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Three Keys to Apple’s Marketing Mojo

Betsy Morrison By Betsy Morrison

Unless you’ve been off the grid for the past year, you’re aware that Apple’s highly anticipated Apple Watch went on sale recently.

Revealed last September after the infamous “one more thing” line, sleek beautiful images of the watch on seamless white backgrounds filled the interwebs. “Apple’s got its mojo back. Is the Apple Watch a game changer?” Who knows what consumers will ultimately embrace? But what makes this watch different from competing devices is the buzz Apple has already created. It’s that familiar buzz surrounding all Apple product launches.

Now, whether you rock a Samsung Note, pioneer the Amazon Fire, or secretly have a Blackberry, the Apple Watch is something much larger than an operating system. Apple has not had a major product launch since the iPad in 2010, and its debut reminds us of what it means to connect with a brand at a personal level–to feel known and to be inspired.

What is Apple’s marketing mojo? Let’s take a look at three Eastern philosophical principles that Apple’s messaging embraces.

 1. I am a human being, not a human doing.

It’s a hard concept to embrace in an era of socialization where consumers are wired for connection. In a world of unending schedules and self-inflicted fatigue, we find the busyness of to-do lists and already-done lists defining our lives. Sometimes it’s hard for us to see ourselves as individuals, let alone other people or corporations seeing us as individuals. We are blue collar, white collar, no collar, and everything in between. But it’s at our core where we are discovered. We are creative, exciting, complex creatures, filled with meaning and purpose. We are human beings. It’s our very nature, our experiences that define and unite us. Great brands live by it. Whether challenging “the machine” in Apple’s 1984 commercial, or creating a watch that visually sends your heartbeat to a loved one, Apple continually shows us the human being in the human doing.

“This is it.
This is what matters.
The experience of a product.
How it makes someone feel.
Will it make life better?
Does it deserve to exist?
We spend a lot of time on a few great things until every idea we touch enhances each life it touches.
You may rarely look at it, but you’ll always feel it. This is our signature, and it means everything.”

– Apple

2. People care about people, not causes.

What’s the most authentic form of cause marketing? People. Apple cares about people and how their products connect to people and make their lives more meaningful. Written in 1977 as Apple was incorporated, “The Apple Marketing Philosophy” centers its vision for the company around the customer in three concise principles. Walter Isaacson summarizes those points in his biography of Steve Jobs.

“The first was empathy, an intimate connection with the feelings of the customer: ‘We will truly understand their needs better than any other company.’ The second was focus: ‘In order to do a good job of those things that we decide to do, we must eliminate all of the unimportant opportunities.’ The third and equally important principle, awkwardly named, was impute. It emphasized that people form an opinion about a company or product based on the signals that it conveys. ‘People DO judge a book by its cover,’ he wrote. ‘We may have the best product, the highest quality, the most useful software, etc.; if we present them in a slipshod manner, they will be perceived as slipshod; if we present them in a creative, professional manner, we will impute the desired qualities.”

Understanding and serving the customer better than anyone else still drives Apple today.

3. We’re in this together.

Apple reinvented the product launch with their online keynote presentations. Covered by vloggers, the keynotes ignite lines around stores sometimes weeks in advance of a product’s debut. Apple understands connecting with consumers is much larger than a bag of features and promises. They use their keynotes to share intimate moments of the product at work in their own life, like Steve Jobs prank-calling Starbucks with the first iPhone call or Tim Cook sending a doodle to a fellow Apple Watch wearer. Some call it the “Apple Kool-Aid.” I call it smart marketing. These vignettes connect us to Apple and all of its products, and now the Apple Watch, in a fresh and unexpected way.

 

Be Brave, think different, and get your marketing mojo on.