involved.

Video is without doubt the hottest properties in social media.  It’s growing exponentially and will continue to do so in the coming years, whether it is so-called ‘citizen journalism’ aired by news organizations to break stories or add colour, videos created by brands or their fans and posted online via sites like YouTube, MetaCafe or DailyMotion, or short videos shot on cell phones using apps like Vine.  If, as we’re told, a picture tells a thousand words then video is worth… well, you get the point.  One of the biggest challenges – as highlighted today by video shot by fans at the Daytona Raceway of a crash involving around 12 cars and which resulted in debris landing in the grandstand – is who owns the rights to that video.

Reports on twitter suggest that video posted to YouTube by fans has been removed on copyright grounds.  It’s unclear whether this is part of an ongoing agreement between the channel and NASCAR that automatically removes anything relating to the sport’s governing body or as a direct request.  [Note: at the time of writing I checked YouTube and some videos of Daytona – both of previous years’ races and today’s crash remain on the site.  I did not find any of the debris in the grandstand after a brief search but there may be some.  Mainstream media is showing some video of the accident and photographs of the debris at this time].  Whatever the specifics it raises issues that every PR, marketing and social media team needs to consider.

Brands are encouraging fans to share videos that support its products and services but what do they do when something like this happens.  Where does a brand draw the line when it comes to events that are being broadcast on mainstream media channels or streamed online to paying subscribers?  What constitutes brand fanning and what impinges on the rights of mainstream media?  What happens when a tragedy like today’s crash at Daytona happens?

I don’t have the answers – there is no one-size-fits all solution that can be applied to every  organization or situation.  Each organization needs, however, to have a policy – and a plan for crisis management – and apply it uniformly.  It’s a conversation that involves PR, marketing and social media teams, commercial broadcast partners, event partners – like the Daytona Motor Speedway – and their respective lawyers.

My biggest concern with events like those at Daytona is that video – and reports – collected from members of the public needs to be treated with caution because, while it tells a story of what the individual experienced, it may not necessarily tell the whole story.  Context is a critical in cases of citizen journalism – but that’s a whole other conversation for another day.

Update: 8pm ET

ESPN is sharing, via Twitter, a statement issued by NASCAR and attributed to SVP and  Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps explaining that the organization took steps to block fan videos on YouTube because the severity of the situation was unknown and out of respect to those involved.  It has been met with mixed reactions from some on Twitter.

As a marketeer and PR guy I can understand why NASCAR would adopt this position.  I have not seen the censored videos, but would have had somebody monitoring anything uploaded to social channels so that a decision could be taken on each one individually.  No doubt NASCAR has a crisis communications plan, but this demonstrates how even the best laid plans can be tested in an era of real-time communications.  We’re all learning as we go and anybody that tells you otherwise should be treated with caution.

Update: 9am Sunday 24th

The videos have, it would appear, now been published by YouTube.

The Rules of Viral Success

It’s a question I get asked frequently, to which my response is, ‘it’s easy’. ‘Really?’ I see people’s faces light up… ‘Yes,’ I say. ‘All you have to do is create a piece of content that people want to watch and share.’  At this point the smile usually disappears.

The problem is that, in the B2B space at least, all too often companies are more interested in including their message, their logo, their CEO, their product pitch… than they are engaging the viewer or creating content that people want to watch and share.  I try to explain that the success of a video – certainly one that might be viewed by thousands – or millions – of people isn’t about promoting the maker or a product or service, but about engaging the viewer.

I’ve already talked about the success of the Chipotle brand video, which has been viewed by millions on YouTube. Given the target market – the general public – you could say it’s an easier job for a B2C business to achieve viral success for a video. On that basis, there should be a lot more successful viral videos from consumer brands than there are. It all comes back to engaging the audience.

So, here’s an example of a successful B2B viral video. How many of you know what Corning does? How many of you have seen the video, ‘A Day Made of Glass’? It’s been viewed by more than 18 million people – the majority of whom had no idea what the company sells.

You might ask how has this helped Corning’s business. After all, how many of the 18 million views are by potential customers? Not very many, admittedly. But, the follow-up – a video entitled ‘A Day in Glass 2: Unpacked’, which contains details about the company’s products, key messages and positioning statements has been viewed almost 700,000 times. How many of those viewers are potential Corning customers? Probably quite a few!!

I’ll post an explanation of why Corning’s video went viral over the next couple of days.  In the mean time, if you want to find out how you can increase your chances of creating a viral success get in touch…

2012 – The year online brand advertising comes of age?

I came across this video at the launch of Deloitte TMT Predictions 2012 a few weeks ago and I’ve been wanting to post about it ever since.  2012 is, according to Deloitte, going to be huge for online brand advertising.  One of the major strengths of this is that the Chipotle brand is only on-screen for between seven and ten seconds – the rest communicates the message… beautifully!

The result is that, at the time of posting, almost six million people have seen the advert on YouTube alone.  Six million x 7 seconds is… a lot!

Are there any other examples of amazing online brand adverts you know of?