Over the past 10 years, Apple has done some amazing things. In the process, they have transformed themselves from a company on the brink of bankruptcy to the world's most valuable technology company. Perhaps their most amazing feat, however, is turning an accessory - the cover of the new iPad 2 - into the cover story.
Most companies would design a cover for their product and sell it as a mere accessory. Not Apple. They created a brand identity for the cover by calling it the Smart Cover. It is a smart design (more about that later), but what is even smarter about the cover is the marketing strategy behind it. Apple gave the Smart Cover its own Web page. On this page, they create cleverly-worded benefit-focused sub-heads:
- Great looks. And even better moves.
- A magnetic attraction.
- An on-again, off-again relationship.
- A cover that's smart. And bright.
Elephant's trunk communications strategy
This focus on the Smart Cover employs what I call the Elephant's Trunk communications strategy (ET) since an elephant's most unique and useful feature it its trunk. Using the ET strategy, marketers emphasizes a unique selling benefit of the product that will attract the most attention rather than dilute the marketing communication with features that competitors, and previous models, could also claim. The iPad is thinner, faster, and lighter than the previous version. As you have probably heard, it has cameras front and back and a built-in GPS. Based on Apple's successful track record, this is expected and deemed evolutionary rather than revolutionary by expert reviewers. What is not expected is such an elegantly-designed cover that has important functional benefits such as...
- Automatically connects itself to the iPad when placed nearby
- Turns the product on and off instantaneously
- Holds the product at one angle for typing
- Positions it at other angles for hands-free viewing
Longer lines = Marketing is working
Around the world, lines of people to buy the iPad2 were even longer than they were for the original iPad and longer than expected. This indicates the marketing is working and the buyers are, once again, excited about the launch of an Apple product. What some may not know is these lines were orchestrated by Apple because they did not allow pre-orders. They did not want a reoccurrence of the reports of no lines at Verizon stores when the Verizon iPhone was recently introduced. And, according to Wired Magazine, Apple gave themselves a virtual monopoly selling Smart Covers (priced $39 to $69) during the first few weeks by not giving outside vendors access to the iPad2 before launch. Taken altogether, this is smart marketing.
How might you apply some of Apple's marketing techniques to the launch of your new products?
- How Steve Jobs Became a Master Brander
- iPad 2: More of the Same but Still Better than the Rest
- Time to Change The Logo? Not So Fast
image courtesy of flickr user, mattsmacintosh