Monday, July 21, 2008

iBranded: My dabbles into the world of Apple

I was never one to believe the iPod hype that swept the world around 2001. Despite having watched hundreds of commercials featuring funky dancing shadows against almost fluorescent backgrounds, I was never quite convinced! Instead, I was mildly perturbed every time I saw groups of teenagers walking around with the identifiable white earphones in their ears. They were just so openly branded. All the hip and trendy individualists suddenly became a cult - Oh the irony!

When asked what brand they would be, lots of youth openly say “APPLE”. Maybe I was crazy... not only did I not understand what “being Apple” meant, but I also did everything I could not to give in and buy an iPod. In 2004 I had an iPod Nano for a total of 3 days before I returned it. I just simply could not be “Apple-ized” or “Apple-ated”.

The success of Apple products is the result of intelligent marketing and genius branding. It's the epitome of everything I learned in Brand Management when millions of individuals define themselves using a brand name. Everyone knows how Apple's Mac compares to PCs and 'MP3 player' is synonymous with iPod. Apple's July 11th launch of the iPhone 3G continues this storied tradition. So I caved and bought the iPhone. I was hooked instatly. Even at work I was sitting there checking out every feature available on the phone. From the scientific calculator to the Application store, I was mesmerized by the quality of the screen, the relevance of the programs and how smooth everything flowed. I was reading an article in the Globe and Mail about how the world has shifted from PCs to Smartphones. To test that theory, I took my new iPhone on the road to see whether or not it could replace my technological artery, my laptop. Despite the phone’s ability to surf on wireless networks at top speeds, I found 3G to be decent at best so I wouldn’t ditch my laptop just yet. Also, the battery life and camera fail in comparison to competitors. Now, I am in no way qualified to make a technical analysis of the specs of this phone. I am however, a true culture junkie and I rate this phone a 10 out of 10 on the coolness meter.

(Photos taken by my iPhone)

Apple's awesomeness extends to the methods they use to reach the consumer. Knowing that tech junkies and hipsters are always online, they skip out on the traditional paper back manual and instead opt for an online video tutorial. Check out the leaked YouTube version. It makes understanding the features much easier and it's terrific media presence and brand awareness. Not bad marketing at all.

Unsurprisingly, the launch of the iPhone triggered mass media frenzy. It was hard not to see the iPhone everywhere you looked. Television, newspapers, techie websites, consumer forums, blogs and magazines were just some of the places that buzzed about the iPhone.

I followed the iPhone story loyally in the weeks preceding the launch and I noticed that Rogers and Apple had some amazing PR tactics. For example, during the consumer movement against Rogers’ insane data price plans which - I have to admit, Ted - is borderline thievery, Apple positioned themselves as consumer friendly and refused to sell the iPhone in stores because of their disappointment in Rogers*. As a consumer, I didn’t feel resentment at all towards Apple, despite the fact they probably have mutually beneficial million dollar contracts.

Props to the Apple PR team!

Despite the drama and the UNREAL cost of using this product, I am having a blast with my new phone, although I still have not used the iPod feature. I am sure it's great but still I stubbornly resist the iPod movement. I am really satisfied with the rest of the gadget and if enjoying my iPhone finally makes me one with the dancing-shadow-with-white-earphones cult, then color me red and call me APPLE.

*DISCLAIMER: This may very well be an untrue rumour spread by the public to heighten the drama prior to the launch.

1 comment:

Olga Ivleva said...

I love the iPhone. I have the old version and I've gone to extreme lengths to protect it's sleek, smooth $400 body. You name it : screen protectors, gel casing, I even bought another purse because the one I had before would not protect it from sticky fingers on the subway. Because it's just that cool, Stephanie. It's just that cool.
Everyone who thinks themselves to be technologically superior to the meagers of iPhone marketing appears snobby. This phone is too cool and everyone knows they want one. And what's that, it's not a "work phone"? Doctors prefer it because they can view X-ray and all sorts of scan results e-mailed to them from the office for immediately analysis on the easy-zoom screen. Doctors! These people went to medical school!!!
The phone is cool. The marketing is cool. I think Apple hit it dead on right from the get go. Rogers on the other hand...