The cross-over between the digital and the physical space continues as Starbucks and Apple roll out their “purchase what’s playing” strategy. Coupled with an iTunes device, you can now impulsively purchase and download music just as the latte hits your bloodstream. What Apple and Starbucks have embraced here is the incredible power of having thousands of locations all over the globe as distribution points for digital media.
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2012 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand management and performance comprehensively. It is the only annual ranking of companies that demonstrate overall, balanced approaches to managing the full spectrum of brand and related intangible assets, providing an indicator of total business strength and effectiveness.
Some of the world’s most valuable and well-known companies share a common brand trait that has not been explored in depth. Apple, Dell, Ford, Google, Mars, Microsoft, Nike, Starbucks and Wal-Mart, to name just a few, are “founder brands.” These are brands where the founder or founding family exercises significant influence over the management of the brand and direction of the business. Davis Brand Capital identifies the qualities that define founder brands and explores some of the challenges in managing them for maximum value.
In its August issue, Vanity Fair charges Microsoft with losing its mojo, pinning much of the blame on CEO Steve Ballmer. While the article makes some useful and valid observations, it never completes the circle, relating them back fully to the larger, underlying issue that ails brand Microsoft: the company has strayed far from the management and proper deployment of its founding vision.
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2011 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand beyond its traditional marketing function and considers it as a blend of key intangibles. It is the only annual ranking of companies demonstrating comprehensive and balanced approaches to managing the full spectrum of brand capital, which provides an indication of the strength and effectiveness of an entire business.
One need not stretch too far, nor have particularly partisan views, to accept arguments that ours is a culture marked by institutional collapse. Confidence on Wall Street and in capitalism itself slipped with the tarnishing of names AIG, Lehman and Merrill Lynch (among others) during the Great Recession. Trust in the U.S. government eroded along party lines, calling into question the integrity of the democratic process, on the path to health care reform. Faith in the Catholic Church continued to fold just last week under the weight of yet another round of scandal fueled by priests preying on the most vulnerable. On somewhat lighter fronts: there is no longer a "most trusted man in news" when every adman is a newsman, and so many newsmen an advertisement (or plagiarist). Science is more politicized than ever, the clarity of its objective truths clouded by a climate of competing interests. If our cultural institutions are not as strong as they once were, where is one to place belief?
When Steve Jobs took to the stage in San Francisco's Moscone Center on January 27, the world knew what to expect: Apple would finally announce its long-awaited tablet. With that pre-determined focus and the anticipatory roar for the next "insanely great" thing, most missed the larger announcement of the day. Steve Jobs did not simply announce the company's latest creation; he completed a task first made public in January 2007, when the company dropped "Computer" from its name to become Apple, Inc. The real news hidden in plain view as Jobs unveiled iPad was the repositioning of the company that created the personal computer.
Recently, Slate's Ben Sheffer presented Apple's case against Gawker's Tablet Scavenger Hunt, suggesting the web pub's Valleywag blog may be inducing Apple employees to violate trade secret law. But to measure the potential loss for Apple solely in terms of trade secrets is to overlook a much larger violation not just to Apple, but to the customer as well.
Microsoft ranks #4 on the Davis Brand Capital 25, besting twelfth-place rival Apple. Despite taking some hits in a year-long advertising tit-for-tat with Mac, Microsoft joins fellow technology brands IBM (#1), HP (#3) and Cisco Systems (#5) at the top of this year's list. The Davis Brand Capital 25 is the only annual list to evaluate brand as an amalgam of intangibles, including brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact. Microsoft's top-five ranking is a reflection of the company's successful management of its brand capital across a diverse portfolio of technology products and services.
Nearly two months after we first met Lauren, Mac has tapped its own laptop hunter. Like Lauren, Giampaolo, Lisa and Jackson, Megan values big screens and fast processors. But unlike her PC-loving predecessors, Megan's final factor is usability.
The hunt for my wife’s new laptop just got more difficult. Apple recently announced a planned reduction in prices for a pair of to-be-announced Macs. And the blogosphere is brimming with speculation.
I’m no fan of Microsoft’s laptop hunter campaign. I’ve said my piece on the Lauren and Giampaolo spots, both desperate attempts to bolster sales in a down economy and paint PCs with the “cool” brush CPB so effortlessly wields. On the plus side, the third installment stops playing HP favorites, and the mother-son duo moves us away from the SAG-gy hipsters we’ve stomached to date. Still, there's no brand advancement, and when there’s a chance to land a hard jab on Apple, Microsoft manages only a glancing blow.
Microsoft’s laptop hunters are back. This time we follow Giampaolo, a tech-savvy Roman import with “really big hands” (heh... good one, CPB). He’s looking for “portability, battery life, and power.” Portability you say? In a laptop?
What’s the better recession strategy: being the pricier brand everyone wants, or being the more affordable second choice? Microsoft is betting the farm on the latter with its latest attempt to counter Apple’s I’m a Mac campaign.
It’s rare to see the first person applied effectively to brand voice. Corona beer does it brilliantly, visually transporting consumers to pristine beaches unsullied by human form. Apple's "Get a Mac" campaign does it metaphorically, caricaturing “PC” as a bumbling, insecure uncle scrambling to hide his inadequacies from a hipper counterpart. But Microsoft’s attempt to counterpunch by commandeering “I’m a PC” as a populist rally cry failed.
I must admit, I really did not want to like the new Microsoft campaign. I found the initial “Shoe Circus” spot to be silly and irrelevant — an effort that came off as simply trying “too hard” to be funny and awkwardly hip. Then came the joyfully odd bit of suburban “connection” in the latest spot for Microsoft. I love it, have watched it numerous times, and have forwarded it to many people. I have been converted to a Microsoft marketer, if no longer a customer.
Apple and iTunes have revolutionized the way we purchase and consume music. But there are newer and more exciting things happening in the world of digital music than the ubiquitous 99-cent download. And if you don’t think it’s true, perhaps you’re just a self-centered Mac-o-phile. (Don’t take it personally. I’m one, too.)
In 1984, the Apple Macintosh brought the humble mouse widespread fame in the personal computing marketplace. By the looks of things, Apple may just be the big cat that puts the mouse out of its misery. Will your next Mac be the first computer to abandon the tried and true mouse interface entirely?
Shortly after Tim Cook succeeded Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple AAPL +0.16% in August 2011, he told a confidant that he got up every morning reminding himself just to do the right thing—and not to think about what Steve would have done. But Jobs's ghost loomed everywhere after he died from pancreatic cancer two months later.
You grow old, you slow down, and you die. That is, unless you can inject some fresh blood. After watching the last generation of tech giants wither or stagnate, today’s juggernauts are relying on acquisitions to keep them young and relevant. Check out the interactive infographic below to compare the size, frequency, and focus of the last 15 years of acquisitions by Apple, Amazon, Google, Yahoo, and Facebook.
Apple has been granted a patent by the USPTO today (via AppleInsider) that could fit in with its apparent plans to get into health and fitness tracking in a big way: the document describes a headphone system that builds in sensors to detect heart rate, temperature, perspiration and other info to track a user’s movements and activity levels.
Attention: Announcing 2014, the third annual “year of mobile.” Yes, we have been hearing this line since 2012, but it seems that 2014 is poised to finally be the year that mobile becomes a mainstream marketing solution. Consumer adoption of smartphones and tablets is now ubiquitous. Take for example my parents, considered part of the “Silent Generation” (precursor to the Baby Boom generation).
Don’t let a weak brand leave you dead on arrival. While many people focus on building a successful brand, it is just as important to understand how to avoid killing your brand to begin with. Spending thousands or millions of dollars and countless hours on a brand that is ineffective is an exercise in frustration too many CEOs unwittingly engage in.
The next time someone asks for a good example of irony, send them to the video above of Apple’s holiday commercial and tell them it’s called “Misunderstood.” Ninety seconds later, without a word of dialogue, it’s nearly impossible to fail to understand exactly what Apple is selling.
As our everyday technology morphs and evolves, it’s hard to predict what lurks right around the corner. But whatever comes next, odds are that it will carry some echo of the iconic products here. Each one of them continues to define countless objects in our daily lives.
This week, Apple unveiled the first large-scale integration of iBeacon, a technology that, when coupled with their fingerprint identification system, may be another building block in building a revolutionary new payment system.
From fast food to fast fashion, a glass telephone to plastic money, some brands don't merely influence our spending habits—they determine who we are. All are household names, not just on our shores but all over the globe.
Pre-IPO Twitter is trying to get in on Irish loopholes like Apple, Google, HP and Facebook before it’s too late. Such is the push-me-pull-you of global tax “planning.”
The last time the J.Crew CEO got his hands dirty with a major brand's big bricks-and-mortar move, he was working for Steve Jobs. Here’s what that could mean for Warby Parker.
Apple, as it promised, has just managed to "brighten everyone's day" with a big news conference that revealed the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C to the world. It was a powerful, detail-packed event that focused heavily on the iPhone.
Move Comes Amid Industry Trend of More Marketers Bringing Agency Services In-House
Which clients do senior talent from the world's leading creative agencies most want to work with?
If there's one reason to hope for an Apple iWatch, it's so that the wearable technology market has some small glimmer of hope of learning what looks good.
On July 10, 2008, Apple launched the App Store, an online hub where iPhone owners could browse and download apps from third party developers. More than anyone could have expected, this became a defining moment in the history of personal computing.
Initial reactions to Apple hiring Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve have focused on the iWatch.
The company's patent will hide portions of a device's display until it's actually needed.
The European data protection activists behind the Europe v Facebook (evf) campaign group, that has long been a thorn in Facebook’s side in Europe, have filed new complaints under regional data protection law targeting Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Skype and Yahoo for their alleged collaboration with the NSA’s Prism data collection program.
Trends shape societal opinion and offer insights on where we’re headed as a global community.
Millennial and teen iPhone purchase intent dropped sharply. Has Apple lost its cool?
So the PC is doomed, but classic PC companies may not be.
The fact of the matter is that the busier we are, the faster we need to be able to process information. Pictures are simply easier to scan. Like it or not, people don’t have a lot of time, or patience, for words.
Do you think Apple, famously protective over its brand and image, should have a quiet word with Carlsberg, or is it a storm in a pint jug?
The patent describes designs that could have a seamless, continuous surface resembling the fourth generation iPod nano, as well as other shapes closer to the current iPhone, but with every surface a touch-sensitive glass display.
Apple has indeed managed a significant turnaround in India’s smartphone market, according to new figures out from IDC today.
In today’s world of changing business models, mass entrepreneurs, and a growing “maker economy,” we find a hotbed of innovation ecosystems.
Omni-channel is the future of retail, but it may not be right for everyone just yet. However, by taking one or more of these steps in 2013, your organization will be closer to achieving an omni-channel reality and demonstrate to your customers that you’re serious about building the ultimate customer experience.
This sense of secrecy extends to the highest levels of the organization.
What is it about tech that allows these corporate giants to enjoy so much love?
What's striking about Fast Company's 2013 list of the world's 50 most innovative companies is the relative absence of large, established firms. Instead the list is dominated by the big technology winners of the past 20 years that have built innovation into their DNA, and a lot of smaller, newer start-ups. So why doesn't innovation thrive in mature organizations?
Forbes lists the best Superbowl ads of all time...
Just how is Apple able to perform so much better than other consumer electronics retailers and world-renowned brands? And more important, why haven’t any of them been able to duplicate Apple’s magic formula yet?
Microsoft Corp. seems to be serious about its foray into the tablet market – the software giant is planning large volume production of its first tablet computer, Surface, in the fourth quarter.
Apple's apology for the shortcomings of its Maps app demonstrates once again why its branding goes so far beyond what most marketers are willing to consider. Every CMO should take note of the power of acknowledging reality.
The New York Times this morning announced a new HTML5 web app for iPad, rounding out their lineup of web and tablet products for digital subscribers. The Times is soliciting feedback from its users about the app and its features, which suggests that it’s looking at this as a way to experiment with a non-native delivery method, but isn’t quite sure about how consumers will respond.
Sony dominated consumer electronics for decades, but that was a long time ago.
In short, what was a tired, nearly bankrupt Macintosh company has become the leading marketer of innovation that makes our lives remarkably better. So we care – a lot – about the products Apple offers, how it sells them and how much they cost. We want to know how we can apply them to solve even more problems for ourselves, colleagues, customers and suppliers.
Publishing insiders worry that a decisive court ruling benefiting retailer Amazon.com Inc. will undermine an industry already struggling with the transition to e-books.
Last week’s sweeping victory for the [Apple] in a bitter patent dispute with Samsung came exactly a year after its reins were passed from Jobs to Tim Cook – who duly used the legal victory to rally Apple’s employees and restate values such as “originality and innovation” that Jobs had epitomised. In doing so, Mr Cook illustrated how brands can try to cope with being orphaned by a founding figurehead.
Kodak's auction of intellectual property has yet to produce a sale. But it has had one unlikely result: turning the fiercest rivals in the global patent battle into potential collaborators.
In January of 2007, not long after Steve Jobs unveiled Apple's first iPhone at that year's Macworld conference, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer sat down for an interview with CNBC in which he was asked about his initial reaction to his competitor's new device. He guffawed. Really, whole-heartedly guffawed. "$500 full-subsidized with a plan!" he said. "[It] is the most expensive phone in the world and it doesn't appeal to business customers because it doesn't have a keyboard which makes it not a very good email machine."
Microsoft Corp. unveiled its own Windows-powered tablet computer called Surface, altering its strategy of focusing on software and relying on partners to make the machines in a renewed attempt to take on Apple iPad.
Android users are correct to complain that the iPhone often gets new features that are old for Android, but as loud as they may shout, they're the only ones listening. Apple truly flexes its muscles at the power of its brand.
There will be plenty of bits spilled over the next few days about whether Apple is going extinct, whether Jobs’ touch was integral to the Apple experience, and whether this was “The.Worst.Keynote.Ever.” I posit, however, that Apple still has a few good years left and this keynote – a precise and well-orchestrated experience dedicated mostly to software – is proof that the Apple vision runs far deeper than the efforts of a figurehead CEO.
Apple Inc. occupies an enviable position in the tech world. But it also faces unique challenges—including charting its course after the death of the visionary Steve Jobs. The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher spoke with Apple's new chief executive officer, Tim Cook, about the future of the company's signature product lines, and what he plans to change.
The iPhone maker rejects a donation-focused third-party payment system, saying it violates the App Store's terms and conditions. But does it actually have more to do with competition?
Every company is struggling to nail down their core target group. If only they could define it, life--or at least business--would be a whole lot easier. They could then channel resources and focus energy in the right direction.
Tablets are on track to fundamentally change the computing landscape. The handheld devices of various shapes and sizes will be in the hands of 34 percent of the U.S. population by 2016, predicts James McQuivey, principal analyst at Forrester Research.
If you find yourself with Siri envy but don't want to pony up the $600 for a phone, you may be able to get that same level of convenience and computerized companionship in your car. Nuance's Dragon Drive enables automotive manufacturers to offer natural language voice commands for vehicle telematics, which will enhance usability and could reduce distracted driving.
Roger McNamee, the managing director and co-founder of venture capital firm Elevation Partners, has a theory about how Apple became the biggest U.S. technology growth story of all time: “The thing that made Apple successful was betting against the web,” he said.
Google, Apple and Amazon are vying to become literature's new gatekeepers. But good publishing is about more than market share.
The publishing industry has a problem. The old guard haven't innovated. And neither their business models nor their products embrace the digital books revolution.
After releasing two generations of iPhones with exactly the same form factor, Apple is expected to show off a new chassis design — and possibly new materials — in its sixth-generation smartphone. And a little-known alloy that Apple has quietly been using for the past two years could be just the ticket to make consumers swoon.
With the recent software available to allow easy creation of interactive books and with the race to bring these products to market, there seems to be a more and more dilution of quality and a loss for the meaning of interactivity. When publishers create new eBook titles or convert a traditional printed book to a digital interactive eBook, they often miss the added value this new medium can provide.
In an era when entire companies and long-time brands are disappearing, why do Americans trust certain brands and not others? What is trust?
Adam Lashinsky's new book Inside Apple offers lots of intriguing material about Steve Jobs and the strategic choices, design principles, and business tactics that created the most valuable company on earth. But for all of Lashinsky's behind-the-scenes material about Apple's legendary leader, it was a public story about Apple's new leader, CEO Tim Cook, that captured my attention — and offered a powerful insight for leaders everywhere looking to create value in their organizations.
Remember Next Issue Media, the “Hulu for Digital Magazines” consortium made up of the biggest names in publishing? It has finally delivered something worth talking about: Call it Netflix for Magazines. The pitch is simple and intuitive: All the magazines you want, delivered digitally to your tablet, for a flat fee of either $10 or $15 a month.
While Apple and Google are busy getting bad press for their privacy issues, labor practices and general big-evil-company wrongdoings, Microsoft has done some brand regeneration, making it look like the hippest tech company on the block these days.
Auto makers are deeply concerned that Millennials don’t care about vehicles nearly as much as they do about the next iPhone. So the companies have become decidedly more intent on roping in these car-reluctant twenty-somethings. That’s one big reason why, for instance, Ford has decided to set up shop, literally, in Silicon Valley, and why General Motors has turned for marketing advice to MTV.
The innovation game is changing. Delivering great products is no longer sufficient for success. And as the Fire's limited memory, ho-hum processor, and and lack of camera demonstrate, great products may not even be necessary. Rather, what matters is delivering great solutions.
why is it that consumers are still paying through the nose for e-book titles that ought to cost a fraction of the price charged for the used hardcover version?
Microsoft and Apple should hate one another right now. I mean, really hate each other. After decades of domination, Microsoft has watched their rival move from death’s door to become the most valuable company in the world
Apple, Inc. is on fire. The Cupertino-based company's stock soared past $490 per share on Thursday and is now hovering around $495. Shortly after 3 p.m. on Thursday, the company's market cap was valued at $461 billion, according to Google Finance. This makes Apple slightly bigger than both Microsoft and Google combined. Currently, Microsoft's market cap sits close to $258 billion, and Google's is $199 billion.
Apple has edged out IBM to become the top brand of 2011, according to an annual list from marketing strategy firm Davis Brand Capital. The Cupertino-based company ousted IBM, which topped the list in 2009 and 2010.
Coca-Cola is the only Atlanta-headquartered company to make the 2011 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking which “provides an indication of the strength and effectiveness of an entire business.” The annual ranking measures brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact.
The iPhone, iPad, and Mac maker topped the Davis list for the first time this year, ousting IBM, which had come in first in 2009 and 2010. Following those two are a handful of other technology companies including Microsoft, Google, and Hewlett-Packard. "(Apple's) rise in this year's rankings was driven largely by its competitive performance and added brand value," Davis said in a press release. So how does the company come up with these rankings?
Because you work in advertising or media, a little more is expected of you when it comes to Super Bowl advertising knowledge. It's not enough to mindlessly chuckle along with the masses at the CareerBuilder monkeys or Volkswagen's body-image-obsessed canine. You need to be able drop some serious knowledge on this, advertising's biggest day, whilst juggling a microbrew and a plate of nachos.
Companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, and many other digital platforms and services have created a new, virtual public sphere that is largely shaped, built, owned, and operated by private companies. These companies now mediate human relationships of all kinds, including the relationship between citizens and governments. They exercise a new layer of sovereignty over what we can and cannot do with our digital lives, on top of and across the sovereignty of governments. Sometimes—as with the Arab spring—these corporate-run global platforms can help empower citizens to challenge their governments. But at other times, they can constrain our freedom in insidious ways, sometimes in cooperation with governments and sometimes independently. The result is certainly not as rosy as Apple’s marketing department would have us believe.
Remember all that talk before the holidays about the blissful union between brick-and-mortar retailers and mobile users? Retailers seemed to have accepted that many of their customers shop with smartphones in hand — and retailers even appeared to be embracing it. A Deloitte consultant who follows these things, Kasey Lobaugh, told Internet Retailer that retailers: "... need to invest in providing customer connectivity in the store, including in-store Wi-Fi, ... building functionality that best serves the customer at the 'point of need' and thinking about the capabilities that align with the customer's location and context, as the customer may be in the store with a smartphone in hand or in a variety of other locations and scenarios." Indeed, Macy's, Sears, and Nordstrom boasted about their in-store free Wi-Fi. Personally, I realized this meant I no longer had to chase after the Home Depot staff whose "Ask Me" shirts always seem to be disappearing just around the far end of the aisle. I could now ask my iPhone.
Shortly after taking the top job at J.C. Penney Co. last fall, Chief Executive Ron Johnson signed up for the company's email alerts. He was shocked by what landed in his inbox. The former Apple Inc. retail executive was deluged by sales announcements, sometimes two a day. He and his team counted 590 separate sales last year. They didn't bring in shoppers—Mr. Johnson's team found the average customer purchased only four times a year—but they did crush prices. Alarmingly, he learned nearly three-quarters of Penney's products sold at discounts of 50% or more. Three months into the job, J.C. Penney Chief Executive Ron Johnson is planning a far-reaching but risky overhaul of the department store format.
Usually the question comes right after I tell an audience that I put former Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley on my "Innovation Mount Rushmore" as a reminder of the importance of investing time and energy to understand the target market.
Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, who made the BlackBerry a leading business tool but then presided over its precipitous decline, said they would step down on Monday as co-chairmen and co-chief executives of Research in Motion. The two men, in developing the innovative device that was the first to reliably deliver e-mail over airwaves, turned a tiny Canadian company into a global electronics giant. But they are stepping aside after disappointing investors and leaving customers wondering whether RIM still has the ability to compete, and perhaps even survive, in the rapidly changing markets for smartphones and tablet computers.
Sydney Finkelstein, the Steven Roth, Professor of Management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, published “Why Smart Executives Fail” 8 years ago. In it, he shared some of his research on what over 50 former high-flying companies – like Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, Rubbermaid, and Schwinn – did to become complete failures. It turns out that the senior executives at the companies all had 7 Habits in common. Finkelstein calls them the Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives.
Steve Jobs was a visionary, a brilliant innovator who reshaped entire industries by the force of his will, a genius at giving consumers not only what they wanted, but what they didn't yet know they wanted. He was also a world-class a**hole.
Apple television rumors have swirled for years. But only now do we know that when speaking to his official biographer, Steve Jobs was keen to reinvent the television. And after ages trying to polish it into a user-friendly interface to video content he finally felt he'd "cracked it." Excitement has grown quickly since this revelation, but one analyst--Gene Munster--has checked with his sources and says that test HDTV prototypes are already in the pipeline, suggesting the device could be en route sooner than we thought.
In a few days Fast Company’s next magazine issue will begin arriving in newsstands and mailboxes. The issue has four different covers, and one of them features a picture of Steve Jobs. But this is not a commemorative obituary. In fact, the issue had already been printed at our plant when Jobs passed away. Instead the magazine offers a forward-looking analysis of what’s next for Apple--and how it will be battling with America’s three other favorite tech companies: Amazon, Facebook, and Google. We’ve dubbed this coming clash “The Great Tech War of 2012.”
One constant of the outpouring of grief over the death of Steve Jobs has been modified Apple logos, including creative use of apples in front of Apple stores. What few realize is that this capacity to fiddle with Apple's most recognizable bit of brand identity, and at the same time not lose any of that identity, speaks to the power of even the simplest element of what the Apple brand is.
While there are many things worth celebrating of Steve Jobs's life, the greatest gift Steve gave us is a way to design our own lives.
While there are many things worth celebrating of Steve Jobs' life, the greatest gift Steve gave us is a way to design our own lives.
People are getting antsy for the iPhone 5—agitated, even. And all the anticipation may be building the mythical gadget into something greater than it is—people may end up being disappointed if it doesn't wipe your bottom along with everything else.
For many of Apple’s customers, investors and fans, the most important thing about new chief executive Tim Cook is that he is not Steve Jobs.
Last night in after-hours trading, Apple's stock dropped precipitously. The prophets of Apple's doom emerged after a very long hibernation. Even those bullish on Apple's prospects could hardly muster more than lukewarm praise of Tim Cook's appointment to CEO of Apple Inc, saying, "he's pretty good, but he's no Steve Jobs." We believe they're all missing the point. Jobs has managed to perform the ultimate feat of leadership — he's embedded himself so deeply within the cultural fabric of Apple that the company no longer needs him.
At first blush, the consumer appeal of a business like Groupon seems pretty obvious. The popular deal-of-the-day Internet start-up sells vouchers to restaurants, spas, and other local businesses at major markdowns--and who wouldn't want to score a 100-dollar sports massage for 50 bucks?
Not long ago, market research shop Millward Brown released a ranking of the world's most valuable brands. For the first time, Apple topped the list. The value of its brand was $153 billion, up 84 percent year on year. Yes, Apple spends lavishly on promoting its brand, but the study attributed the spike in brand valuation to the impact of two products — the iPad and, to a lesser extent, the iPhone.
Steve Jobs turned Apple Inc. into the world's most valuable technology company with high-tech products like the iPad and iPhone. But one anchor of Apple's success is surprisingly low tech: its chain of brick-and-mortar retail stores.
Atari SA, a onetime pace-setter in videogames, has a new plan to become relevant again.
The ‘emotional’ revolution that has engulfed the marketing world is undeniable: brands are constantly seeking to win our wallets by way of our hearts. The mythmakers of Madison Ave did so by crafting poignant stores that masked products’ imperfections or downright uselessness. Though today’s marketers are forced to meet a slightly higher standard of credibility, their goal is still to teach us how their brand is supposed to make us feel. It seems it’s not enough for soap to clean and moisturize – it must also compel us to philosophize about what it means to be beautiful
Working with brands every day, we can get lost in all the ways to measure and monitor them. To best help them grow, we need to take a step back to remember why we get excited about brands in the first place. We at Clear wanted to get back to the heart of what brands do and why they matter: creating desire. We asked ourselves a simple question: Which brands are the most desired, and what is it that makes one brand more desirable than another? Then we spoke to 17,000 people across the globe to find out.
Many companies now have senior officers in charge of customer experience. The executives' role is to define the attributes of the customer experience in partnership with their operational colleagues, organize the customer-satisfaction-measurement process against those attributes, and encourage remedial action wherever warranted. What they hardly ever have, though, is an approach to evolve the design of the customer experience, let alone create a new experience.
Toys "R" Us will soon be selling iPads alongside G.I. Joes, PlayStation games, and Legos. And did you know? One in five U.S. teens owns a tablet PC (which basically means an iPad). iPads: Apple's doin' it for the kids.
Just 13 years ago, Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy. Today, it is the world's most admired tech company. Steve Jobs can be credited for the drastic turnaround. But how did he do it? By thinking differently, innovating, and being controversial.
How many will we carry? What will they look like? What will they do?
The magic lies in how it's managed, and that must come from the very top of the company.
To no one’s surprise, including mine, Apple once again has the industry all abuzz about their latest innovation – the iPad2. After months of speculation and free press, Apple unveiled—through their charismatic and enigmatic leader, Steve Jobs—how they intend to extend their dominance over the rapidly expanding tablet market with the iPad2. As much as I admire Apple’s relentless pursuit and delivery of innovation, it’s their stranglehold on customer sentiment and the media in particular that I find even more impressive and, frankly, enviable. The question is, “Is it sustainable?”
Hundreds of naming rights are up for sale nationwide at schools, parks, government buildings and boat launches, as money problems among cities and states create monuments such as Chicago's BP Bridge and AT&T Plaza.
Corporate reputation is very fragile. What takes years to build can be ruined overnight. Just ask BP, Toyota or Goldman Sachs. This year some of the nation's biggest companies and corporate brands faced disasters, privacy breaches and product recalls that underscore the fragility of corporate reputation and consumer trust in big companies.
New and fresh ideas usually come from an awareness of new opportunities in the marketplace. It can be challenging for iconic brands to take advantage of new opportunity and remain relevant to people. Iconic brands tend to lose their relevance long before the cash they generate begins to dry up. Once they lose their luster, iconic cash cow brands are nearly impossible to change.
The HP Slate has been announced and the blogosphere seems to be a little confused, not least because many of us thought this was never going to see the light of day.
We all know the fundamental issue: consumers are suffering from attention deficit disorder brought on by too much choice. Now the moral imperatives brought on by concerns over global warming—to buy local, to buy green—are layered on top of an already bewildering variety of alternatives. People are recognizing that every purchase decision has consequences, but figuring out what the consequences really are is tough.
Dell is to try and draw a line under its poor performance this year with a new strategy: don't mention the low prices; and spend a whole heap of money on advertising. Paul-Henri Ferrand, CMO for the firm's global consumer, and small and medium business division told Reuters on Wednesday that it would start to put the emphasis on premium products as well as its cheaper options, and spend "hundreds and hundreds of millions" on an ad campaign for its new products, of which its laptops will come with the added goodness of JBL speakers.
Ask any teenager the coolest place to listen to music online, and you'll likely be told Pandora. The service has 65 million registered users who tune in for customized streams of, say, artists similar to Lady Gaga or a selection of rockabilly or rap, interrupted by just a handful of ads per hour. Until now, though, Pandora has had trouble reaching people in their cars, where most Americans do the bulk of their radio listening.
Apple has trademarked the phrase "There's an app for that," a slogan that has just abut entered common usage in reference to, well, just about anything.
How a tiny piece of software created by a few Google engineers is ushering in the mobile revolution and reshaping the fortunes of the world's biggest tech companies.
Here's a thought: 21st century organizations need not just half a brain — but a whole, full, complete brain, where both halves work in unison and harmony. Let me explain, by way of an example. It hurts your eyes to look at it. It's making designers world-wide recoil in amazement and horror. The latest installment of Aliens vs Predator? Nope — it's the Gap's new logo.
I will always remember my first introduction to the power of good product design. I was newly arrived at Apple, still learning the ways of business, when I was visited by a member of Apple's Industrial Design team. He showed me a foam mockup of a proposed product. "Wow," I said, "I want one! What is it?" That experience brought home the power of design: I was excited and enthusiastic even before I knew what it was.
A new study out of the very well-branded Duke University and Tel Aviv University asks if brands are the new religion. The study, which can be downloaded at Marketing Science, goes by the not-at-all sensational title "Brands: The Opiate of Non-Religious Masses?" The researchers posit that "brands and religiosity may serve as substitutes for one another because both allow individuals to express their feelings of self-worth." It's a theory that will cause a reaction within the professional branding community, and that reaction will be "Duh."
Cybersquatters have a new target: App names on Apple's App store. Apple is trying to fight them off, but squatting has been a moneyspinning scourge since the dawn of the Interwebs. Cybersquatting--the occupation of a Web address that someone else has a more legitimate claim on, for the purposes of reselling it later--is pretty sordid. Let's not mince word: If you're extorting money out of people whose business, livelihood or Web presence is better served by using a particular URL, you're being evil. A federal law called the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act was set up to protect the rights of individuals to their online presence and intellectual property, but it is frequently broken.
As the digital and social opportunities risk morphing into that all-too-familiar blend of noise and clutter, the simple foundations and "boring basics" really matter. So while the brand "app" may at times feel like yet another one-off, it may in fact represent the most important cornerstone of digital strategy.
Google gave a live demonstration of Google TV at Berlin’s IFA Tuesday, and CEO Eric Schmidt promised it would be a couch potato’s dream come true. “Once you have Google television, you’re going to be very busy,” Schmidt said. “It’s going to ruin your evening.” Google TV is the search giant’s bid to bring the web to the biggest screen in the house in a big way, something TV viewers and web surfers (often the same person) have tended to resist as distinctly different experiences. But as the internet becomes a more viable delivery system for the kind of content we associate with the Barcaloungers and TV sets, Google, Apple and others are trying to get a piece of that action as well.
In a year already marked by innovations, Apple on Wednesday unveiled advances on multiple fronts that drove home its ultimate goal: to become the architect of home entertainment.
Apple's new products have one subtle quality that no company can touch: Cohesion.
Even Apple, which lives in a bubble of its own device-centered success, can't resist the lure of social networking. Today, CEO Steve Jobs formally thrust the company into the social-media fray with an iTunes-based network, Ping. Why would Apple want to get into social networking? It's where consumers are spending most of their internet time, and Apple has millions of iTunes customers as an instant revenue stream. "We think this will be really popular very fast because 160 million people can switch it on today," Mr. Jobs said during his keynote, where he also announced a version of iOS 4 for the iPad and a new $99 version of AppleTV, with 99-cent TV and $4.99 movie rentals.
Whoever said technology was dehumanizing was wrong. On screens everywhere — cellphones, e-readers, A.T.M.’s — as Diana Ross sang, we just want to reach out and touch. Scientists and academics who study how we interact with technology say people often try to import those behaviors into their lives, as anyone who has ever wished they could lower the volume on a loud conversation or Google their brain for an answer knows well. But they say touching screens has seeped into people’s day-to-day existence more quickly and completely than other technological behaviors because it is so natural, intimate and intuitive.
In the age of connected TV, “don’t touch that dial!” has become “don’t change that input!”. Whereas broadcasters were once concerned over viewers changing channels during ad breaks, they are now worried that the public will desert regular television altogether for internet-based content. About a quarter of TVs sold in the US this year will be able to connect to the internet and bypass regular programming, according to research by Parks Associates, while WiFi and Ethernet connections are becoming standard on set-top boxes.
About an hour south of Seoul, bulldozers are demolishing the last vacant factories at Samsung Electronics Co.’s Suwon campus, erasing signs that South Korea’s most valuable public company once made its headquarters in a smoke-fuming industrial complex. In their place are ice cream and pizza parlors, research labs and open space that’s been groomed as parks. Engineers in T-shirts play basketball on this sunny June morning before heading to their choice of nine cafeterias for a free lunch featuring Korean, Indian and Western dishes prepared to please employees from 50 countries. Women, who until recently were forced to wear conservative business suits and were absent from top jobs, stroll through gardens in slacks and formerly banned open-toed shoes, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its October issue. The 28,000 engineers, designers and marketers who arrive by bicycle or one of 556 company-funded buses at this bustling center could be in Silicon Valley or a technology park in India except for a sign at the eight-lane entrance: Samsung Digital City. The campus, along with required English lessons for managers and research into everything from solar cells to humanoid robots, are part of Samsung Electronics’ mission to vault itself into the ranks of the world’s great innovators and become one of the top five brands.
The big question for anyone in television is how to get in front of - rather than be trampled by - the onslaught of seminal change coming from a multitude of places. This year's fall television season unfolds against an increasingly connected world and consumer indifference to how and where they access network fare. Many will access the programs they want to see streaming online from network Web sites and third parties, such as Apple's iTunes.
It’s possible Apple will become more enterprise-centric in the future, but I doubt it. Why? Because Apple doesn’t seem to target markets in the way other companies do. It targets people. It focuses on users. And Apple lets them decide how and where they’ll use its products. This sounds simple, but in my experience very few companies think this way.
Apple's iAd mobile advertising platform is getting favorable reviews from the companies whose advertisements were the first to run on the new system, including Dove soap-maker Unilever and Nissan. App makers like Dictionary.com and CBS Mobile have said iAd is allowing them to charge more for ad space in their applications. Though neither Apple nor the advertisers would share revenue or traffic numbers, they noted that their pilot iAds tended to pull in users and keep them interested for significantly longer than other kinds of digital ads.
As early data on iPad apps trickle in, one thing is clear: It's going to require mountains of metrics for advertisers to pony up for the new platform's ads -- and their high prices. But early data from Conde Nast will bolster the argument the iPad is worth a premium, as it's delivering on reader attention better than other media channels.
I love baseball and will always await the first day of spring training with the ardor of a lover coming home after an exile. But I will never be a baseball player. It’s just not in my make-up. My misery over my failed baseball career is no different than Google’s. The world’s largest search engine covets a key to the magical kingdom called the social web. It would do anything to become part of that exclusive club that, for now, is the domain of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and to some extent, Twitter. Google will do just about anything to get social, like spend a rumored $182 million on San Francisco-based Slide, a head-scratcher of a deal.
While 2009 was arguably the year brands embraced the iPhone, developing apps left and right, the iPad doesn't seem to have inspired the same enthusiasm. Magazines have embraced the iPad, but despite the product's hype, larger screen and dual-touch technology, brands haven't followed suit.
Some of the nation's biggest media companies and advertisers, seeking to develop new ways of measuring audiences, could make Apple Inc.'s iPhone the vehicle for a study of how Americans consume media on a range of devices—from TV sets to mobile phones to computers. The study would be one of the first major initiatives of the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement, a high-profile collaboration between the media and ad industries begun last summer with much fanfare.
The trouble: the T400 doesn’t have “it” quality. It is a business machine in the most pedestrian sense of the term. No trace of elegance. No claim to being the pick of the technological litter. No “wow” factor. The T410 is just another business machine. This takes us into one of the thorniest issue in the branding world. What is “it?” And what’s “it” worth?
Apple Inc. is boosting efforts to appeal to a new type of customer: small businesses. The consumer electronics giant responsible for the iPhone is seeking to hire engineers in as many as a dozen U.S. retail stores to put together Apple-based computer systems for small businesses, according to recent job postings on Apple's website. The employees would implement computer systems for clients and are expected to be proficient in networking hardware and server platforms. "Thousands of businesses run on Apple products," the posting reads. "Many more would like to, and that's where you come in." The new positions mark the latest development in Apple's evolving strategy, which has historically focused on the consumer market and niche businesses, like design and media firms. Now, Apple wants to leverage its popular iPhone and iPad devices, using their appeal as a selling point for more expensive products, including its line of Macintosh computers and servers.
While the raison d'être for the tablet computer isn't yet clear, interactive media and personal data management both need transformative apps.
Carole Mallory was Norman Mailer's mistress. Seducing him probably wasn't that difficult, though, as he was already on his sixth wife at the time. Marketers seek to seduce. So do painters, authors and job seekers. The most important thing to understand about seduction is this: it only works when the other person cooperates, contributes and is at some level interested in being seduced.
Those of you who are Star Trek fans would have felt right at home with me the other day. I went to check out the new Microsoft store which just opened at Fashion Valley mall here in San Diego because I wanted to do a compare/contrast to the Apple store in the same mall. My fellow fans would have felt at home in the Microsoft store not because it was a cool look at the future of culture and technology, but rather because it seemed to be the Mirror Universe.
Amazon.com Inc. said it reached a milestone, selling more e-books than hardbacks over the past three months. But publishers said it is still too early to gauge for the entire industry whether the growth of e-books is cannibalizing sales of paperback books, a huge and crucial market.
I watched with growing dismay and disbelief as Steve Jobs struggled through his press conference last week about the iPhone 4 dropped calls. It's a classic example of how not to conduct public relations.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs addressed these issues Friday from the company's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. His take? There's a small problem, but one that was blown out of proportion by the press. For once, it may be hard to argue with Apple's best salesperson. What are the ramifications for a brand that rarely deals with a crisis on this level? Experts agree that Apple will be just fine.
Apple will give iPhone 4 customers a free protective case, or "bumper," to remedy its much-publicized reception problems when the device is gripped a certain way. During a press conference July 16, aimed at quelling the controversy over the issue, Apple CEO Steve Jobs also said anyone who buys the iPhone 4 by September 30 will be eligible for a free bumper. And customers who are still unsatisfied can get a full refund within 30 days of purchase without being charged a restocking fee.
It’d be an understatement to say that this has been a terrible week for Apple, and we haven’t even reached the halfway point. On Monday, Consumer Reports dealt a devastating blow to the iPhone 4 when it declined to recommend the device to consumers due to the antenna reception problem. Consumer Reports concluded from its tests that cell reception is indeed lost if you cover up the small gap between the two metal bands on the bottom right corner of the phone. The media quickly picked up the story.
While much of the buzz around iPads has focused on publishers and their digital magazines, one of the few brand apps on the market sounds like a publishing project, too. Kraft Foods wowed the iPhone-toting masses with iFood Assistant, one of the first brand apps to actually deliver utility on the smartphone, and now the food marketer is following suit with its first app for Apple's iPad.
When we first reviewed Siri last February, we called it "one of the most ambitious mobile services we have seen in the last few years." At the time, we acknowledged that, while Siri - which was recently acquired by Apple - has answers for a plethora of questions, it wouldn't be able to handle them all. We lamented that "sadly the app doesn't use Wolfram Alpha to give you answers to factual questions (yet)." Today, we lament no longer, as the latest update to the virtual personal assistant notes that it can now provide you with "more knowledge and computation results" using "computational knowledge engine" Wolfram Alpha.
No one is an expert, and it is only through a multidisciplinary process that it all comes together; materials, process and design. There must be a meaningful confluence of the elements otherwise it will be like sticking wood laminate on a laptop to make it more valuable. Furthermore, this requires stepping away from the computer and getting reacquainted with materials and processes. Indeed this is quite a hat tip to the old school craftsman approach to design.
While the number of accounts that were breached in the latest incident was small—Apple said about 400 of its 150 million iTunes users were affected—it renews concerns about how well companies and individuals are protecting sensitive data.
On Friday, Apple said it would fix the software of the iPhone 4 to address the so-called Death Grip problem. It was the first explanation the company has offered of why holding the phone a certain way may cause the bars displaying reception strength to drop in number, and calls to be lost. In a Web site post, Apple said the problem was not with the antenna, but rather with how the software calculated reception strength to display as bars on the phone.
In September 2006, Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, announced news of the company’s latest offering: the Apple TV. Mr. Jobs had high hopes for his latest creation, so high that he told his audience that he hoped the Apple TV would be a fourth leg to the Apple business among PCs and iPods. Yet it wasn’t long before Apple downgraded its hopes of a living room accessory and fourth leg to its business, and Mr. Jobs started referring to the the poor Apple TV as a “hobby.” Now that “hobby” might be heading for a major overhaul.
The more Apple customers pelt Steve Jobs' in-box, the more he seems to respond. But unlike the last flurry of e-mails that were made public on iPhone and iPad issues, this time Jobs is apparently expounding on why Blu-ray won't be coming to Macs. According to the MacRumors fan site, which posted an e-mail exchange, one of its readers e-mailed the Apple CEO to ask why a Blu-ray drive didn't make its way to the company's newly updated Mac Mini.
I've been thinking about the power of a particular kind of brand leader: founders. Many of the companies I admire are still run by their founders, or the founders at least still play an active role. Often the founders have come back after the company ran into trouble, showing just how important a role they play: Shultz at Starbucks, Dell at Dell, Jobs at Apple, Chuck Schwab at Schwab.
Tomorrow's Web seems to be shaping up for a battle between two major players - Facebook and Google, with Apple and Microsoft holding down their own tangential fiefdoms, and smaller services, like Twitter and LinkedIn, chugging away with their utility-like products. Make no mistake of it - while there is room for innovation and success at these smaller levels, Facebook's goal is to own as much of the Web as they can, and Google would like to make sure they don't. An open Web, however you define it, is good for Google, presenting a myriad of opportunities for search ads everywhere, while a Facebook-controlled universe is not. And the latest rumors, spawning from a simple update by Digg's Kevin Rose hinting at a direct Facebook competitor, dubbed Google Me, have people wondering if Mountain View is preparing another major assault aimed to keep Zuckerberg and crew off the top pedestal.
When it comes to mobile, the ad industry has seemed stuck in its own version of Waiting for Godot. Each year for the past decade, the industry has hyped mobile’s great potential, only to face myriad technical and business obstacles. Now, thanks to advancements by Apple and innovations by Google, mobile has arrived as a truly effective platform for brands.
Invented over a century ago as anonymous pieces of paper that could be traded for discounts, coupons have evolved into tracking devices for companies that want to learn more about the habits of their customers. Although they might look similar to the ones in Sunday newspaper circulars, many of today's digital versions use special bar codes that are packed with information about the life of the coupon: the dates and times it was obtained, viewed and, ultimately, redeemed; the store where it was used; perhaps even the search terms typed to find it.
The first of Apple's iAds are expected to start popping up on iPhones later this week, but don't expect all the marketers that have committed to the platform to be there. A check-in with declared iAd advertisers found that many are still in the early stages of flushing out concepts and creative. Some are weeks -- perhaps months -- away from having an iAd in the system. What are the i-advertisers up to? Here's a look at some of those willing to share.
Despite the thick, stagnant heat cloaking Apple’s boxy flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, hundreds of people were anxiously waiting in line in the hopes of being among the first to purchase a shiny new iPhone 4. The enthusiasm for Apple’s fourth-generation iPhone isn’t relegated to New York. Damon Darlin, the New York Times technology editor, said that by 6:30 a.m in a chilly and foggy San Francisco, two lines wrapped around the block at the store on Stockton St. Reuters is reporting that Apple stores in Japan are in selling briskly, with at least one store completely sold out of stock.
Apple, without a doubt, is creating a massive sea change in how we interact with digital content. Note that I didn't say "the Web." This is because the millions of iPad and iPhone users spend more time within Apple's walled garden of apps rather than in a browser. However, there's a potential dark side to the millions of Apple devices being sold and it should give every marketer pause.
On Wednesday, May 26, 2010, just after 2:30 p.m., the unthinkable happened: Apple became the largest company in the tech universe, and, after ExxonMobil, the second largest in the nation. For months, its market capitalization had hovered just under that of Microsoft -- the giant that buried Apple and then saved it from almost certain demise with a $150 million investment in 1997. Now Microsoft gets in line with Google, Amazon, HTC, Nokia, and HP as companies that Apple seems bent on sidelining. The one-time underdog from Cupertino is the biggest music company in the world and soon may rule the market for e-books as well. What's next? Farming? Toothbrushes? Fixing the airline industry? Right now, it seems as if Apple could do all that and more. The company's surge over the past few years has resembled a space-shuttle launch -- a series of rapid, tightly choreographed explosions that leave everyone dumbfounded and smiling. The whole thing has happened so quickly, and seemed so natural, that there has been little opportunity to understand what we have been witnessing.
After accusing HTC of infringing on 20 of its iPhone patents in March, Apple has expanded its suit. This week Apple tacked on two more patents that it claims the Taiwanese handset manufacturer is in violation of using, according to a legal filing in U.S. District Court in Delaware. The newly added patents both concern the same type of technology, which Apple lists as a "system for real-time adaptation to changes in display configuration."
Tesla's Motors' prospects for becoming a 21st-century auto powerhouse have as much to do with its Silicon Valley culture as with its technology, CEO Elon Musk told investors. During a video recording prepared in advance of Tesla's initial public offering, which could come as early as next week, Musk touted the combination of the company's auto industry and Silicon Valley roots as a key competitive advantage.
AT&T’s exclusive deal with Apple for the iPhone in the U.S. has proven to be something of a mixed blessing. It has delivered new customers and lined its corporate coffers, but it has simultaneously strained the very fiber of the AT&T network. Faced with new but unhappy customers and a flailing brand image, AT&T is turning to social media for a quick fix. In keeping with its "Rethink Possible" campaign, it's taking its customer care service to the social Web.
Apple promotes developers behind apps for Disney, Pandora, games and other content on its just-released iPhone iOS 4 and still-hot iPad (3 million sold in 80 days) devices. With Conde Nast today announcing that its shuttered Gourmet magazine is being revived as a digital-only brand, Gourmet Live, optimized for the iPad, will other old-school media brands skip the Web to head straight to the iPad?
My latest Apple-aholic's post. On Apple's relentless revitalisation with the iPhone 4. Video of it here. This will help them grown even further, and challenge RIM/Blackberry for Smartphone leadership. Latest data shows they now have a 28% of the US smartphone market. And in fact, they are already the leader brand in the US in terms of smartphone browser usage (how much time people spend web surfing on their phone).
Steve Jobs denied that Apple is developing a search engine when he was asked on stage at the D8 conference recently - not that that tells us anything about what's really going on in Cupertino's labs. But the speculation persists not about if Apple will move into search, but when, how and why.
If you were wondering why both Apple and AT&T melted down when taking orders for the iPhone 4 on Tuesday, we have the answer. Apple sold 600,000 of the things. According to Apple’s press release, “It was the largest number of pre-orders Apple has ever taken in a single day and was far higher than we anticipated, resulting in many order and approval system malfunctions.”
Nokia has been forced to issue a profit warning as the company continues to struggle to compete against Apple, Research In Motion, and other smartphone makers. The company, which remains the No. 1 mobile phone maker in the world, said its second quarter will likely end up at "the lower end of, or slightly below, its previously expected range of €6.7 billion to €7.2 billion," according to the company.
The Google vs. Apple battle for mobile dominance is being waged on many fronts, with each providing ways for developers to monetize their applications. Now, Google is adding a new option for developers: click-to-call ads that appear within apps running on smartphones. Google said the placements would run on both Android-powered handsets and iPhones -- if Apple doesn't block them, as it recently hinted in a terms-of-services change. Google and Apple are vying for the attention of developers by offering not only platforms for reaching large numbers of mobile phone users, but also options for making money -- including through advertising.
AT&T Inc.'s website, unable to handle the demand for Apple Inc.'s new iPhone on Tuesday, had difficulty processing orders and in certain instances appeared to reveal subscribers' personal information to strangers. Although the scope of the problem and its underlying cause couldn't immediately be learned, some AT&T customers, who were logged into AT&T's website as themselves ended up in other users' accounts.
It's early days for advertising on Apple's iPad, but advertisers running campaigns on the device over the last four weeks say people are watching -- and a lot more than your typical rich-media web ad. Much of that can probably be explained by the fact that the iPad's early adopters find just about everything on the device -- including the ads -- a curiosity. The question is whether those rates will stay high once the novelty of the device wears off.
Years ago, business technology was driven by corporations that needed Excel spreadsheets to crunch sales numbers. Now it's also driven by consumers who want to find the nearest happy hour on an iPhone. As Microsoft starts pitching a new version of its Office software to consumers Tuesday, that consumer is riding a power trip in the tech world, driving workplace use of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, devices such as the iPad and iPhone, and free Web apps such as Google Docs.
AT&T is bulking up its Android roster with a new phone: the HTC Aria. It promises to be faster and more capable than the Motorola BACKFLIP and the Dell Aero. Aria comes with a 5 megapixel camera, a 3.2 inch display, a 600MHz Qualcomm MSM 7227 processor, the Android 2.1 Os, and the HTC Sense interface. It will be released on June 20, just five days before AT&T release another competing smartphone: the iPhone 4.
It's kind of like air. Invisible but omnipresent, every industry, market, and sector has a dogma — "a doctrine or code of beliefs accepted as authoritative." "This is just how things are done," dogma whispers, every second of every day, to every decision-maker in every boardroom. What does it mean to be a revolutionary? To challenge an existing dogma, instead of complying with it: to reject its tenets, highlight its flaws and improve each of its shortcomings.
Unilever may be a global marketer, but it hasn't been able to do many truly global ad deals -- at least not until its multimillion-dollar deal with Apple to be the consumer goods "presenting advertiser" on the new iAd platform was announced June 7. For Unilever, the deal aims at tapping the two biggest, and largely interdependent, trends it sees shaping marketing: globalization and mobile digital media.
On Tuesday, G.M. sent a memo to Chevrolet employees at its Detroit headquarters, promoting the importance of “consistency” for the brand, which was the nation’s best-selling line of cars and trucks for more than half a century after World War II. And one way to present a consistent brand message, the memo suggested, is to stop saying “Chevy,” though the word is one of the world’s best-known, longest-lived product nicknames.
Apple has elevated the iPhone brand again and forestalled rivals’ ability to claim parity. Leading up to the launch of the iPhone 4, run by the iOS since it powers the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, there were whispers everywhere about the Android’s turbo-charged innovation cycle, the end of iPhone envy and how other smartphones from the likes of HTC were closing the gap. Now it wasn’t like the iPhone was becoming a commodity device, but you could see some parity on the horizon. Even Sam Diaz got over his iPhone envy. Enter Apple CEO Steve Jobs who was having none of that talk. Jobs talked about the mix between technology and liberal arts. The emphasis is on technology as an art form.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs' unveiling Monday of the next-generation iPhone — it's thinner, has a higher-resolution display and comes with video chat — may have lacked a single "Wow!" moment. But coupled with the launch of a new operating system and mobile advertising service, the message to competitors was unambiguous: Catch us if you can.
Apple has pulled the best-selling iPad RSS application, Pulse, from the app store at the request of the New York Times. Why? Because it downloads and displays the New York Times RSS feed, just like every other RSS reader on the planet. Pulse has been an app-store hit thanks to its slick design, which pulls news from various sources and aggregates them in an easy-to-read manner, perfectly suited to the flick-and-scroll interface of the iPad. The design was good enough to impress even Steve Jobs, who mentioned it in his WWDC keynote speech Monday. The application, which costs $4, has been downloaded 35,000 times. It was the top paid app for a while.
CEO Steve Jobs also unveiled some new metrics. Among them: Apple expects to control 48% of the mobile display ad market in the second half of 2010; it already has $60 million in commitments for its mobile iAd format; and it has paid out more than $1 billion in revenue to app developers. Here are some takeaways from Mr. Jobs' presentation at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference today.
You may not be familiar with Chegg if you're out of college, but it has quietly become one of the fastest-growing, second-generation e-commerce companies around today. Think of it as “Netflix for textbooks,” a youth-savvy e-player that's poised to get bigger thanks to more than $140 million in backing. Chegg boasts 4.2 million books, accessible to college students on 6,400 campuses. As TechCrunch comments in its look at the brand's growth, “Chegg is disintermediating the $5B+ college textbook market by providing a low-cost, short-term, nationwide rental alternative to the high-priced university bookstore.” Chegg, short for “chicken and egg,” has built a loyal following and developed a sharp brand positioning in the red-hot market for virtual rentals.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the new iPhone 4 and stated that there are over 100 new features on the phone, but he touched on just a few today. The iPhone 4 features what Apple calls a Retina Display which has four times the pixel density of the current iPhone 3GS within the same amount of space (326 ppi). As has been previously rumored, the iPhone is now confirmed to feature a 640x960 display which makes it the highest resolution display on the smartphone market (most high-end Android phones feature an 480x800 display). The actual display size remains unchanged at 3.5-inches and has an 800:1 contrast ratio.
Many details of Apple Inc.'s new iPhone are already widely known, but expectations are high for the fourth-generation smartphone's official unveiling this week at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. As he has in the past, Chief Executive Steve Jobs will be kicking off the annual event with a keynote talk on Monday. But unlike in previous years, attendees already know at least part of what to expect, thanks to a report in April by Gawker Media LLC's Gizmodo blog, which published photos and descriptions of a next-generation iPhone found in a Silicon Valley bar.
For the last two years, unlimited data plans have given app-hungry smartphone users an all-you-can-eat buffet. But will customers react to AT&T’s new, limited menu by simply eating less? Some software developers fear they will, and if that happens, the caps on data use that AT&T has imposed could also make consumers lose their appetite for the latest innovations.
But how far can this joyride go? The seeds of sometimes-fatal mistakes are sown when a company is at its peak: Expectations become unrealistic. Management loses focus. A new competitor finds a cheaper way to do what you're doing. Regulators start asking if you've grown too powerful. And all the while, you're too busy enjoying your success to recognize the dangers.
AT&T Inc.’s decision to scrap unlimited data plans for new customers has prompted a backlash from bloggers and consumers like Danette Collins. “As soon as I can get out of the AT&T plan, I’ll switch to Verizon,” said Collins, a finance and operations manager in Portland, Oregon, who has AT&T service for her iPhone. “They’ve just shot themselves in the foot.”
In a significant shift in how phone carriers bill customers, AT&T Inc. will stop selling unlimited Internet data plans to new customers that buy smartphones and iPads, and will instead begin charging more for heavy bandwidth users. New AT&T customers will have to chose between two data plans with monthly usage limits—and pay additional fees for extra use. Existing customers, however, can stick with their current plans, AT&T said.
Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs, in a broad-ranging discussion, took more potshots at Adobe Systems Inc.'s Flash software, vowed not to get into search despite Google Inc.'s move into Apple's turf, and called Apple passing Microsoft Corp.'s stock valuation "surreal."
App store analytics startup Distimo just released its May report, and zoomed in on the average number of days applications across various categories maintain their top rankings in Apple’s App Store. Analyzing data collected from November 2009 to April 2010, the company found that paid applications in the Top Overall, Games, Business and Entertainment categories stay in these categories for 27, 39, 59 and 38 days on average, respectively.
Frances Gerety, a copywriter for the now-defunct agency, coined "A Diamond is Forever" in 1948 for Johannesburg, South Africa, diamond company DeBeers. That memorable tagline and 24 others were among the best-ever advertising taglines as rated by a group of 10 CMOs and advertising experts.
In the high-stakes race to catch Apple Inc.'s hit iPad, the Android operating system that Google Inc. popularized in cellphones is emerging as an early front-runner. Tablet-style computers—a moribund hardware category until the iPad started generating buzz earlier this year—are expected to be a big topic at next week's Computex trade show, a major forum for product announcements by manufacturers of personal computers.
With a slide in the value of Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) on Wednesday, Apple Inc. (AAPL) took over its long-time rival in terms of market capitalization, another notch in its impressive 2010 performance. The move by Apple, despite its own shares slipping 0.5% to $244.11, makes it the second-largest U.S. company behind oil behemoth Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM). Apple's shares have soared during the year, pushing it first past retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and now past Microsoft, two highly regarded blue chips. Apple has gained 16% in 2010 and hit an all-time high of $272.46 one month ago as its products have continued to fly off the shelves and its newly released tablet computer has garnered much attention.
f the new Apple iPad is for multitaskers, then Amazon.com's Kindle is for die-hard readers, and that's OK with Chief Executive Jeff Bezos. Speaking at Amazon's annual shareholder meeting Tuesday in downtown Seattle, Bezos acknowledged nine out of 10 households don't necessarily do a lot of serious reading. Still, he said the Kindle can compete with the iPad by focusing on die-hard readers, just as heavy-duty cameras remain relevant despite the spread of camera phones.
Apple has long been the little guy in the Mac vs. PC debate, but that's no longer the case. As of trading on Tuesday, Microsoft and Apple both have roughly equal market capitalizations of around $230 billion. By another measure--adding in debt and other factors--Cupertino has actually surpassed Redmond in total value. The fact that Apple has reached this level of valuation represents a remarkable turn of events in the history of computing.
Google has made its triumphant entrance in the entertainment war with Google TV. Will users embrace it over the likes of Apple TV, though? That’s the question we’re asking you in this week’s Web Faceoff, where we poll the Mashable readership on which web apps and products they care about most. Apple was one of the first to move into the web TV market with Apple TV, first announced in 2006. However, the product never gained the success of other Apple products such as the iPhone, the iPod and even the iPad. Still, Apple TV has a loyal niche customer base.
When top executives set out to build well-regarded companies, most start in their home countries. If they're successful, strong business practices and values they craft there will translate overseas. As companies become more connected and businesses more international, creating a first-class reputation across borders is critical. For some companies, this can be the difference between success and failure. So what is the secret to earning esteem that spans the world? And which companies are best at doing it?
Did Google just turn the tables on Apple? Having entered the mobile software market late with its Android offering, Google's initial efforts were a pale imitation of the iPhone OS, a clunky user experience on sub-par handsets. Fast forward to 2010. Suddenly, Google Android is winning over the hearts and minds of technologists and signing up 100,000 converts a day. That raises the question: Is the iPhone losing its sheen?
Lies, damned lies and statistics: You can play games with numbers, and recently the game has been to show Android phones are beating the iPhone in the U.S. Now new data proves that in the rest of the world, Google's still chasing Apple.
Since late 2005, Apple's stock has quintupled. With a market capitalization of close to $250 billion, Apple is (at least today) the third most valuable company in the world, behind ExxonMobil and Microsoft. It's a stunning story that's been dissected to death, but still remarkable enough to warrant reflection. Ten years ago — three years after Chairman and CEO Steve Jobs had returned to "rescue" Apple — the company was still largely treading water, with a relatively meager $3 billion market capitalization. Its personal computer products had a loyal following in niche markets, but that was about it. Over the past decade, Apple has launched five legitimately game-changing innovations.
When Google upgraded their Local Business Center to Google Places, it launched the opening salvo in what we expect to be a long war for local advertising dollars. With local advertising revenues expected to reach $144.9 billion in 2014 according to BIA/Kelsey — and more and more dollars are shifting away from traditional media toward digital media buys — the new war for local ad spend will be a battle between the Internet (Internet) titans and social networks. Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft, Foursquare, Yelp and even Apple are all attempting to carve out their own niche offering for local advertising dollars. Who will succeed remains to be seen, but this is a fight you won’t want to miss.
For big companies, bounding back from corporate scandal, financial malfeasance or public disaster is difficult--but it isn't impossible. Looking at companies that have come back after business downturns, product problems or corporate scandal, several experts on corporate reputation and crisis management helped Forbes identify 10 companies that have made, or are making, turnarounds after corporate hard times.
Adobe Systems may not have a chief executive with Steve Jobs' high profile, but it does have money. And on Thursday it began spending some of it on an effort to rebut the Apple CEO's crticisims of Adobe's Flash technology. The campaign includes a Web site promoting choice, an accompanying "truth about Flash" page rebutting some Apple criticisms, and a letter from Adobe co-founders Chuck Geschke and John Warnock that brings a personal answer to Jobs. They don't mention Jobs or or Apple by name, but there's no mistaking the target.
Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question "Why?" His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers -- and as a counterpoint Tivo, which (until a recent court victory that tripled its stock price) appeared to be struggling.
Verizon Wireless is working with Google Inc. on a tablet computer, the carrier's chief executive, Lowell McAdam, said Tuesday, as the company endeavors to catch up with iPad host AT&T Inc. in devices that connect to wireless networks. The work is part of a deepening relationship between the largest U.S. wireless carrier by subscribers and Google, which has carved out a space in mobile devices with its Android operating system. Verizon Wireless last year heavily promoted the Motorola Droid, which runs Google's software.
U.S. consumers are coming around to the Android operating systems for their smartphones, with the system moving past Apple to take the No. 2 position behind category leader RIM during the first quarter of 2010.
The burgeoning legal challenges to Apple over its rapid advances in mobile computing mounted on Friday when Finland’s Nokia launched a patent infringement suit over the iPad. Nokia accused Apple in a US federal court in Wisconsin of infringing five patents in the iPad, which has sold 1m units since its US debut in March. Nokia’s suit cites technology used to enhance speech and data transmission and antenna innovations that allow for more compact devices.
Apple has granted AT&T an extension of its iPhone exclusivity agreement in a "Faustian" bargain that sees AT&T providing "low-cost and truly unlimited data plans for the iPad." But the extension is only for six months, and then the service goes up for grabs again, much to the delight of Verizon, whose grab for the iPad was purportedly rejected. If it's in the stars, Verizon could be getting access to the iPhone in 2011.
Apple is vigorously protecting and expanding the trademarks around the iPhone. Yesterday the United States Patent and Trademark Office published its "Made for iPhone," mark covering a "Full line of electronic and mechanical parts and fittings for handheld computers and portable and handheld digital electronic devices," according to Patently Apple.
U.S. antitrust enforcers are taking a keen interest in recent changes that Apple Inc. made to its licensing agreement with iPhone application developers and are likely to open a preliminary investigation into whether the company's actions stifle competition in mobile devices, according to people familiar with the situation. The Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department, which are jointly tasked with enforcing federal antitrust laws, are holding discussions over which agency would hold the inquiry, these people said. Apple, the FTC and Justice Department all declined to comment.
A review by the team at PSFK shows that most luxury brands are unprepared to leverage the changes in web use that products like Apple’s iPad and iPhone are driving. Out of the top 10 luxury brands ranked by Forbes in 2009, none of their websites worked sufficiently to match their desktop-web-experience. Only Gucci seems to have created a site that can handle the technology requirements that Apple has placed on its mobile devices.
Journalists are already getting warmed up for the next big Apple event, the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, where they will most likely get a look at the next generation of the iPhone. But there might be fewer people lined up, and not just because we got a peek inside the new model when photos of a prototype were leaked on a blog two weeks ago. We also got an unflattering peek inside the company itself.
In early December, Apple acquired streaming music service Lala. Just five months later, Lala is shutting its doors. The Apple-owned service is no longer accepting new users and, according to a message on its website, come May 31 it will cease operations for existing members as well.
Siri, a tiny voice search startup, confirmed that Apple acquired them today. Siri describes themselves as a kind of Internet-connected voice search option--"You can ask Siri to find a romantic place for dinner, tell you what’s playing at a local jazz club or get tickets to a movie for Saturday night." This goes way beyond "dial Mommy." And why does Apple care about this? Because Google is amazing at it.
Setting a high bar for its debut in the advertising business, Apple Inc. aims to charge close to $1 million for ads on its mobile devices this year and perhaps even more to be among the first, ad executives say. Apple is hitting the road to showcase its new mobile-device advertising capability, dubbed iAd, and has indicated it could charge as much as $10 million to be part of a handful of marketers at the launch, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Today's consumers are more diverse, more inter-connected and more demanding than ever. Their expectations are rising while their propensity to be loyal to companies is declining, so (let's face it) they are in the driver's seat. The questions for companies today are then: Are companies orchestrating where consumers go, and are they making the trip pleasant?
As we move into the second week of the iPhone-left-in-the-bar saga, the plot is moving from a technology news story to a legal one — and entering a cul-de-sac of speculation. As I reported today with my colleague Brian Stelter, late Friday evening the authorities in San Mateo County, in California, seized computers belonging to Jason Chen, the editor of the technology blog Gizmodo. The computers are part of an investigation surrounding the iPhone 4G left in a bar that Gizmodo paid $5,000 for, and then published pictures of on its Web site.
The Gizmodo-iPhone saga continues. Gizmodo, the technology blog that recently published details about Apple's next-generation iPhone after paying $5,000 to get its hands on the device, posted documents today showing that police raided one of its editor's homes. A search warrant posted by Gizmodo says police on Friday seized computers, cameras, hard drives, business cards and computer servers from the home of Jason Chen, the site's editor who last week published details about Apple's unreleased smartphone.
Besides the top ten overall brands in our 2010 Good Brands Report, we had members of the Purple List rank brands according to different criteria, such as imagination, or responsibility.
Invaluable as innovation may be, our relentless focus on it may be obscuring the value of its much-maligned relative, imitation. Imitation has always had a faintly disreputable ring to it — presidents do not normally give speeches extolling the virtues of the copycat. But where innovation brings new things into the world, imitation spreads them; where innovators break the old mold, imitators perfect the new one; and while innovators can win big, imitators often win bigger.
This laser focus on a small basket of specific products is a new marketing strategy for Sony, which pulled in $24 billion in third-quarter revenue (ending Dec. 31, 2009), up 4% from 2008. For the past few years, the company spent its nearly $5 billion on global advertising budget on a huge number of its products--from laptops to DVD players. Niche is the new tactic. By honing in on its most promising devices and celebs, Sony is aiming to fend off competitors that dominate the consumer electronics space.
In the first weeks of the iPad launch, retailers have been largely left out of the conversation. But industry executives believe the device could have a major impact on everything from retailers' catalogs to e-commerce to enhancing the in-store experience. So far, few retailers have embraced the new Apple device even though many already have iPhone apps. Gap, Gilt.com and eBay are among the retail brands that have created iPad applications, while Puma is expected to add iPads to its stores late this year.
Marketing campaigns that encourage considerable word of mouth among consumers have a greater impact on sales than more traditional forms of advertising, according to McKinsey. The consultancy argued that word of mouth is the "primary factor" behind between 20% and 50% of purchases, with a particular relevance in relation to expensive products and first-time acquisitions. It added that an advertising "overload", growing mistrust of marketing and the social media-driven shift in control away from companies and towards consumers have all encouraged this trend.
A push for real and meaningful innovation permeates the business environment. Leading brands embrace innovation as a tangible driver of business performance as opposed to a meaningless moniker-and inculcate true innovation and entrepreneurialism into their cultures, employees and overall enterprises. Innovation in the Re-Invention Economy shows its evolved self in every aspect of organizational drive and is industry agnostic in its rapid manifestation.
For anyone who has ever lost a cellphone, remember this: it could be worse. You could be the person who left his phone in a bar in California. And it wasn’t just any phone; it was a supersecret version of the next iPhone. That model is not expected to be formally unveiled for a couple of months.
Technology bloggers were riveted over the weekend as photos of what may be a yet unannounced next generation iPhone began circulating. Pictures of the device first appeared on the technology blog Engadget. And now the product itself has fallen into the hands of Gizmodo where it has been prodded and ripped apart as if it were little green aliens from another planet. Gizmodo editors are not saying how they acquired the device.
Those of us who've been in the interactive biz for a while have grown accustomed to all the grumbling about Google. You've heard all these grumbles and perhaps grumbled yourself that Google is too big, its ad systems are too opaque, it's just a one-trick pony, it's arrogant, monopolistic, bent on dominating the world, crushing Madison Avenue, sucking all the profit out of e-tailing, etc. (Did I miss anything? Feel free to add your grumble to the comment area below).
Recently, there has been a lot of buzz on the Internet about two similar events. What happened was basically this; The Masters of the Universe had proclaimed their decrees like dictators and the only thing the rest of the world could do was, for a lack of a better phrase, gnash their teeth in frustration. If businesses are going to bet on creating solutions on platforms they do not own, they have to realize that this a huge business risk. When the platform owners change the rules of the game, everything pretty much goes down the drain and we will have likely no control or say over this decision.
Strategy used to be about protecting your existing competitive advantage. Today, it's about finding the next advantage. Strategy starts to decay the moment it's created. That's why corporations must develop strategies that address tomorrow's business realities. Strategic actions that companies take belong in one of three boxes.
Google may be fighting a multifront war against Apple, Microsoft, federal antitrust regulators and the government of China, but its online advertising business continues to hum along nicely. The company topped published forecasts on Thursday, reporting that its net income in the first quarter jumped more than 37 percent from the recession-mired quarter a year ago. Sales grew 23 percent from the period a year earlier. But the stock was down nearly 5 percent in after-hours trading because the results were lower than the “whisper number” of analysts, the unpublished estimate that some analysts give clients. Google shares closed at $595.30 in regular trading before the earnings release.
Apple has been forced to delay the international launch of its new iPad tablet computer by a month to the end of May because it was struggling to meet strong demand from US customers. The computer company said it had sold 500,000 iPads in the US in the first week since launch but was not able to keep up with demand. Analysts had originally forecast that the company would sell between 100,000 and 400,000 units in the first burst.
"Brands are dying," we're told. As a result, we hear that branding is no longer relevant. So now, what do we do?
Last week, Harris Interactive released their annual study of the most visible and reputable companies in the country. Based on a poll of almost 30,000 people, companies were ranked on a "reputation quotient," calculated by a variety of public perceptions, including vision and leadership, financial performance, social responsibility, and perceptions of work place environments. I spoke with Robert Fronk, SVP of reputation management at Harris Interactive, to find out the impact of corporate reputation, and whether or not it even matters.
For the second year in a row, Southwest Airlines is the top-rated brand among the nation’s small- and midsize-business owners and top executives. That’s the conclusion of a new survey of men and women who lead businesses with less than 500 employees that was conducted by American City Business Journals, the parent company of Portfolio.com. Although this is the sixth year of the survey, it’s the first year ACBJ has released the findings to the general public.
Adobe Systems Inc. is getting ready to unveil one of its most important products in years, a major rewrite of its graphics software that is causing a buzz in Silicon Valley— as well as friction with Apple Inc. The company's Creative Suite product line accounts for more than half of Adobe's revenue. Adobe is counting on the new version—called Creative Suite 5, or CS5 for short—to help it rebound from one of its toughest years ever.
Advertising agencies and software developers on Friday welcomed Apple’s new iAd network as a potential breakthrough that could give an important boost to the small but fast-growing mobile advertising market. However, they also warned that making ads for iAd would be expensive and it was likely to take some time for Apple to demonstrate it could build a big enough market to make it worthwhile.
It certainly was a diverse week in the social media sphere, with the the iPhone OS 4.0 reveal, Digg’s CEO shakeup, Tiger Woods’s new commercial and the Baja California, earthquake’s coverage on Twitter and YouTube. And, as if the aftershocks from the natural disaster wasn’t enough, we’ve been practically flooded with iPad news since its launch this past Saturday.
Apple, the maker of popular gadgets, is getting into the business of selling advertising, ratcheting up its rivalry with Google. On Thursday the company gave a preview of a new version of the basic software for its mobile devices, including the iPhone. The software has a built-in advertising system, meant to be used by the developers who have created the more than 185,000 applications in Apple’s App Store.
On its path from rootsy L.A. hip-hop troupe to pop juggernaut, the Black Eyed Peas have been escorted by a parade of corporate backers. From Coors to Levi's, Honda to Apple, Verizon to Pepsi, brands have padded the group's video budgets, underwritten its tours and billboarded band members in prominent places. When Apple was preparing the 2003 launch of the iTunes store, The Peas' "Hey Mama" became the first song associated with the iconic campaign's dancing silhouettes, a point of pride for will.i.am, the band's frontman.
Justin Long, the floppy-fringed star of the Mac v. PC ads, revealed that he heard it from a good source (er, a PC, actually) that the sweet-natured, yet passive-combative ad campaign run by Apple is coming to an end. In an interview with The A.V. Club, he remarked, "I think they might be done. In fact, I heard it from John [Hodgman,] I think they're going to move on. I can't say definitively, which is sad."
Guess who says the following attributes are most influential in making "important purchases" today: value, price, overall quality, good design and functionality? A clue: 84% of this group texts from cellphones; 78% use social networking; 66% use the mobile web and 57% use mobile apps. It's not who you think it is. In fact, it's a group whose median age is 45, not 19.
Enter iPad. The proponents call it a radical new dominant design for computing. Don't buy the hype, say the detractors: the iPad's just another land-grabbing walled garden. Both sides are right — and wrong. The iPad is a revolution waiting to happen. But the revolution's biggest roadblock is Apple itself.
Nokia retains a massive share of the global mobile phone market, but cracks are beginning to appear in its once-impenetrable leadership. In particular, the electronics brand is struggling to defend its lead in smartphones - the fastest-growing and most profitable part of the mobile phone business.
Back when Apple was first an entrepreneurial wonder and I was a baby consultant often in Cupertino, I used to think of Apple in baseball analogies. Apple was the Boston Red Sox, exciting and colorful but doomed to be second to IBM's New York Yankee-like deep pockets and market domination. Not any longer. The tech leagues have expanded, and while IBM is still a powerhouse, it does not play in consumer markets. Apple is now a game-definer and game-changer, in major consumer segments.
With a carrier-agnostic iPhone coming to market later this summer, the conventional wisdom is that AT&T will lose customers (its phone coverage and iPhone service haven't been stellar) and a lot of profits (some say the iPhone has been not only its brightest but biggest single source of earnings). I say it doesn't have to work out this way. There's a post-generification breakout strategy for AT&T, but it would require a massive rethinking of its brand and marketing communications. Here are the three core realizations the company's brain trust would have to reach.
Apple Inc.'s iPad appeared to get off to a strong start over the weekend as swarms of buyers flocked to stores after weeks of publicity about the tablet-style computer. But the long lines soon faded, and few stores sold out of the device, which continues to face questions about how broadly demand for it will spread beyond technology enthusiasts.
Last year, Palm had the hottest handset not named iPhone. The Pre was the company's long-awaited Hail Mary -- or at least its best shot to revive the once-storied brand and reclaim a bit of the hand-held market Palm created. Today, the Pre is not selling and nor is its cheaper, lower-end model, the Pixi. The company's stock plunged 30% on a fateful day last month as two analysts cut their price targets to zero and Morgan Joseph & Co. analyst Ilya Grozovsky called Palm "essentially in an accelerating death spiral."
Apple is set to drop AT&T as the exclusive carrier of its high-selling iPhone and introduce a new version of the handset for Verizon, which would ship next fall, according to the Wall Street Journal, ending the three-year lock AT&T has had on the iPhone in the U.S. (abroad, the iPhone is usually available on multiple carriers). So what will it mean if the iPhone is added to the nation's largest mobile network -- and one of its biggest advertisers? Expect a ripple effect for other handset makers, the app economy and mobile advertising that plays out something like this.
There's the key and the lock. The bolt and the nut. The button and the button hole. So, too, there's the position and the hole in the mind the position is trying to fill. Except, of course, many marketers seem to have forgotten about those holes in the mind. Which is strange. If there is one constant in the communications chatter about the marketing function it's this one: The consumer owns the brand. True enough. But where in the world is the consumer going to put the brand except in his or her mind?
Electronic books are expected to be a major selling point for Apple Inc.'s iPad, which goes on sale Saturday. But competitors, particularly Amazon.com Inc., could end up as major e-book providers for the new device. One reason is that Apple won't start with the same leg up over competing content providers that it has had with the iPhone and its iPod media players, which have built-in connections to the company's iTunes music and video store.
For the past week or so, I have been testing a sleek, light, silver-and-black tablet computer called an iPad. After spending hours and hours with it, I believe this beautiful new touch-screen device from Apple has the potential to change portable computing profoundly, and to challenge the primacy of the laptop. It could even help, eventually, to propel the finger-driven, multitouch user interface ahead of the mouse-driven interface that has prevailed for decades.
In 10 years of reviewing tech products for The New York Times, I’ve never seen a product as polarizing as Apple’s iPad, which arrives in stores on Saturday. “This device is laughably absurd,” goes a typical remark on a tech blog’s comments board. “How can they expect anyone to get serious computer work done without a mouse?” “This truly is a magical revolution,” goes another. “I can’t imagine why anyone will want to go back to using a mouse and keyboard once they’ve experienced Apple’s visionary user interface!” The haters tend to be techies; the fans tend to be regular people. Therefore, no single write-up can serve both readerships adequately. There’s but one solution: Write separate reviews for these two audiences.
Traditional newspapers and magazine publishers are gushing about the iPad's potential to reinvigorate their businesses as the gadget changes readers' lives, but coverage in their own publications is far more restrained in tone. In the weeks since Steve Jobs introduced the iPad, its coverage in major magazines, newspapers and wire services has been neutral an overwhelming 76.8% of the time, negative 17.4% of the time and positive just 5.8% of the time, according to analysis for Ad Age performed by Vocus, a provider of public relations management software that includes media monitoring.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that everyone is buzzing, blogging, tweeting, and talking about geolocation. Research firm Borrel forecasts that location-based mobile spending will hit $4 billion in 2015, an increase of nearly 12,000% from the $34 million spent in 2009. With highly anticipated location-centric announcements looming from both Facebook and Apple, the buzz over geolocation is not expected to diminish any time soon.
Zinio's CMO Jeanniey Mullen on the benefits of catering to Steve Jobs' audience.
Apple Inc. plans to begin producing this year a new iPhone that could allow U.S. phone carriers other than AT&T Inc. to sell the iconic gadget, said people briefed by the company. The new iPhone would work on a type of wireless network called CDMA, these people said. CDMA is used by Verizon Wireless, AT&T's main competitor, as well as Sprint Nextel Corp. and a handful of cellular operators in countries including South Korea and Japan. The vast majority of carriers world-wide, including AT&T, use another technology called GSM.
Ask yourself for a moment, what is the operating system of a Google or Bing search? What is the operating system of a mobile phone call? What is the operating system of maps and directions on your phone? What is the operating system of a tweet? On a standalone computer, operating systems like Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux manage the machine's resources, making it possible for applications to focus on the job they do for the user. But many of the activities that are most important to us today take place in a mysterious space between individual machines. Most people take for granted that these things just work, and complain when the daily miracle of instantaneous communications and access to information breaks down for even a moment.
MediaPost reports that Apple's next next big thing, after iPads invade the world next weekend, will be iAd, a mobile advertising platform to be debuted April 7. Coffee dates and patent suits aside, this could be the true Apple-Google battleground.
Jezper Söderlund, a music producer in Gothenburg, Sweden, was thrilled to receive a one-word e-mail message earlier this month. The word was “no.” The sender of the e-mail message was perhaps the most famous businessman in the world, Steven P. Jobs, chief executive of Apple.
While the high and low ends are thriving, the middle of the market is in trouble. Previously, successful companies tended to gravitate toward what historians of retail have called the Big Middle, because that’s where most of the customers were. These days, the Big Middle is looking more like “the mushy middle” (in the formulation of the consultants Al and Laura Ries). The companies there—Sony, Dell, General Motors, and the like—find themselves squeezed from both sides (just as, in a way, middle-class workers do in a time of growing income inequality). The products made by midrange companies are neither exceptional enough to justify premium prices nor cheap enough to win over value-conscious consumers. Furthermore, the squeeze is getting tighter every day.
Apple is seeking a patent for technology that would make it possible for users of the iPhone or other mobile devices to form an ad hoc social network to communicate and share information during tradeshows, concerts, rallies or other event. Apple filed the patent application Thursday with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Web site Patently Apple reported. The patent application describes a service called iGroups that would enable people to share geographic location data in order to connect using an iPhone or other mobile device. People who agree to join the network would be able to broadcast information in real-time through text and instant messaging and also share files, such as pictures or video.
The Apple iPad, hitting stores April 3, is one of the most-hyped products in technology history. There is talk that it could revolutionize computing and media. But when it comes to new products, great expectations can doom products that don't measure up to them.
I went to the Whole Foods near my house and started to look at things I could eat, what could I use for snacks and things like that. The problem is that it could be pretty confusing without a lot of work. Lower sugar usually means higher sodium. Where do you make the trade? Is 10g of sugar OK in a meal or is that too much? And that’s when it hit me: Whole Foods needed their version of a “genius bar.”
It's hard to believe that a year ago, Google and Apple were still best friends. Google CEO Eric Schmidt was on Apple's board. Plenty of Google employees proudly showed off their iPhones. All seemed fine as the two companies took on their common enemy, Microsoft.
Wired is one of the few magazines I read cover to cover. It consistently exposes me to new ideas and topics. For that, I'm grateful (and a longtime subscriber). But when it comes to the iPad, I really don't understand what the Wired crew is doing. Yet, reading over this analysis piece by Reuters' Felix Salmon, I'm dismayed to see a return to the days of silos and closed content. Here's how Salmon puts it.
Apple Inc. is still trying to secure media content for the iPad with just weeks to go before the tablet computer's release, said people familiar with the matter, as the company tempers some of its initial ambitions for the much-hyped device. Since the iPad became available for pre-order last Friday, Apple has seen strong demand and sold hundreds of thousands of units, say people familiar with the matter. One of these people said Apple could sell more iPads in the first three months than it sold iPhones in the three months after the smart phone's debut.
Last October, we reported on a brewing Apple trademark battle in Australia. Apple was suing Woolworth, an Australian supermarket, over its use of an apple for its brand logo. Apple claimed the logo would compete for market share and create confusion in the minds of consumers. Well, it seems Apple's trademark adventures Down Under continue. In a new ruling, the tech giant has been told that it has no exclusive use of its vaunted "i" prefix. More than just another trademark lawsuit loss, reports of questionable legal action on Apple's part is beginning to pile up and the brand that "thinks different" is beginning to look a lot like...*gasp*... 1990s Microsoft.
I’ve been trying to organize my thoughts about the iPad and the direction that Apple is taking computing along with it. It’s really an extension of the way they look at the iPhone, which I found unsettling at the time but with the iPad, we’re all finally coming around to the idea that they really, really mean it.
It looked like the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Three years ago, Eric E. Schmidt, the chief executive of Google, jogged onto a San Francisco stage to shake hands with Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s co-founder, to help him unveil a transformational wonder gadget — the iPhone — before throngs of journalists and adoring fans at the annual MacWorld Expo. Google and Apple had worked together to bring Google’s search and mapping services to the iPhone, the executives told the audience, and Mr. Schmidt joked that the collaboration was so close that the two men should simply merge their companies and call them “AppleGoo.” Today, such warmth is in short supply. Mr. Jobs, Mr. Schmidt and their companies are now engaged in a gritty battle royale over the future and shape of mobile computing and cellphones, with implications that are reverberating across the digital landscape.
Over the last few months, I've discussed in depth the tectonic shifts rocking the macro and micro economy. Let's put it all together. Here's what the 21st century demands from firms of all stripes: a paradigm shift in the nature of advantage. The past of advantage was extractive and protective. The future of advantage, on the other hand, is allocative and creative.
A few weeks ago, Forbes ran an article entitled, “Innovation Beyond Apple.” The piece de-briefed a discussion among executives from a range of consumer goods companies including HSN, Mattel, and Chrysalis, an incubator company for emerging brands. It challenged readers to think about innovation differently, and many of the points resonated with me.
Credit Suisse's report picks its 27 elite brands of tomorrow based on a deeper analysis of their potential. Most of the picks are brands that are "transforming," making the leap from niche/emerging players into powerful mainstream brands. Brands like Trader Joe's and Hyundai. These are brands that offer investors attractive returns, some risk but not as much as early-stage brands that may never make it over the hump once the initial rush of growth and enthusiasm is over. Only two early stage brands make the list: Facebook and Comac, a Chinese aircraft start-up.
It is rare to see an actress on the Oscar red carpet wearing her gown from the previous year. Why, then, were there so many retreads among the commercials that appeared on Sunday during the ABC coverage of the 82nd annual Academy Awards? The reruns were an aberration given that for many years the Oscars broadcast had been a showcase for new commercials, much like the Super Bowl.
Google Inc. is testing a new television-programming search service with Dish Network Corp., according to people familiar with the matter, the latest development in a fast-moving race to combine Internet content with conventional TV. The service, which runs on TV set-top boxes containing Google software, allows users to find shows on the satellite-TV service as well as video from Web sites like Google's YouTube, according to these people. It also lets users to personalize a lineup of shows, these people said.
Threatened by Apple Inc.'s growing stable of portable devices, Sony Corp. is developing a new lineup of handheld products, including a smart phone capable of downloading and playing videogames, according to people familiar with the matter. The Japanese electronics giant also is developing a portable device that shares characteristics of netbooks, electronic-book readers and handheld-game machines. The device is designed to compete against multifunction products such as Apple's coming iPad tablet, these people said.
Mobile phones are fast becoming the way consumers find coupons, research products, compare prices and make purchases. It makes shopping easier for consumers, but that doesn't mean retailers are thrilled at the prospect of consumers consulting mobile phones from their aisles -- after all, does Best Buy want you to know that the item in your cart can be had cheaper at Amazon -- and purchased right now on your phone?
Judging from its branding and the griping of its competitors, Apple customers are hip, aware, and enlightened, yet its shareholders recently defeated resolutions to make the company more environmentally responsible and affirmed instead their uncool unconcern about anything other than profits. There isn't just a disconnect here, but an entirely topsy-turvy arrangement.
Apple held its shareholder meeting day today, and CEO Steve Jobs made an appearance. When asked about Apple's huge mountain of cash, he recited Apple's traditional line that he would rather have cash at his disposal instead of dividends or buybacks, Bloomberg reports.
Sitting in a meeting room that looks out on a frozen Baltic bay, Nokia Oyj Chief Executive Officer Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo mentions a biography he’s reading. It’s about Mauno Koivisto, the president who butted heads with his own Social Democratic Party en route to opening Finland’s 1992 bid to join the European Union.
One troubling recent phenomenon is the push for everyone to be innovators. I suspect more books have been sold with the word innovation in their title in the last 10 years than in the previous 50, including, I confess, one of my own. And while much has changed, it's hard to say the quality of things in the world has improved as fast. Keen-eyed consumers bemoan the low quality of many of the things we buy and try to use. Web sites divide short articles across 25 ad-filled pages. Gadgets quickly run out of power. Smartphones have anemic reception or fragile screens. Many things we buy and use never work in the way we're promised, which suggests there are opportunities in merely being good: Much of what's made falls short of that mark.
Mobile advertising, long tabbed as the next big thing, is finally getting its share of attention. Google and Apple, poised in a battle for dominance in what's being hailed as the successor to the PC Internet, have spent a combined $1 billion to buy mobile ad networks AdMob and Quattro Wireless. And Microsoft last week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, previewed its next mobile phone platform, Windows Phone 7. Yet despite the excitement over the potential of mobile ads, they currently come up short for the kind of advertising most appealing to brands. In the words of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, as reported by BusinessWeek last month, "Mobile ads suck."
I'm a tough customer. I admit it. Takes one to know one. I'm a loud shocking dose of reality for companies that sell me something. I expect too much from them. I've given them my money for, and put my trust in; their products or services, and I expect them to value that accordingly. I can be a firm's greatest ally or its worst nightmare. So when something goes wrong, I want the company to fix it. Now! When it takes too long, I let them know it. When service representatives can't solve the problem, I want to talk to their bosses, their bosses' bosses, all the way up to their CEOs. And when a service rep tells me, "My supervisor will just tell you the same thing," well, there's nothing I want to hear less.
Apple is famous for not engaging in the focus-grouping that defines most business product and marketing strategy. Which is partly why Apples products and advertising are so insanely great. They have the courage of their own convictions, instead of the opinions of everyone else's whims. On the subject, Steve Jobs loves to quote Henry Ford who once said that if he had asked people what they wanted they would have said "a faster horse."
Looking back at some of the greatest innovations in marketing and advertising over the past 100 years, the creative brilliance of these ideas is obvious. Yet the stories behind these examples involve bold thinking, the passion to champion new ideas and a high dose of risk. Our industry's visionaries often countered research results, drove themselves beyond the great idea and defied bosses and boards to push through their plans. Let these stories inspire today's marketers, who have so many new tools at their disposal, to set aside conventional thinking and become the marketing innovators of the next 100 years.
Daring Fireball's John Gruber — a Drexel University computer major turned professional blogger — is perhaps the most forceful and articulate defender on the Web of all things Apple (AAPL). He came to Macworld Expo 2010, however, not to praise the company but to probe its vulnerabilities.
Now that the histrionics surrounding the debut of Apple's iPad have fizzled into a rational, and often uninspired, discussion of the device’s actual merits and shortcomings, Apple is left with the iReality of the iPad. Reviews are mixed, but the brand is being proactive about taking the lead regarding the public conversation.
Magazines, books, newspapers -- all that printed stuff is supposed to be dying. Advertising pages, which have been steadily declining, dropped 26% in 2009 alone. But here, surely, was some evidence that publishing might have a chance. If an adolescent who otherwise spends every waking hour on a laptop still craves the printed word, then maybe, just maybe, there's a little new growth left in old media.
The technology we call innovative will seem pedestrian to our children. From touch screens to open source, our kids are being conditioned to interact with technology in ways we hardly expected even a decade ago, despite what "The Jetsons" foreshadowed back in the '60s. One thing seems increasingly clear: our children are not being conditioned to buy Microsoft. Not anymore.
Apple clearly recognizes the importance of the mobile web, but did they get trigger happy and launch the iPad too soon? The launch of the new Apple device has lit up the internet with all sorts of criticisms, praises, questions and opinions. A question remains for those of us in the search marketing and social media world—how will these tablets incorporate the use of social media?
Is Apple's new e-book store a model for the television industry? It is clear the existing TV arrangement, under which cable operators sell packages of channels on behalf of media companies, is fraying. Fights between the two sides over subscription fees are escalating—another such dust-up looms this year when Time Warner Cable's distribution agreement with Walt Disney's channels, including ABC and ESPN, comes up for renewal.
Even before Apple announced the iPad last week, the Internet was going tablet-crazy. After speculation, literally years in the making, finally came to a crescendo, the public reaction has been decidedly mixed. Discussions about what’s missing and why the announcement was a disappointment have been covered from nearly every angle. However, whether Apple’s iPad ultimately succeeds or fails, it is yet another sign of an emerging device class. With Google (Google), Microsoft, and others investing in researching tablet-style computers, this is a trend that will not begin or end with the iPad.
Last week a temporary cease-fire went into effect amidst a brewing battle between Amazon.com and Macmillan, a unit of Germany's Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GMBH and one of the largest publishers in the US. The battle was over the price of ebooks on Amazon's site. Macmillan insisted upon -- and eventually received -- a 30-50% increase over the $9.99 loss leader price for new releases that helped build Amazon's dominant position in the ebook market. But only after an attempt by Amazon to wield its distribution power to force Macmillan to back down. (You can read the details at this link).
Sounds like a sensationalistic headline, but if you read Morgan Stanley’s latest series of reports on the Mobile Internet, you’ll walk away with the same impression. Morgan Stanley’s global technology and telecom analysts documented the rapidly changing mobile Internet market to provide a framework for emerging trends and direction. To set the stage, Morgan Stanley forecasts that the mobile Internet market will be at least 2x the size of desktop Internet when comparing Internet users to mobile subscribers.
When I picked up my iPhone over the weekend, I had an epiphany. I was using the LinkedIn app to confirm an invitation to connect, and it hit me: This is the future of mobile computing, the mobile web — the mobile experience. No, I’m not saying the LinkedIn app is the future per se (that’d be silly), but rather the overall concept of it. The LinkedIn iPhone app is, in my opinion, better than the actual LinkedIn.com website. Same goes for the Facebook app compared to Facebook.com. Gone are their busy, tab-infested UIs. In their stead are beautiful bubbly icons screaming “Touch me!” We no longer have to squint or click around in search of the feature we’re trying to access: The button is right there in that simple interface for us to tap. The Facebook and Linkedin apps are two key examples of popular services whose iPhone apps outdid the websites they were trying to “port.” They’re two gems glistening brightly for the future of mobile.
Turns out brands really do matter, particularly when it comes to financial and market performance. According to Millward Brown Optimor, its BrandZ Strong Brands Portfolio -- a group of the top 100 most valuable global brands -- has outpaced the S&P 500. The brand and financial services consultancy says the BrandZ portfolio has gained 36.4% since April 2009 (when the holdings were last reported), compared with the S&P's increase of 31.6% during that same period. "What it shows is that strong brands are a source of competitive advantage for a company," Ove Haxthausen, a partner at Millward Brown Optimor, tells Marketing Daily. "Brands matter because they can and do add value for shareholders."
After a weekend of brinksmanship, Amazon.com on Sunday surrendered to a publisher and agreed to raise prices on some electronic books. Amazon shocked the publishing world late last week by removing direct access to the Kindle editions as well as printed books from Macmillan, one of the country’s six largest publishers, which had said it planned to begin setting higher consumer prices for e-books. Until now, Amazon has set e-book prices itself, with $9.99 as the default for new releases and best sellers.
The digital publishing industry and consumer advocates breathed a sigh of relief when Apple chief executive Steve Jobs revealed that the iPad would use the open EPUB format for the electronic books it sold through the iBooks store. Unlike Amazon, which has quickly grown to be the world’s largest seller of e-books, it appeared Apple was steering away from introducing its own file format that would only work on Apple products. Instead, by choosing EPUB, a more common format, it looked like Apple was breaking with its past walled-garden approach. Those hopes were quickly dashed. According to executives in the digital reading industry, Apple is planning to add its own digital rights management software. Apple could not be reached for comment.
The more, the better. That’s the fashionable recipe for nurturing new ideas these days. It emphasizes a kind of Internet-era egalitarianism that celebrates the “wisdom of the crowd” and “open innovation.” Assemble all the contributions in the digital suggestion box, we’re told in books and academic research, and the result will be collective intelligence. Yet Apple, a creativity factory meticulously built by Steven P. Jobs since he returned to the company in 1997, suggests another innovation formula — one more elitist and individual.
Advocates wary of the Apple device say Amazon.com's e-reader has its new rival beat on battery life, weight, cost and reading experience.
Apple has generated a lot of chatter with its new iPad tablet. But it may not be quite the conversation it wanted. Many women are saying the name evokes awkward associations with feminine hygiene products. People from Boston to Ireland are complaining that “iPad,” in their regional brogue, sounds almost indistinguishable from “iPod,” Apple’s music player.
AT&T said Thursday that it will invest an additional $2 billion in its network in 2010 to make sure it keeps up with the growing demand from new smartphones and other 3G data devices, such as the Apple iPad, on its network. During its fourth quarter 2009 conference call, Chief Operating Officer John Stankey said AT&T plans to spend between $18 billion and $19 billion in 2010 upgrading its wireless and backhaul networks to handle the onslaught of new traffic. This is roughly $2 billion more than the company had invested in the previous year. Specifically, Stankey said AT&T will add 2,000 new cell sites and upgrade existing cell sites with three times more fiber links than it had in 2009. This will increase capacity for the backhaul network that connects the cell towers to AT&T's main network. The backhaul portion of the network is a critical component to AT&T's network. With these upgrades in place, Stankey said the company will be able to easily upgrade in the future to 4G wireless technology.
Traditional media -- notably representatives from the reeling print world -- were conspicuously absent from Apple’s elaborate rollout of the iPad, its highly-anticipated tablet computing device. But publishers, advertisers and analysts remain optimistic that magazines and newspapers will ultimately receive a readership and business boost from the new product, which was unveiled during a press event in San Francisco yesterday.
You have to give it to Apple. The company has an uncanny knack for seizing the moment and whipping journalists and consumers into a frenzy. The latest wave comes from today's launch of the iPad tablet with iBookstore content store. As always, there's a lot to like about Apple's device. The user interface looks great, the bookstore seems intuitive, and Apple set a price point (at least for the entry level iPad) that positions the device well in the marketplace. The hype bar was set so high that inevitably some people were disappointed - Dan Frommer from Silicon Alley Insider called it a big "yawn" that won't define publishing the way many experts projected.
When I woke up today, it took me about half an hour to get up to speed with the iPad (I’m in Croatia, so the bulk of the news came in overnight for me). After I’ve read a couple of articles, I already knew everything there was to know about it (and more): its advantages, its flaws, and its potential. But hidden between the lines of all that iPad coverage I’ve learned a thing or two about Apple and its plans, mostly from the things iPad is missing.
We have seen several epic marketing wars: The Cola War of Coke vs. Pepsi, The Beer War of Budweiser vs. Miller, The Mouthwash War of Listerine vs. Scope and The Battery War of Duracell vs. Energizer. But they all fail in comparison to the money and firepower currently being expended in the Cellphone War between AT&T and arch-rival Verizon Wireless. Last year AT&T and Verizon Wireless spent a combined $4 billion in advertising to blast consumers with 615,000 television commercials. Yet, despite the incredible sums spent and the enormous volume flooding the airways, most consumers are still confused.
Steven P. Jobs has finally introduced Apple’s new tablet computer, called the iPad. The question now is whether regular consumers will buy the iPhone-like device, which starts at $500 and can cost as much as $829. Mr. Jobs, appearing energized but gaunt, a result of his ongoing health challenges, unveiled the iPad at a press event here on Wednesday morning. Its features and specifications, once the stuff of Internet myth, are now sharply in focus: The half-inch thick, 1.5 pound device will feature a 9.7-inch multi-touch screen and is powered by a customized Apple microchip, which it has dubbed A4. The iPad will have the same operating system as the iPhone and access to its 140,000 applications.
Literature has always relied on technology. We wouldn't have the Dead Sea Scrolls had the ancients failed to invent papyrus, just as we wouldn't have "The Da Vinci Code" if Gutenberg hadn't come out with movable type. Technology has also abetted literature by enabling the wealth and leisure that fueled the rise of the popular press — and allowed for such luxuries as a class of professional writers and a large campus establishment devoted to the literary arts. It is important to bear in mind that technology is not the sworn enemy of literature as Apple prepares (according to frantic rumor) to unveil its much-anticipated new tablet computer on Jan. 27. Still, the collision of technology and literature in this case may well prove explosive.
Book publishers were locked in 11th-hour negotiations with Apple Inc. that could rewrite the industry's revenue model after the technology giant unveils its highly anticipated tablet device Wednesday. Apple's new multimedia tablet device, with a 10-inch touch screen that is expected to deliver video, text, navigation and social-networking applications, is trying to change the way much of traditional media is delivered.
With the widely anticipated introduction of a tablet computer at an event here on Wednesday morning, Apple may be giving the media industry a kind of time machine — a chance to undo mistakes of the past. Almost all media companies have run aground in the Internet Age as they gave away their print and video content on the Web and watched paying customers drift away as a result.
After throwing off the mediocre display of 3-D technologies and e-books at CES, the industry is eagerly awaiting the main event on Wednesday. There truly is no spectacle that compares to the launch of a new Apple product. The formula is well-established. Everyone is hungry for the next iPhone moment and Apple's bid to squash the Kindle and reinvent the publishing business with the iPad or the iSlate tablet computer. But that is a mere sideshow. The real road kill this time will not be the Kindle. It will be handheld video gaming devices like Sony's PSP and the Nintendo DS, as Apple establishes a lock on the economics of casual gaming with its newest device.
When it comes to innovation, many executives in the consumer goods industry are chasing Apple. Who can blame them? While most retailers spent the holiday season slashing prices, Apple reported record earnings by enchanting audiences with iPhones. Now, as retailers try to re-engage consumers this year, executives are trying to replicate the "Apple thrill." But focusing exclusively on product innovation is a mistake for most companies, say executives who gathered recently at Berglass + Associates, my company, to discuss innovation.
Steve Jobs is walking the same path as Walt Disney. As soon as California’s Disneyland was completed, Walt knew he had made a terrible mistake by not securing the surrounding real estate. He had built this wonderful destination but his oversight allowed hotel chains and restaurants to come in and make more money off his customers than he did. So Walt immediately went to Orlando, FL and built Disneyworld the right way. The moral of the story is that Steve Jobs is not someone you want to depend on for your livelihood. His goal is to build a closed digital neighborhood where Apple (AAPL) controls who makes money and who doesn’t. I'll bet that in one of those Apple board meetings that Google (GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt used to attend, he realized that Jobs was on the verge of building AppleWorld and he's been scared ever since.
Hewlett-Packard Co. launched Monday a subscription music service across 10 countries in Europe with U.K. mobile music start-up Omnifone Ltd., moving into a market dominated by Apple Inc.'s iTunes.
Apple patents come a dime a dozen, but these two seem both practical and implementable. The first outlines a solar powered iPod and the second details more specific gesture-based input methods, including scoops, nudges, and tilts.
With the new tablet device that is debuting next week, Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs is betting he can reshape businesses like textbooks, newspapers and television much the way his iPod revamped the music industry—and expand Apple's influence and revenue as a content middleman. In developing the device, Apple focused on the role the gadget could play in homes and in classrooms, say people familiar with the situation. The company envisions that the tablet can be shared by multiple family members to read news and check email in homes, these people say.
BusinessWeek is reporting and solidifying what was previously an almost unthinkable rumor: that Bing might become the default search engine on the iPhone (and iPod Touch). The way BusinessWeek frames it this becomes a case of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
Though everybody believes next week Apple will be revealing an exciting tablet PC, complete with reputed e-reader powers, the event has clearly got Amazon running scared: It's just improved its deal for Kindle publishers, significantly. In a press release to announce the news, Amazon comes directly and efficiently to the point (a slightly unusual step for press releases!) with the words "Amazon.com [announces] a new program that will enable authors and publishers who use the Kindle Digital Text Platform (DTP) to earn a larger share of revenue from each Kindle book they sell." The company is preserving some of its existing DTP royalty share options, but is adding in a new 70% option--giving 70% of list price (net of delivery costs) to authors or publishers.
The New York Times will begin charging for online access to its website by 2011, reversing the prevailing policy among general news brands to give away their best work for free. The publisher of the International Herald Tribune, Boston Globe and the namesake daily newspaper will adopt a metered model, similar to a system used by the Financial Times, that will offer a set number of articles for free monthly and begin charging readers after they exceed the limit.
Mobile app stores are likely to get a lot busier this year. Smartphone consumers will spend $6.2 billion on mobile apps in 2010, forecasts Gartner in a recent report, generating ad revenue of around $0.6 billion throughout the world. Downloads will also skyrocket, exceeding 4.5 billion this year. But good news for app users--82 percent of all apps downloaded will be free.
Apple on Monday ratcheted up the public relations buzz surrounding the launch of a new product, widely expected to be a tablet-sized computer, this month. It sent out a press invitation via email, inviting journalists to “come see our latest creation”. Whilst far from explicit, as is Apple’s wont, the invitation was the strongest confirmation yet of what has been the company’s most anticipated new product since the launch of the iPhone three years ago.
A BusinessWeek piece named Apple vs. Google discusses much of the recent competitive business products the two companies have. On page three of that article, there are some analysts who suspect Apple may drop Google, as the default search provider, to Bing.
In the wake of Google’s launch of its new Nexus One phone last week, customers are starting to complain about Google’s lack of customer service. At CES on Friday, Walt Mossberg asked Google VP of engineering Andy Rubin specifically about complaints from people seeking support for the Nexus One. According to All Things D, “Rubin concedes that there is no phone support and that there is sometimes a 3-day delay in response time. ‘We have to get better at customer service,’ he says.”
Those slightly amusing Mac vs. PC Apple ads are getting a bit tired now, but when the PR guys dream up the successors, they might need a rethink on the strategy. Because the new "Mac vs. PC" battle might be "Apple vs. Google." The idea has popped up courtesy of The New York Times's David Pogue, who's also been speaking to the editors of tech blogs Gizmodo and Engadget. In a blog post late yesterday, Pogue believes he has revealed a "whole new untapped population online: The Android Army."
To most people these days, an "app" is something you download on your smartphone to help you do a specific task -- say, find a good nearby restaurant. But big tech companies, seeing how applications have boosted the appeal of gadgets such as Apple's iPhone, are starting to view apps as low-cost enhancements for a broader range of products, from netbooks to TVs and beyond.
The most buzzed-about device at CES 2010 wasn't even on display here. A tablet or slate computer from Apple was basically all anyone wanted to talk about, and it's not even a confirmed product yet. We can partly blame both Apple and Google for this. Google sucked all the air out of the Las Vegas Convention Center Tuesday, two days before this whole show even got started, thanks to its introduction of the Nexus One phone and accompanying online retail platform for it. But Apple's specter has once again haunted the show it doesn't even attend.
The buzz is palpable about Apple's plans to announce a tablet computer later this month. I think it's instructive as to the function and uses of conversation. Apple is a company that has utterly shunned the social media campaigns that have displaced more old-fashioned ways to waste consumers' time. It has no Twitter feed, provides no payola to twentysomethings so that they’ll blog about its products, and I bet it would happily ignore a request for comment from the President if asked. It doesn't talk. Apple does.
Microsoft on Wednesday evening positioned itself for a potential war over a new category of touch-screen “tablet” computers as Steve Ballmer, chief executive, anticipated an expected major product announcement from Apple by showing off a version running on Windows software. The Microsoft boss used his speech at the opening of the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to highlight the product, made by Hewlett-Packard.
So Google's got a new phone now. Internet coverage is predictably hyperbolic, though Scott Anthony smartly puts the phone's potential to make waves into the future tense, and the New York Times' typically giddy David Pogue was downright snarky in his review. Nevertheless, the tech industry is atwitter with a fresh new rivalry. Mac versus PC is so last decade. Now, it's "Hello I'm an iPhone." "And I'm a Nexus One." I vote for Rainn Wilson playing Google in the commercials.
The coverage of Google's Nexus One "superphone" - officially unveiled today - was swift and almost universally positive. The HTC-designed device looks beautiful, its functionality sounds fantastic, and by all accounts it looks like a viable competitor to Apple and Research in Motion in the smartphone market. In this case, however, there's more to the story. Google's distribution approach has the potential to dramatically accelerate a broad disruption in the mobile phone market where the balance of power shifts from carriers and retailers to device, software, and applications providers.
Apple just announced that its App Store has blown past three billion app downloads, which is impressive. But the timing is curious, as are the swirling rumors about the upcoming Apple Tablet. Is Apple trying to out-PR CES and Google?
Looking to build on the momentum of its iPhone and iPod, Apple Inc. will unveil a new multimedia tablet device later this month, but isn't planning to ship the product until March, say people briefed by the company. While the device's ship date hasn't been finalized and could still change, people briefed on the matter said the new product will come with a 10 to 11-inch touch screen—which would make it closer in size to Apple's line of MacBook laptops than its smart phone.
Google made huge waves in the mobile industry when it acquired mobile ad network AdMob for $750 million. Now Apple, which is increasingly in direct competition with Google, has countered its new rival. According to All Things Digital, Apple has entered into an agreement to acquire Quattro Wireless, a mobile ad platform similar to AdMob but smaller in scale. The announcement may come as soon as tomorrow.
We've become a nation of early adopters -- now can the consumer electronics industry lead the U.S. recovery? That's what CE manufacturers (who happen to include a few of the world's biggest consumer marketers) hope for as they gather in Las Vegas this week for the annual Consumer Electronics Show.
Reasons to feel bearish about Microsoft aren't hard to find. But it's the software giant's diminishing profile in the mobile world that is the talk of Silicon Valley right now. The explosion of mobile applications on devices like Apple's iPhone and Motorola's Droid presages far-reaching changes in consumer behavior. Google gets that. Aside from helping develop the Android mobile operating system, the company plans to buy mobile ad firm AdMob. And now it is working on plans to sell its own phone. It's a different story at Microsoft.
Last time there was this much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it. A blizzard of speculation is building over Apple's as-yet-unconfirmed release of a tablet computer. Among other things, the tablet is expected to offer e-books and TV programs. Apple has been trying to get TV networks to license their programming for a subscription service planned as part of a revamp of iTunes, presumably with the tablet in mind.
Nokia escalated its patent dispute with archrival Apple over smartphone technology on Tuesday, filing a complaint with the US International Trade Commission. The complaint accuses Apple of infringing Nokia patents in “virtually all of its mobile phones, portable music players and computers”, the Finnish company said.
Customers were more satisfied than ever with e-commerce sites while holiday shopping, according to ForeSee Results’ E-Retail Satisfaction Index, which uses methodology developed at the University of Michigan to study consumer satisfaction. Satisfaction rose 7 percent to 79 out of 100, the highest since the survey began in 2001.
Google will start the new year with a mobile product announcement, setting the stage for what is turning into a showdown with its former ally Apple over mobile computing devices. The search group revealed earlier this month that it had issued employees with a mobile device to test, though it did not give details. On Tuesday it disclosed that it would hold an event at its headquarters in Silicon Valley next Tuesday for a mobile announcement, prompting speculation that the device would be unveiled.
The great brands of our time are not about what they are. They are about what they represent. Apple, Sarah Palin, Harley Davidson, Tom's Shoes... In each case, the reality of the product means far less than what the brand represents.
Apple has something big up its sleeve for next month. The company has rented a stage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco for several days in late January, according to people familiar with the plans. Apple is expected to use the venue to make a major product announcement on Tuesday, January 26th. Both YBCA and Apple declined to comment.
In 2007 Steve Jobs launched the iPhone with a fanfare of fiery rhetoric. The iPhone, Apple's chief executive claimed, was three "revolutionary" devices in one. Combining a touch-controlled iPod media player, a phone and an "internet communicator", the iPhone was "a leapfrog product that is way smarter than any mobile device has ever been". In contrast, when Mr Jobs introduced the App store a little less than 18 months ago, his vocabulary was considerably more muted.
Research In Motion Ltd. reported surging profits and sales of its BlackBerry devices while rival Palm Inc. posted another quarterly loss amid signs that consumer demand waned for its newest smart phones. The results showed the diverging paths of a market leader and an underdog in an increasingly competitive smart-phone market. Shares of the two companies moved in opposite directions in after-hours trading. RIM's shares jumped 12% to $71.21, while Palm's shares fell 8.7% to $10.70.
Nokia Oyj Chief Executive Officer Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said this month he’s “really bullish” about the company’s “Comes With Music” package, a phone bundled with unlimited songs. Analysts say it leaves them cold. Services like Comes With Music from Nokia, the world’s largest mobile-phone maker, to take on Apple Inc.’s iPhone are too little too late, said Tero Kuittinen, an analyst at Greenwich, Connecticut-based MKM.
Back in the good old days, Microsoft did desktops, Google stuck to search and Apple made toys for people in polo necks. No more. The superpowers of the technology world are at war, and like real wars, the battle is happening on several fronts. They're fighting on the desktop, they're fighting on mobile phones, they're fighting in the browser and they're fighting in your front room. Who will prevail, and who will end up in a bunker?
Morgan Stanley's global technology and telecom analysts set out to do a deep dive into the rapidly changing mobile Internet market. We wanted to create a data-rich, theme-based framework for thinking about how the market may develop. We intend to expand and edit the framework as the market evolves. A lot has changed since we published “The Internet Report” in 1995 on the web. We decided to create The Mobile Internet Report largely in PowerPoint and publish it on the web, expecting that bits and pieces of it will be cut / pasted / redistributed and debated / dismissed / lauded. Our goal is to get our thoughts and data into the conversation about what may be the biggest technology trend ever, one that may help make us all more informed in ways that are unique to the web circa 2009, and beyond.
Two titans of the tech world, Google and Apple, may soon be engaged in hand-to-hand combat. Or, more precisely, handset-to-handset combat. Google plans to begin selling its own smartphone early next year, company employees say, a move that could challenge Apple’s leadership in one of the fastest-growing and most important technologies in decades.
Apple sued the cellphone maker Nokia Corporation on Friday for patent infringement, a countermove to Nokia’s earlier suit against technologies used in Apple’s iPhone. Apple’s lawsuit claims Nokia is infringing 13 of Apple’s patents and says the company chose to “copy the iPhone,” especially its user interface, to make up for its declining share of the high-end phone market.
Mark Anderson is the writer behind the Strategic News Service, a predictive newsletter with a wide following among technology executives and venture capitalists, which he publishes from the island redoubt of Friday Harbor, Wash. And each December, he comes to New York, hosts a dinner and delivers a set of forecasts for the coming year. The dinner was at the Waldorf-Astoria on Thursday night, but I caught up with Mr. Anderson earlier for a preview of his after-dinner performance. One of his predictions, in particular, caught my attention. “Except for gaming, it is ‘game over’ for Microsoft in the consumer market,” he said. “It’s time to declare Microsoft a loser in phones. Just get out of Dodge.”
Google Inc. and Apple Inc., which have long thrived without treading on one another's turf, are vying to acquire some of the same Silicon Valley start-ups and developing products that put themselves in more direct competition. Google was in serious discussions to acquire online-music company La La Media Inc. before Apple won the deal this month for $85 million, people familiar with the matter said
Video entertainment was “the one that got away” from Apple, but recent moves reveal the company is taking a second stab at the category, and that streaming video will play a major role. The addition of video cameras to Apple’s latest iPhone and iPod Nano were just the first hints of the company’s new personal-media strategy. The company is also building a 500,000 square-foot data center in North Carolina, which could provide the massive bandwidth required for ubiquitous streaming video. And Apple’s recent acquisition of Lala suggests it’s interested in rebooting iTunes into a streaming service, according to Wall Street Journal. That means music, in Lala’s case, but the same infrastructure could be shared with streaming video.
Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs is the ultimate brand leader in my eyes. There is no better example of leading through actions, not words. He doesn’t tell people about the Apple brand. He IS the Apple brand personified. Jobs has just been named CEO of the decade by Fortune magazine, and the fascinating articles in this special issue give some great insights into his brand leadership and the stunning results it has produced. I share a few of my favourite highlights below.
Apple Inc., the company that restructured the music industry around its iTunes service, is exploring an overhaul of the way it sells and stores music that is aimed at extending its influence to the Web, according to people briefed on the strategy. The key vehicle for the move is Apple's newly acquired music-streaming service La La Media Inc. for which Apple paid $85 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
Yesterday’s New York Times’ article, Apple’s Game Changer, Downloading Now, was a fascinating read. I’m not knowledgeable enough about the technology behind mobile apps to evaluate the story as a representation of the programming and development challenges and opportunities of all the different companies. But I found it a provocative report on the different brands’ strategies.
Apple bought internet music site Lala.com late on Friday for an undisclosed amount, a development that could lead to the addition of streaming songs and new payment systems at Apple’s iTunes, the world’s biggest music retailer. Apple confirmed the deal but declined to say what it would do with Lala, which currently allows users to listen to any song or album once without paying.
YouTube, which is already trying out the movie rental business, wants to get into TV, too. Google's video site has been trying to convince the TV industry to let it stream individual shows for a fee, multiple sources tell me. YouTube already lets users watch a smattering of TV shows for free, with advertising. Now it envisions something similar to what Apple and Amazon already offer: First-run shows, without commercials, for $1.99 an episode, available the day after they air on broadcast or cable.
On my way to last month's Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles, I took a small detour to Orange County to check out the recently opened Microsoft Store there. Although I had heard plenty about Microsoft's nascent retail effort, I wanted to get a firsthand look. At a glance, it's easy to understand why the store draws so many comparisons to Apple's stores. The outside of the store features an expansive glass window with a stylized Microsoft logo at the top. Inside, products are sorted into themed sections, with a help desk and theater in the rear, and all around are T-shirted enthusiasts ready to answer any and all questions. From that standpoint, it's nearly a carbon copy. But even as it mimics much of the Apple approach, Microsoft finds ways to customize its message to its different role in the world.
The iPhone is a cultural icon of the digital age. Apple's "There's an app for that" slogan in commercials is even repeated both as a punch line and a nod to the ubiquity of new applications on the so-called "Jesus phone" platform. Many top brands have tested its waters. Coke has two iPhone apps, as does Nike. Procter & Gamble has several, including Tide's Stain Brain, which helps consumers find ways to remove stains. All are searching for the secret formula that will unlock the promise of mobile marketing: a utility or piece of entertainment that is with consumers at all times.
In a landmark 1964 case, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the obscenity conviction of an Ohio theater owner who had screened the French film “Les Amants.” In his concurring opinion, Justice Potter Stevens concluded that while he was unable to provide a precise definition of hard-core pornography, he knew it when he saw it. So it is with great design—we know it when we see it. Trouble is, we see way too little of it. A case in point.
Apple Inc.'s iPhone on Saturday will finally go on sale in South Korea, a country that prides itself on creating and consuming cutting-edge technology but where the government raised trade barriers on smart phones to protect domestic manufacturers and carriers for several years.
Digital is so yesterday. It will soon be 20 years since the advent of commercially available digital services such as America Online, multimedia, mobile phones and widespread use of personal computers. The American household went digital long before marketers embraced technology and the Internet. Now, as companies struggle to get their "digital strategies" in order, they will be surprised to discover consumers have moved on to the "post-digital" age.
Popular opinion suggests that great innovation results from a mysterious combination of forces that make it appear to fall from the sky. Whether divine intervention, the harnessing of creative genius or luck, to many, innovation seems to surface at random moments and emerge from circumstances that cannot be reproduced or understood. However, based on a 30-year analysis of 300 product categories covering 225 countries, it becomes clear this perception is false: Tomorrow's winning innovation can actually be predicted.
'Tis the season to diss Apple in some very creative and entertaining ways. I'm just not sure whether it's a sign of strategic marketing insight, or fishbowl-like confusion of message over meaning. First came Microsoft's "I'm a PC" campaigns, with its snippets of slice-of-life everypeople declaring their stereotypical lifestyles, and then shoppers explaining how they'd first looked at an Apple but then chose a PC because it was a better value. I'm all for comparison ads but the nonsense of contrasting PC-ness with Apple-ness is kind of silly.
Sony is looking to concentrate its nearly $5bn annual advertising firepower on a smaller number of products to “reinvent its marketing”, senior executives at the company said. The company fears it is being outgunned by competitors that spend heavily to promote specific products or categories, such as Apple with the iPod or iPhone, Samsung in televisions, or Canon in digital cameras. As a result, Sony believes, even when its device is superior it might not sell as well.
It could be that everyone will figure out how to play nicely with each other, and we'll see a continuation of the interoperable web model we've enjoyed for the past two decades. But I'm betting that things are going to get ugly. We're heading into a war for control of the web. And in the end, it's more than that, it's a war against the web as an interoperable platform. Instead, we're facing the prospect of Facebook as the platform, Apple as the platform, Google as the platform, Amazon as the platform, where big companies slug it out until one is king of the hill. And it's time for developers to take a stand. If you don't want a repeat of the PC era, place your bets now on open systems. Don't wait till it's too late.
Maintaining relevance is essential in every industry, not just financial services. As long as competition thrives and technology continues its relentless march forward, companies that don't evolve are destined for extinction. The good news is that innovation doesn't always have to be radical. In fact, a steady stream of minor enhancements to a product, service, or experience can help a company maintain relevance quite nicely. Innovation is like investing—small gains over time compound to deliver longstanding benefits.
Satoru Iwata, the president of Nintendo Co., is a self-proclaimed Apple Inc. fan. He carries an iPhone and uses a Mac laptop. So when Mr. Iwata says Nintendo and Apple aren't competitors, he should know what he's talking about. Nintendo, whose gadgets and software dominate the portable-videogame market, faces the greatest risk from the emergence of Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch as gaming platforms. But Mr. Iwata says attempts to create a rivalry between the two companies make him "uncomfortable," because he says it isn't true. He argues the companies appeal to different consumers.
Apple, once untouchable in terms of marketing, has gotten a little roughed up lately. For much of the decade, Apple got away with bashing longtime adversary Microsoft without repercussions. Apple also dominated the MP3 player category without a serious rival. But now, as Microsoft has reinvigorated its marketing and it navigates into the phone handset category, suddenly everyone is bashing Apple.
How's this for a gripping corporate story line: Youthful founder gets booted from his company in the 1980s, returns in the 1990s, and in the following decade survives two brushes with death, one securities-law scandal, an also-ran product lineup, and his own often unpleasant demeanor to become the dominant personality in four distinct industries, a billionaire many times over, and CEO of the most valuable company in Silicon Valley. Sound too far-fetched to be true? Perhaps. Yet it happens to be the real-life story of Steve Jobs and his outsize impact on everything he touches. The past decade in business belongs to Jobs.
Have you noticed that most conversations about branding inevitably include references to Harley-Davidson and Apple? Sprinkle in mentions of Coke, Facebook, and Zappos, and you get the context of every agency pitch for more spending on brand engagement, loyalty, or whatever else these examples might suggest. I suggest you ban these references from your next conversation. Forget about them altogether.
What's a megatrend, you ask? It's something big. I'm talking really big. Think of a giant unstoppable tsunami of change transforming society as we know it. Think global warming scale -- then apply it to mass human behavior. Think glaciers carving the grand canyon of consumer sentiment. So what are the new megatrends that I believe will transform society in the coming years? What brands are taking advantage of them? And what can you learn from them?
Few would argue with the statements: “Less is more” (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, architect), “Do more with less” (Buckminster Fuller, structural engineer), or “Less but better” (Dieter Rams, industrial designer). The list goes on. Each of these minimalists built through subtraction. You too can benefit from a minimalist approach. Most brands and businesses focus on adding value by adding functions. Yet, subtraction is more than just a way of reducing costs. Subtractive thinking can add real value, both by cutting cost and increasing usability.
When you think of corporate smartphones, you tend to think almost automatically of RIM's BlackBerrys--they're solid, reliable, iconic, successful and have sewn up something like 40% of that market. The iPhone, with its glossy looks, high-tech allure, reputation as a gaming and entertainment platform and relatively high unit costs isn't something you'd necessarily associate with a corporate environment. Apple itself has gone on record to state that the tens of thousands of apps that are helping to make the phone a success (thousands of which seem business-oriented) are most definitely not business tools, implying the phone itself isn't.
For the third year in a row, Apple's iPhone will enter the holiday shopping season as the smartphone to beat. But this year, it actually has some respectable challengers. Perhaps the best rival will be the new Droid phone by Motorola for Verizon Wireless. Running the newest version of Google's Android operating system, Droid includes an improved web browser, free turn-by-turn navigation, a gorgeous screen, a slide-out keyboard and a super-fast processor.
Interesting article on global brands adapting to local culture in Market Leader by Nigel Hollis of Millward Brown. Nice one Nigel. First thing that hit me was that global brands beat local brands in the five categories researched across eight countries. The global brands were more often considered for purchase, and scored better on statements including 'easy to recognize', and having 'distinctive identities'. The two global brands which stood out were Coca-Cola and McDonald's. Interestingly, both of these were seen by a significant share of local consumers as being part of their own national cultures. So much for the image portrayed by doom-mongers in the press of these brands being multinational, American dictators.
In the past few weeks, Verizon Wireless has fired a pair of loaded torpedoes at rival AT&T—and more notably Apple, a company often viewed as a sacred cow in both the marketing and technology spheres. Telecom experts say that such an Apple offensive is long overdue, though not without risk. Still, most observers doubt that Verizon’s attacking posture indicates that the company has given up on the ultimate prize—being able to offer Apple’s iPhone on its network once AT&T’s exclusive contract expires.
With Apple posting record profits last week, thanks in large part to brisk sales of its iPhone, it may seem downright crazy to mount a smartphone challenge at all, let alone one that takes direct aim at the iPhone. But that's just what Verizon, Google and Motorola are doing. With a teaser ad from Verizon zeroing in on the device's perceived shortcomings, such as its lack of a physical keyboard, the triumvirate is beginning a big push for Droid, the flagship device of the Google-backed Android operating system. So far, industry observers are unmoved by the buzz and give the Droid long odds in its bid to become the next ubiquitous handset.
By not coughing up a low-cost MacBook, as some had expected, Apple has ceded a potentially huge market to PC makers. But is this just all part of Apple's marketing genius? The announcement Tuesday of the $999 white polycarbonate MacBook was pretty ho-hum as product refreshes go (same price, same color as before) but the implication was important: Apple is surrendering a large, emerging laptop market to Microsoft and its coterie of PC makers.
Tension has been building behind the scenes for some time between two of the world’s technology titans. That friction became public on Thursday October 22nd when Nokia, the world’s biggest maker of mobile phones, lobbed a lawsuit at Apple, alleging that its American rival’s iPhone infringes a number of Nokia’s patents. Apple, in the words of one of the Finnish firm’s executives, is “attempting to get a free ride on the back of Nokia’s innovation”.
I am a proud, flag-waving member of Generation X, the latchkey kids born between the early 1960s and late 1970s who listened to grunge music while worrying that we'd never make as much money as our parents. My children, 4 and 6, are part of the emerging Generation Z, a demographic too young to be stereotyped. In between are the mysterious creatures known as Generation Y. Born between the late 1970s and late 1990s, these so-called "millenials" intrigue me. As the first generation raised on the Internet, I suspect that they offer a glimpse into our future. They are more comfortable with technology than any other generation, they live at a faster pace, and yet they are more distracted. They mature slower, marry later, but use social networks to build large groups of friends. They have more choice and opportunity, and also more stress and anxiety as a result.
Whatever rumors were brewing a few months ago that Apple would break its exclusivity with AT&T and take its iPhone to other carriers, it's a good bet they can be put to bed for now. Less than two weeks after Verizon Wireless aired a TV commercial that takes aim at AT&T's network service, it's now going straight for the iPhone. The teaser campaign, which plugs the new Android device and debuted Saturday night during the playoff game between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels, is, however, causing some head-scratching.
It's uncanny. When known software gets repackaged for iPhones and iPod Touches and passes through the hallowed gates of the App Store, something happens: Almost invariably, it gets cheaper. Waaay cheaper. Good right? Well, not always. The App Store is a strange new place for developers. Veterans and newcomers engage in bareknuckle combat, driving prices down to levels people wouldn't have imagined charging just a few years ago. Margins drop to razor-thin levels while customers expect apps to get cheaper and cheaper, but with ever increasing quality and depth. For developers, for other software platforms and potentially for the increasingly fickle customers themselves, it's uncharted, and treacherous, territory. But the most bizarre thing of all is—in an effort to keep people in the App Store, and to prevent competitors from getting a toehold in the mobile app business—Apple's charting a course straight into it.
Interbrand recently released its 2009 list of the best 100 global brands. Social media monitoring and analytics firm Sysomos took a closer look at this data today. While Interbrand bases its list on criteria such as financial data, international scope and economic value added, Sysomos decided to re-evaluate the top 20 brands by their social media presence on blogs, forums and news sites. Sysomos did not include mentions on Twitter in this study. This obviously led to major changes to Interbrand's list. Google, which placed only 7th on the Top 100 Brands list, ranks 1st when it comes to social media mentions in 2009, while Coca-Cola, the #1 brand on the Interbrand list, ranks only 11th on Sysomos' list. Interbrand's ranking puts Coca Cola, IBM and Microsoft in the top 3, while the top 3 brands with the most social media mentions according to Sysomos are Google, Apple and Microsoft.
The basic elements of a brand's visual language--type, color, photographic/illustration style and layout also establish a filter for making decisions on how to best "speak" from the heart. If all the basics are in sync, it will make choices like story, set design, talent, wardrobe, physical space, dialog and tone of voice easy to make.
The Walt Disney Company, with the help of Steven P. Jobs and his retailing team at Apple, intends to drastically overhaul its approach to the shopping mall. At a time when many retailers are still cutting back or approaching strategic shifts with extreme caution, Disney is going the other way, getting more aggressive and putting into motion an expensive and ambitious floor-to-ceiling reboot of its 340 stores in the United States and Europe — as well as opening new ones, including a potential flagship in Times Square. Disney Stores, which the media giant is considering rebranding Imagination Park, will become more akin to cozy entertainment hubs.
"You can have it Steve Jobs' way or you can have it your way," said Dell's Ed Boyd, vp of consumer experience design at the world's No. 2 PC maker. Apple products may be well known for their design attributes, but Boyd and his team are on a mission to turn Dell's products into devices renowned for artistic self-expression. Wearing a T-shirt that read Design Will Change the World, Boyd was in New York last week to promote the third, and latest, iteration of Dell's Design Studio, a customization program that allows customers to personalize purchases online with artwork commissioned from talent around the globe. The 44-year-old joined Dell a little over two years ago after an 11-year run at Nike. His team's quest, he said, is to deliver the most personalized products in the world.
My dad always said, if you want to get ahead of the leader, don’t follow his tracks in the snow. If I owned my own jewelry store, this would be the mantra for everything I did. And my store would be truly different. I think the greatest challenge we all face is avoiding the well-worn track. So, how do we avoid falling into step with everyone else? The trick is to find inspiration, not from your competitors, but from brands outside your own category of business. Let’s imagine that Apple went into the jewelry business. Now let’s imagine how the Apple jewelry store might look.
The Mac vs. PC war hasn't just played out on TV. It's also the biggest brand battle in social media. For the month ended Sept. 25, Apple and Microsoft finished in the top two spots of the Social Radar Sentiment Index, a social-media analysis of Advertising Age's 200 Megabrands by Infegy. The firm tracks more than 20 million web pages, including all the leading social-media sites, and bases its index on comment volume, percentage of positive mentions and percentage of overall brand mentions within social-media that showed signs of sentiment.
Anyone who has followed Apple news/rumors/patents over the past couple of years has probably noticed a certain trend emerging: Apple seems to be slowly shifting its entire line of products to touch-based computing. That is to say, it’s moving its products away from buttons and keys, towards manipulation through a touchscreen interface. While obviously, MacBook trackpads have used some level of touch for a long time, this trend really started with the iPhone, which presented the first excellent use of multi-touch in a consumer device. From there, Apple slowly began adding multi-touch support to the aforementioned notebook trackpads, to the point where they all now feature it. And then of course, there’s the iPod touch, which is an iPod with multi-touch support. But where things really start to get interesting is when you look at Apple’s patents and the rumors that spin out of them.
As consumers continue to adopt new mobile habits and increase usage of smartphone technology, it's critical that brands take the initiative to evolve with them, creating effective, easy-to-use mobile sites that enhance the on-the-go consumer experience. This has never been clearer than when I began reviewing Interbrand's list of top 100 brands for 2009 on my phone. Loading its websites one by one, I discovered that only one in three of those brands has a mobile Internet presence that is usable and easily accessible, meaning that the primary website automatically detects the consumer's phone and directs it to the appropriate mobile optimized website.
Convergence between the television and the home computer -- a holy grail of the digital age -- has largely eluded the industry, but the living-room screen is now emerging as a key battleground for software and Internet companies. Improvements to the processors in TV sets are making it feasible to run Web applications on a TV without the need for a special set-top box, such as those offered by TiVo Inc. or Apple Inc. While challenges remain, including technical issues and the reluctance of parts of the entertainment industry, companies are building chips and Web browsers for TVs, and others such as Yahoo Inc. and Adobe Systems Inc. are developing Web applications that can be accessed on a new generation of TV sets.
A few months ago, I sat with John Sculley, the former CEO of Apple, who described Steve Jobs' primary design principle: "Not what you can add, but what you can remove." It reminded me of the first law I outlined in my book The Laws of Simplicity, that, "The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction." This philosophy runs counter to a typical tech company's approach, where the goal is always to upgrade and add as opposed to subtract. It's true, for the consumer to pay more and get less defies conventional wisdom and seems to contradict economic principles. But simplified technology doesn't necessarily mean less functionality. Apple products aren't simple technologies by any stretch, but there is a beautiful simplicity to them.
A video took the web by storm today entitled “Incredible, amazing, awesome Apple.” Basically, it boils down Apple’s latest event into a series of superlatives. It’s a funny video because Apple really does have a pattern of using these types of words over and over again in its demonstrations. Cynics will say this is how Apple brainwashes the masses into buying their products, and gets people jazzed about the tiniest features. But I think there’s something much deeper here. While certainly there is some element of hearing something so many times that you start to believe it, that’s nothing new, any good salesman will do the same thing. But why I think the tactic works so well with Apple is because they actually believe what they’re saying.
Innovation: it's the ultimate source of advantage, the undisputed heavyweight champion of the economic ring. Innovation is what every organization should be ruthlessly pursuing, right? Wrong. I'd like to advance a hypothesis: awesomeness is the new innovation. Let's face it. "Innovation" feels like a relic of the industrial era. And it just might be the case that instead of chasing innovation, we should be innovating innovation — that innovation needs innovation. Why? When we examine the economics of innovation, three reasons emerge.
Would you tattoo a brand name to your skin? A new company does just that. MyBrandz.com is a new start up that offered free tattoos of brands on September 7th ("Free Tattoo Day") to people who really want to "live the brand." One of the founders says: We'd like to let the people do what they want with the brands, enjoy the life of the brands and not only buy them and let the brand owners tell them what to with them. The real attraction here is that consumers get more control over the brand names they love, rather than simply becoming walking billboards for them.
There might be an app for everything, but does everything need an app? When it comes to brands, it's easy to wonder if the rush to get into the App Store is more about marketers snapping up the shiniest new wonder than thinking about apps as strategic-marketing tools. Luckily, as the app business has grown, the apps themselves have grown up. While the Zippo lighter -- enormously popular at 5 million downloads and counting -- remains a bit of an anomaly, most branded apps have moved from the simple "wow" or novelty factor to include branded utility, relationship building and even sales.
Apple's launch this week of its fifth-generation iPod nano, the first iPod to include a video camera, drew heavy chatter from bloggers and tech nerds alike for its affordable attack on the Flip camera. But the unlikeliest benefactor of the new nano? The radio industry, via Apple's first FM tuner, compatible with new 5G nanos.
Yes, he’s back. When the Apple event started today, CEO Steve Jobs took the stage to a very long standing ovation. He used his opening remarks to talk about the importance of organ donation. Jobs noted that he now had the liver of a person in their mid-20s who died in a car crash. Jobs urged everyone to think about organ donation, as it saved his life. After that, Jobs thanked Apple’s executive team, and especially Tim Cook, who steered Apple’s ship in his absence. But then it was time for Jobs to quickly move into some impressive statistics.
As most of you know, Sharper Image, home of innovative products like the Razor scooter, the robotic dog, the Ionic Breeze, the StressEraser and the R2-D2 interactive droid, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. What remains is an important lesson. Innovation is not a strategy and companies which depend on a constant flow of new, innovative products will someday find themselves in deep trouble. As Sharper Image did. Every successful company needs a branding strategy, which may or may not include innovation. Yet many marketing gurus have elevated innovation to a point where it is widely perceived as the single, most-important function of a corporation. Witness the raft of recent articles on the subject, including an editorial in my favorite publication with the theme, Forget the recession and innovate.
As the global economy emerges from recession, regardless of when or how quickly, the focus in the executive suite is already shifting from cost cutting to recovering top-line growth. What role can the CMO play? If CMOs are truly to be growth champions for their corporations, they can't simply rely on traditional marketing and brand-building techniques. In nearly a decade of research, my colleagues and I have found that established companies increasingly are successfully building new businesses on a repeated basis, a process we call corporate entrepreneurship. Marketing -- true marketing, not just selling the story but helping create it -- must play a central role. True marketing is about understanding current and potential customers better than anyone else, translating those insights into powerful new offerings and experiences, and creating ever more effective and efficient paths to market. In other words, marketers must design new businesses, rather than just launch new products.
Debra Shigley recently went to a CVS pharmacy in Atlanta and paid $25.39 for two prescriptions, a beverage and a roll of toilet paper. The cashier then handed her a receipt that was almost two feet long. "As long as my arm," said Ms. Shigley, a 30-year-old author who consults with women on careers and fashion. Many shoppers have noticed with chagrin store receipts getting longer and longer as retailers tack coupons, return policies, loyalty points and other bits of information and advertising onto narrow pieces of paper that are supposed to be a record of what you bought and how much you paid.
FOR years, Microsoft was the stodgy market leader. It sold 90 percent of the world’s operating system software, and generally left the advertising to Dell, H.P. and other hardware makers who licensed Windows. The only time Microsoft hawked its most recognizable brand on television was when the latest version of the software hit the shelves. Then the company flooded the airwaves with commercials full of loud music and swirling imagery saying that the new version of Windows is out — and that it’s awesome! Apple is the classic smaller insurgent. Its share for desktops and laptops in the United States is just over 8 percent. Every time Apple grabs another point of market share from Microsoft’s partners, its stock price climbs. And one way that Apple has tried to gain share is by running clever ads that ridicule everything Microsoft stands for.
The elevator speech. It's one of the prerequisites of business development. In the time you can spend with someone on a 30-second ride, how do you describe your business? For established brands, the elevator speech is not so much a speech but a word. For brands like Google, Microsoft, and Apple, you can quickly get from brand name to association in a word. Let's play the game together, in your head or on paper. Google? Microsoft? Apple? Got your word?
Study everything the iPod's rivals did. Then do the exact opposite.
Is Kevin Butler the new Mac guy? Actually, Jerry Lambert, the actor who plays Kevin Butler in Sony PlayStation 3 ads breaking this weekend, smacks more of John Hodgman's frumpy PC character than Justin Long's Mac daddy. With bland, cubicled offices as his backdrop, Mr. Lambert, garbed in a Dunder Mifflin-ready shirt and tie, walks and wisecracks as he answers questions one-on-one with fictitious consumers. The new ads from agency Deutsch, Los Angeles, are designed to elicit the same serial attraction that makes consumers anticipate fresh Mac vs. PC ads.
If you've wondered why the marketing world is obsessed with creating apps for the iPhone, take a stroll down the hallways of Kraft Foods, Gannett and German publisher Axel Springer. There you'll see a sea of iPhones as the brand makes incursions on RIM's BlackBerry, once acknowledged as the smartphone of choice for corporate America. In a recent conference call, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said about 20% of Fortune 100 companies have purchased a total of 10,000 or more iPhones since the handset's release in 2007, and scores of government agencies and businesses have each purchased more than 25,000 iPhones for their organizations.
It goes without fail, whenever a new product is released from a Gen Y "it" company, my phone rings off the hook. So why are people calling a financial guy when a new product is released? Because these "it" companies market so well that the consumer wants to be an owner ... of the company.
It's Apple's fault I hate receipts. A few years ago, I grabbed some computer accessory off an Apple Store shelf and brought it to the cashier. I pulled out my paper-stuffed Costanza wallet and gave the cashier my card. Then he asked an unexpected question: "Do you want us to e-mail you your receipt?" I said yes and thus, unwittingly, began a crusade against the paper receipt—a slip too analog, too temporary, and too wasteful to be anything but superfluous. It is a relic of another age, when record-stuffed filing cabinets lingered in musty basements; when patriarchs sat down with a checkbook on Sunday afternoons while the football game was on; and when we expected to search for things for hours, not seconds. Apple had recognized and made explicit an anachronism of our times. We no longer need a piece of paper to tell us what we bought, just the information that's trapped inside it.
Nokia already owns the global cell-phone market. Now Tero Ojanperä is launching the world's biggest delivery system for services, apps, and entertainment.
We were wrapping up a meeting with a client who was developing a new neighborhood. Through a combination of field research, trend studies and historical analysis we defined a story and collection of artifacts and experiences that would make this place meaningful to potential residents as well as the neighboring community. After the meeting our client said, "I finally understand what you guys do. You orchestrate the obvious."
“If I am I because you are you. And you are you because I am I. Then I am not I and you are not you.” ⎯ Unknown Rabbi. It may sound like double-talk, but the wise Rabbi’s message is a profoundly important one for those trying to navigate today’s complex and rapidly evolving marketplace. And it’s this: We are not separate. We define each other. We are fronts and backs of each other⎯producer/consumers; government/citizens; manufacturer/suppliers; consultant/clients; management/talent; and, especially, brand/customers. In fact, a brand only knows what it is in terms of its customers. Unfortunately, we tell ourselves a very different story.
It can invigorate a company's image or squander its brand equity. To see which gambles paid off, Fortune turned to a few experts to judge some of the most dramatic transformations.
One of the best books of the year is undoubtedly “Design-Driven Innovation: Changing the Rules of Competition by Radically Innovating What Things Mean,” by Roberto Verganti. In it Verganti, a favorite of this blog, attacks one of the central mysteries of innovation–how can a company successfully create a product that is a radical break from the past, and which shows the way to a new future?
The recent skirmish between Apple and Google -- filled with legal innuendos, regulatory scuffles and high-profile departures -- has, if anything, crystallized for me what I had been thinking for the past six months: what we have been witnessing is nothing less than a battle for the future of the surfable Web. On one hand, we have Google, which favors the widest, broadest Web possible, so that its cash cow Google Search functionality remains the key to the discovery of all content on the unruly, unmanageable Web, filled with ripcurls and big waves. On the other hand, we have Apple, which favors a Web that can be managed simply and efficiently from apps downloaded for $1.99 or less from its wildly-popular Apps store. (All apps, in fact, except that pesky little Google Voice app!) Which leads to the inevitable question: how often do you actually "surf" the Web anymore?
Not many branded iPhone games have broken through, but a new one from U.K.-based Barclaycard has quickly become the most popular free, branded game in the history of the iTunes App Store.
Boston, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago will be getting a month-long billboard ad campaign starting for this week, with one simple message: If you want to escape Microsoft's expensive grip, switch to Google.
The Federal Communications Commission late on Friday entered the fray over consumer calling choice on mobile phones, sending letters inquiring into Apple’s recent decision to reject Google Voice applications on its iPhone. The FCC’s letter asked Apple to detail any influence AT&T, the iPhone’s exclusive US carrier, may have had in its decision. Google’s applications would have allowed users to make less expensive international calls.
When what you teach and develop every day has the title “Innovation” attached to it, you reach a point where you tire of hearing about Apple. Without question, nearly everyone believes the equation Apple = Innovation is a fundamental truth. Discover what makes them different.
Although the world of business development partnerships can be complex, rife with epic contracts with tie-ins and promises, expirations and penalties for all parties, when relationships are struck that reduce customer choice, it is a telltale sign that the product or service being provided is well below acceptable standards. You see, customers aren’t stupid. They will be your product and company’s loudest advocates, more than willing to spread the word on your behalf, if you have a game-changing offering. But if you have to rely on bundling and exclusive contracts just to rope customers in, you probably don’t have something they want all that much anyway.
Apple is working with the four largest record labels to stimulate digital sales of albums by bundling a new interactive booklet, sleeve notes and other interactive features with music downloads, in a move it hopes will change buying trends on its online iTunes store.
Following a complaint from Apple, Microsoft has quietly tweaked at least one of the ads in its "Laptop Hunters" campaign to reflect its rival's lower pricing on its Mac notebooks.
“Our goal is not to build the most computers. It’s to build the best.” That was Apple COO Tim Cook two days ago during Apple’s quarterly earnings call. Sure, it may sound like spin from an executive who doesn’t have a better answer as to why Apple isn’t competing in the low-end of the market, and thus, gaining market share. But it’s not.
Apple, Louis Vuitton, and SAP represent three very different sectors. But all share one thing in common: Their brands and products were shaped in part by designer and innovation strategist Hartmut Esslinger.
In nearly every conference room across the business landscape it's inevitable that at some point the phrase "social media" enters the discussion. Marketers, PR and salespeople are among the first to engage in the discussions, trying to figure how networks can be leveraged to sell more stuff. But I'd like to propose another way to approach the topic. What if we looked at "social media" as a design problem?
Nokia is trying hard to be seen as an open organization. This website is a good example of a company that's opening its people and process up for public view. If you happen to be interested in working for the company, a huge fan of Nokia or work in a related field, this can be good stuff to see. In essence, it's material for a very limited core audience.
Apple’s iPhone App Store may be a resounding success. But Google says app stores are a dead end. Sour grapes? Maybe. It’s no coincidence that Google has placed its money on web-based applications, for its mobile Android operating system as well as its forthcoming Chrome OS. Vic Gundotra, Google’s engineering vice president and developer evangelist, said on Friday at the Mobilebeat conference in San Francisco that the future of the mobile industry lies in web-based applications, rather than native software coded to run on specific smartphone operating systems.
The announcement of Google's Chrome OS plan puts an exclamation point on the challenge faced by Microsoft, but actually doesn't really change the core threat to Microsoft. In short, Google is aiming to render desktop software irrelevant. To thwart them, Microsoft needs Windows to do things that a browser can't--or do the same things significantly better.
Is Google undercutting the value of its own brand by giving away everything free? That’s an interesting implication raised by the statement that the Yankee Group just sent out about the announcement of a Google operating system for PCs.
As a concept, American design is very tangible. It's unapologetic. It's a roll-up-your-sleeves and get your hands dirty, "show me" sort of design. American designers, engineers, entrepreneurs and inventors alike feast off an American license to create what's next. It's the boldness of a Corvette or Mustang plus their afterlife hot rod modifications. It's Jobs' confidence to create Apple's Mac, iPhone & iPod. It's Jack O'Neill making his first wet suit so he could surf in cold NorCal waters. It's the Yahoo! or Google boys living on air in college and then creating empires from their hard work.
It's almost impossible to escape the constant reminder that we are in a recession. While it's easy to criticize the media for playing up the downturn, marketers in general--and technology marketers specifically--feel obligated to lead with the message, "In these tough economic times..." Enough already!
An iconic brand is a powerful asset. These brands become part of our lives and stand the test of time. Think what our culture would be like without brands such as Apple, Coca-Cola, and Target. The Nike "swoosh" remains a powerful symbol today, more than 37 years after its creation.
To explain the present and divine the future, Amazon's founder and prognosticator-in-chief, Jeff Bezos, often turns to the past. Fond of historical analogies, Bezos has compared the dotcom boom and bust to the 1849 gold rush, the advent of electricity to today's broadband-infused Web, the printed book to a horse, and the Kindle reader to a car. Perhaps his trippiest simile likens the impact of the Internet on business to the Cambrian period approximately 550 million years ago, after the first multicellular creatures crawled out of the primordial ooze. That's when we experienced an evolutionary big bang, which engendered both the greatest rate of speciation the world has ever seen and its greatest rate of extinction. "What's very dangerous," Bezos summed up, "is not to evolve."
Attention, iPhone users: We've found a way (via Pre Thinking and Sprint's Facebook page) that you can save up to $1,200 over two years on your service plans! All you have to do is buy a Palm Pre and sign up for service with Sprint.
Customers will talk about your company, its products and services, whether you want them to or not. And online there are a multitude of places to do so. The question is, do you as a brand facilitate or participate? I will argue that you should do both, and tell you why.
Apple's "Wall of Applications" developed for its recent developer conference did more to demonstrate the breadth and scale of its applications than any single static ad ever could. It's a great example of the power of data as a compelling form of communication. In Apple's case, it's all about the scale of the information to signify the size of the ecosystem.
The old branding model is past its "sell by" date. It is a product-centered model that comes from packaged goods in the '70s and '80s; offer differentiated benefits that a particular consumer segment is thought to care about. "My peas are picked at the peak of sweetness"...that kind of thing. This model is breaking down as people try store brands and find they are "fit for purpose" at a better price. Now what?
What are the "moments of truth" for your brand? For consumer goods, it might be the purchase decision at the grocery store, or how laundry looks when it comes out of the dryer. For service companies, it might occur when the customer connects to an agent. But for many brands there's another moment of truth, which occurs when the consumer sits down at the PC and begins typing.
Online media can be a real paradox—an environment that represents such a wealth of creative opportunity, yet has for so long been a slave to the banner ad. But more brands are rewriting the rules of online ads by growing the dimensions of their ideas beyond the traditional banner or video. Of course bigger is not always better—a bad idea is a bad idea in any size. But with a great idea, breaking the boundaries of traditional online formats can really bring to life what this medium does best.
Every brand should be using the web to attract and connect with their most ardent fans. And they should do it by cultivating a distinct personality.
Gadget lovers have never had it so good. It seems, suddenly, that personal computing devices are turning up in all shapes and sizes. For nearly three decades, the PC has dominated the landscape. But a surge of innovation is ripping through personal technology as companies from the computing, mobile phone and consumer electronics worlds all race to define the next intelligent mass-market item.
I guess you’ll have heard about the Versace hotel, the Ferrari laptop, and the Apple cell phone. Yet, had I suggested any one of these products to you fifteen years ago, you might have been forgiven for thinking that a few extravagant typos had made it past the editor. Yet today, we’ve become perfectly used to extreme brand extensions like these. But, can you go too far? Brands have been stretching their way into such new and unexpected product categories that some product progeny can be impossible to link to their brand parents.
I've thought a lot about "thinking global, acting local" since I moved to the UK to help launch an American brand two years ago. It's a constant tug-o-war between global consistency and local adaptation. Recently, I had coffee with Patrick Cairns, CEO of Plum Baby, who spent a lot of time in global roles with Unilever. He described the standard dichotomy as being either "mindlessly global" or "hopelessly local".
Apple's iPhone and other smartphones are generally good for Google: Anything that gets more people using the internet on their cellphones -- and using Google, the web's dominant search engine -- is going to help Google someday make a market in mobile advertising. (That is, as long as it's not cutting down on the amount of time they use the web and Google on their computers.) But Apple's iPhone App Store -- a huge hit -- is not as good for Google. While Google has a tiny business displaying in-app ads, the rest of the movement toward mobile apps and app stores is currently bad for Google. Why?
Apple executives didn't throw any curve balls at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference today in San Francisco. But the iterative changes hidden within a new, faster iPhone -- and the previously announced software upgrade -- could change not just consumer but also advertiser behavior. Here's a run-down of what's new and what it means to marketers.
Once, just having a smartphone application was enough, but the era of novelty -- the blowing, shaking, one-trick-pony app -- is pretty much over. To rise above the clutter, an app has to be truly useful, whether it's created by a brand or by an entrepreneur.
Mitchell Waite could think of only one reason that Apple’s legal department would leave a voice message last February asking him to call back: he was about to be sued. He called back and discovered that his life was about to change no less than if the lottery authority had told him he’d won the big prize: Apple had decided to feature iBird in a television commercial.
Microsoft has used attack ads to go after Apple, and now it has Google in its sights.
There are no rules about creativity. Which made constructing our list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business a tricky task. We looked for dazzling new thinkers, rising stars, and boldface names who couldn't be ignored. We avoided people we've profiled in the recent past. We emphasized those whose creativity addresses a larger issue -- from the future of our energy infrastructure to the evolution of philanthropy to next-generation media and entertainment. So read on. Enjoy. Quibble. Complain.
Apple may have some of the most interesting online ads we've seen in a while, but Microsoft's recent push to paint the competitor as pricey is starting to work, according to data from BrandIndex.
The latest Laptop Hunters ad in the famous series features pre-law student Lauren and her mom, Sue. They are looking for speed, portability and battery life, and a few opportunities to slap down Macs.
Microsoft is continuing its attacks on Apple products as overpriced with a new Web campaign for its Zune portable media player. In a Web video, financial planner and former reality show star Wes Moss presents the case that the 120GB iPod would cost $30,000 to fill with music buying songs at $1 each at the iTunes Store. "People worry about the capacity of their iPod," Moss says in the 30-second spot. "What about the capacity of their bank account?"
As the company moves from marketing to its once-niche following -- many experts have suggested Apple customers were for many years a cult -- to selling to the ever-broadening sweep of iPhone, iPod and iTouch users, it finds itself wrestling with some of the same issues that confront other truly "mass" marketers, such as whether it needs to be an arbiter, or some might say censor, of what content it makes available.
If you think Google, Microsoft and Apple are bad-ass, cutthroat, take-no-prisoner companies, you should meet the nation’s wireless carriers, who have collectively convinced those intensively competitive software giants to cripple their products. Need any more proof that the nation’s four largest wireless carriers - AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile - have too much control over the airwaves, what phones you can use and what applications you can run on them?
Apple's rejection of a Nine Inch Nails iPhone app update caused a mini-firestorm across the Internet. Apple-bashing may be the important part of the story to some, but there is a business lesson amidst the noise.
Apple and Twitter sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I... well, you know the rest of that rhyme. There's a fascinating little rumor that recently surfaced on the Internet: Apple is interested in acquiring the hot little social networking/lifecasting tool--Twitter.
The growing popularity of free video-viewing site Hulu could test the viability of Apple's pay-as-you-go iTunes download business.
Microsoft is in talks with Verizon Wireless to launch a touch-screen cellphone on the carrier's network early next year, in a bid to compete with Apple's iPhone.
Don’t say “Apple” and “netbook” in the same breath. In fact, contempt may be too kindly a term to describe the attitude of Apple’s COO Tim Cook toward the mini-laptop category that’s making waves in the market, but not, apparently, in Cupertino.
As the executives at Apple (AAPL) were passing around the Dom Perignon, their counterparts at other companies which design and manufacture smartphones were putting all sharp objects out of reach. In a recession, there is only so much air in any room. Smart phone sales are suffering like all consumer electronics. If the iPhone is doing extraordinarily well, others are doing badly.
When the e-mail popped into my inbox with the subject “Packard Bell” I was magically transported to my early teenage years, maybe even younger or, at least, to a time before Apple ruled the earth and beige expensive beige PCs were the household norm. I don’t know much about Packard Bell and, all things considered, it’s a brand that is as memorable as the pigeon waddling outside the window of the coffee shop I am writing this from. Apparently Packard Bell has a whole other appreciation of its brand.
For 25 years, Microsoft held unquestioned dominance in the personal computer business. But last year the maker of the Windows operating system started to look like a weary, vulnerable champ. Fueled by iPhone-mania and the iconic "I'm a Mac" TV ads, Apple was nearing a double-digit share of the PC market. At the same time, a new generation of sub-$500 "netbooks" that ran on the free Linux operating system was taking off. Now, Microsoft has launched a determined counteroffensive.
Thanks to a confluence of factors -- ubiquitous broadband, changing viewer habits and cheaper tech parts -- internet TV is on the verge of a breakout. However, there are still too many interested parties trying to play a part in making a seamless connection -- and nabbing a piece of the payoff.
Probably one of the biggest criticisms that the iPhone gets is that it’s considered not the best phone for business. That judgement is based on the comparison on the keyboard and email functionality with the Blackberry. This new iPhone ‘Office’ ad suggests that the App Store might just change our view of the device: while for many of us we find our work days spent sending and receiving missives, Apple reminds us that there’s much more to running business and the phone might “just have an app” for all those other tasks we should be doing instead.
After years of being defined by Apple, Microsoft is fighting back and somewhat surprisingly, landing some punches. The company’s latest round of ads featuring real consumers named Lauren and Giampalo trying to buy laptops for less than $1,000 and $1,500, respectively, seems to have struck a chord.
Yesterday, prices on Apple's iTunes service went all kablooey. Songs now retail at three price points: $.69, $.99, and $1.29. It's likely that most "popular" songs will be offered at the higher price point, though the record labels reserved the right to decide (and a brief check today revealed at least a few Top Songs still going for $.99. The presumption is that deep cuts/catalog songs will retail for $.69. Or something. Do consumers benefit from the new pricing? Of course not. The record labels insisted on it, solely because they can.
Microsoft's new Lauren is a tech-savvy engineer with a complicated, foreign name, tasked with finding a laptop that'll address his needs for under $1,500. You'll never guess what this Microsoft-paid probable-actor decided to buy.
"Design thinking" is all the rage, thanks to Apple, Target, you name it--it's the idea that with a little ingenuity, companies can gear their products and services to what consumers want. But one of the more intriguing applications has been when companies want to engage in the design process. This is when design firms like Ideo and Frog are hired to introduce "design processes" as a way to reengineer the way companies work. For example, the U.K. is partnering with patients to "co-design" its processes for serving the sick.
RIM joins the likes of Apple and Google in offering its own exclusive applications marketplace
The Pre, Palm's ridiculously slick new mobile phone, stole the show at CES this year. Good looks helped, but mainly it was the Pre's iPhone-like touchscreen technology that wowed the industry crowd. Sure, the Pre has a built-in keyboard, but all anyone wanted to do was drag their fingers along the screen and make magic happen: pop windows open, scroll through sites, fling the contact list to the bottom of the display. The gestures were intuitive, fun, and basically copies of Apple's.
Once again Microsoft’s ad strategy is off-base. Their newest ad criticizes Apple for being expensive by “documenting” one woman’s quest to find a laptop that meets her needs for under $1000.
As agencies herd their clients onto the iPhone-application bandwagon, brands are happy to climb onboard. After all, what marketer wouldn't salivate at the engagement prospects behind the 800 million games, utilities and entertainment downloaded from the App Store? And with handset makers Research In Motion and Nokia set to launch their own app storefronts in the coming weeks, app fever is sure to get more fuel. But the rush to apps has led to a backlash in some quarters, and a call for more measured thinking around branded apps.
By now you've probably seen Microsoft's latest ad featuring Lauren, a woman who claims to be neither cool nor rich enough for a MacBook. Well Lauren, one of our readers has a gift for you. Mitch Gewirtz of Michigan would like to give you his 17-inch PowerBook. For free.
With the recession as its backdrop, Microsoft has finally jumped on the value-messaging bandwagon in a new ad, a 60-second spot dubbed "Laptop Hunters" that will break tonight during the NCAA "March Madness" basketball tournament.
What do Netflix, Peet's Coffee, and Apple all have in common? Maybe more than meets the eye. First off, each of these companies is defying expectations with stocks that continue to rise-- despite the recession. But how are they doing it? Could it be that the green qualities these companies have are inadvertently helping them beat the recession?
Research in Motion will soon launch an online store to rival Apple's, with Nokia and Microsoft to follow.
The Pre, Palm's ridiculously slick new mobile phone, stole the show at CES this year. Good looks helped, but mainly it was the Pre's iPhone-like touchscreen technology that wowed the industry crowd. Sure, the Pre has a built-in keyboard, but all anyone wanted to do was drag their fingers along the screen and make magic happen: pop windows open, scroll through sites, fling the contact list to the bottom of the display. The gestures were intuitive, fun, and basically copies of Apple's.
So we're supposed to believe Microsoft actually has a better brand than Apple?
Apple is making it easier for developers to create iPhone applications, which could increase its smartphone market share.
Apple announced Tuesday a host of new features for the next version of its mobile operating system, iPhone 3.0. Among the additions are two features that the company has long been criticized for overlooking: The ability to cut, copy and paste text between applications, and support for multimedia messages.
Apple's iPhone 3.0 event today made it abundantly clear that the iPhone is evolving into a gaming machine. Here's why:
In a shot across the bow of other mobile phone makers that are rushing to emulate aspects of its popular iPhone, Apple on Tuesday previewed some features that are due out in the next version of the phone’s software.
Apple's third-generation iPhone must adopt several crucial features to outsmart competing smartphones, developers and enthusiasts agree.
With apologies to Dr. Seuss, "An iPod's an iPod no matter how small." The original $99 iPod Shuffle, released in January 2005, was smaller than a pack of gum and held about 120 songs. Its successor 20 months later dwarfed that to a money clip, and doubled song capacity. It cost $79. Now we have the talking $79 iPod Shuffle that Apple announced Wednesday. It is closer to a tie clasp and holds roughly 1,000 songs.
Apple has quietly introduced a new 4GB iPod shuffle. Not only is it bigger on the inside -- it's smaller on the outside. So small, in fact, that it has no buttons other than the shuffle mode switch. All the controls are now on the earbud cord, which means that you'll be stuck using Apple's own earbuds until third party versions make it to stores.
With Chief Executive Steve Jobs out on medical leave, Apple Inc. hasn't announced a major new product this year. That has freed the rumor mill to churn about what new gadgets the company may be preparing to launch. In the past few days, speculation has swirled that the Cupertino, Calif., company is developing a device with a touch screen that could be as big as 10 inches, for release in the second half of the year.
Parodies of well-known ad campaigns, reworked with anti-hunger themes, will be popping up around NYC ahead of next Thursday's launch of Agencies in Action, a new non-profit designed to get local ad agencies involved in the city's social problems.
The world's financial system has had its guts torn out. The U.S. unemployment rate is on the express train to double-digit land. And Apple's biggest rivals--Hewlett-Packard and Dell--are racing to grab whatever business is left with dirt-cheap laptop computers.
Shaking up the nascent market for electronic books for the second time in two months, Amazon.com will begin selling e-books for reading on Apple’s popular iPhone and iPod Touch. Starting Wednesday, owners of these Apple devices can download a free application, Kindle for iPhone and iPod Touch, from Apple’s App Store. The software will give them full access to the 240,000 e-books for sale on Amazon.com, which include a majority of best sellers.
Apple has unveiled new Mac models including the long rumored updated Mac Mini.
Apple's iPhone has wowed most of the globe — but not Japan, where the handset is selling so poorly it's being offered for free.
Palm has confirmed that games will be among the applications available for the Palm Pre, although exactly what type of games will run on the handset remains unclear. In an interview with Engadget, Palm said games will be part of the Pre experience, along with various other applications that will be offered through a Palm-style version of Apple's App Store. Mobile gaming is extremely popular on the iPhone and iPod Touch, and is a big part of Apple's pitch for those devices.
Students have been handed another excuse to skip class from an unusual quarter. New psychological research suggests that university students who download a podcast lecture achieve substantially higher exam results than those who attend the lecture in person.
Microsoft Corp. said it hired a former Wal-Mart Stores Inc. executive to help the company open its own retail stores, a strategy shift that borrows from the playbook of rival Apple Inc.
For the past few years, Microsoft has been losing share in PCs to Apple. It’s been losing huge money on the Web. And it’s been badly shown up in mobile phones, where Apple and Research In Motion have far more momentum and even Palm seems to have more mindshare. But now, the company is preparing plans to do what no other company is as well-positioned—at least on paper—to do: tie the PC, Web and phone together.
Twenty-five years ago, Apple hurled a legendary marketing sledgehammer at I.B.M. personal computers that ran Microsoft software. During the 1984 Super Bowl, Apple ran a television ad that depicted those machines as instruments of Big Brotherish conformity. The ad was shown just once, but people still talk about it. Today, Apple is still producing ads that hammer away at computers that run Microsoft’s software. But this time, Apple’s pounding is constant, even as Microsoft has been weakened by product stumbles and a series of ads that fell flat with the public.
If Palm ends up in court over the Pre's multitouch, it'll join a prestigious line of firms that have tussled with Apple, which loves a good legal battle almost as much as sexy aluminum. In Apple's legal trail are, for the most part, corpses. Save for one little skiffle with you-know-who that haunts them to this day. And along their bloody way, they've managed to be involved in several landmark decisions that continue to shape technology IP law to this day. Behold, Apple's most important legal disputes.
The "don't rip off our IP" spat between Apple and Palm continues: Turns out the U.S. Patent Office has gone ahead and awarded Apple a patent covering its "multitouch" technology, including gestures such as "pinching" and "swiping." Will it be the ace up Apple's sleeve?
Apple turned in a strong holiday sales season as executives tried to reassure the market that the company would be fine even if CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs isn't able to return from medical leave.
For millions of Apple fans, Steve Jobs is irreplaceable. But if there's one man Jobs himself trusts to stand in his shoes, it is his second in command, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook.
In this first installment of Dumenco's Media People -- a new interview series with media grandees conducted by our media columnist Simon Dumenco -- Macworld VP-Editorial Director Jason Snell talks about Apple's challenges in the wake of news reports about Apple CEO Steve Jobs' mysterious health problems.
Remember that when iTunes began, the music industry was being decimated by file sharing. By coming up with an easy user interface and obtaining the cooperation of a broad swath of music companies, Mr. Jobs helped pull the business off the brink. Those of us who are in the newspaper business could not be blamed for hoping that someone like him convinces the millions of interested readers who get their news every day free on newspapers sites that it’s time to pay up.
After years of fits, starts, threats and ultimatums, Steve Jobs and three major labels have come to terms on a deal: Music will be available immediately on iTunes without DRM restrictions. Free of the limitations that currently restrict music playback to Apple products, the new plan will let consumers choose from three price levels instead of the 99-cent song model the store implemented on day one.
The big theme at this year’s Macworld Expo is not a product, it’s a year: 2010. Next year’s conference is touted on banners, information booklets, and even the show badges, which come with an ad for next year’s event — the first without Apple, its anchor tenant.
This week the media is a-squabble over the death rattles coming from the book publishing industry. Yes, it's in dire condition. But a new business model might bring readers back. Call it the Free Lunch model.
The retailer is selling the phone, but not at the steep discount previously reported. Instead, it's AT&T that will be the low-priced leader, selling $99 handsets -- albeit refurbished and for a limited time.
USA Today has made available its own application on the Apple App Store, for the iPhone and iPod touch. Designed and developed in cooperation with Mercury Intermedia of Brentwood, Tenn., the USA Today app -- which is free -- allows users to browse and read stories from all the newspaper's print sections: News, Money, Sports, Life, Tech and Travel. Articles can be shared via e-mail, text message or Twitter, and are automatically saved for later reading.
There was a time when a glowing Apple logo symbolized radical nonconformity. Being part of a miniature customer base was, to Mac users, like being a member of a holier-than-thou, secret society — a "Cult of Mac," if you will. But when Apple's ecosystem grew beyond notebooks and desktops to phones and internet services, that era came to an end.
The ailing creator of the iPod and iPhone is next to irreplaceable. No other chief executive is so inextricably linked to his company's brand and products. As one Wall Street analyst put it this year, "Apple is Steve Jobs, and Steve Jobs is Apple." Alas, Jobs is all too human.
Salesforce is in the middle of a metamorphosis that could put it in the center of the development of services that consumers will start using.
This fall, ABI Research did an online study among 1,001 tech-savvy consumers to gauge their perceptions of tech brands.
Nine components that powerfully engaging brands share with religion.
Apple doesn't want you to believe what it says, even though the company claims it's not lying. That's the gist of the Cupertino company's legal response to a lawsuit regarding allegedly misleading advertising for the iPhone 3G.