You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Apple’ tag.

Ron Johnson, the CEO of JCPenney, understands branding and the value it represents. The following article is worthy on its own, but three key takeaways:

1.  Creativity – looking at the business differently – is the starting point of success.

2.  Experience is the core issue – not product.

3.  Develop a mission that you and your staff will believe in.

From The Hub magazine:

“Improvement merely lets you hit your numbers … Creativity is what transforms,” says JCPenney ceo Ron Johnson in a Fortune profile by Jennifer Reingold (3/19/12). That was the main lesson Ron says he learned while he was at Target, after gambling on introducing Michael Graves designer products in a big way. “The math was simple,” says Ron. “If I didn’t sell one piece but people looked differently at the other 96% of products we’d win. It’s always about mind share, not market share.” Ron is now bringing a similar sensibility — which of course he also brought to Apple stores — to JCPenney.

The essential vision, once again, is to create “a place where the experience (is) as important as the products themselves.” This apparently was more Ron’s vision at Apple stores than it was Steve Jobs’s. “He said it’d be a store for creative professionals,” says Ron. “I said, ‘Well, then I’m not coming. If you want it to be a store for all Americans, sign me up.” Ron also “persuaded Jobs to nix commissions for salespeople, arguing that they should give customers the best advice, not the advice that earns them the most.” Ron says, “You can motivate by a mission or motivate by money… the mission will work.”

It certainly worked at Apple stores, where sales per square foot average $6,000. But will it work at JCPenney, where sales per square foot are currently $146 and the shopping experience is a safe distance from either Apple or Target? Fitch, the ratings agency, has “downgraded the company’s debt to junk level,” based on Ron’s strategy, the core of which is a “return to the company’s original values,” espoused by founder James Cash Penney as a “morally upright place.” Ron Johnson, eternally an optimist, says his plan will work. “What you can’t do is chicken out,” he says. “If you had looked at the data on the Genius Bar after a year and a half, we should have taken it out of the store… There’s no reason to sell an idea short. The only risk would be to not fulfill the dream.”

We are often asked, “Are you a B2B or B2C agency?”

This seems to be the initial cut-line for many marketers. With all due respect, it is already steering the discussion down a bad path. As the old country lawyer said, “Son, you are already convicting yourself.”

The answer we give – every time – “we are a consumer-driven agency.”

The fundamentals never change. Whether you sell pizza, shampoo through retailers or specially-machined widgets to a Chinese manufacturer. People engage in what is interesting to them. People buy when they decide you have a product or service that is valuable to them. People make those decisions – for themselves, for their family, for their businesses.

Reinforced another way… by an Apple employee:

“The magic of what Apple has done recently is telling people what they ‘need’ before they know they want/need it. By creating the best consumer product, they have created one that’s arguably more successful in the business market than consumer market – iPad.”

Does your marketing platform have a vision for what is needed in the future? Or, does it merely mimic what the competition is already doing? That is the difference in leading a category and being a second rate brand.

Businesses don’t sell to business. People sell to people.

The correct question in our mind is not “are you B2B or B2C?” The right question is, “Do you know how to create more Zealots for your brand?”

Here at Guest Relations Marketing, we all have strong opinions. We challenge one another’s ideas to ensure that we provide our clients with the best solutions possible. Sometimes this means we have to agree to disagree. However, as different as we may be, there is one thing we all have in common:

A love for all things Apple.

The news of Steve Job’s death was a popular topic of conversation in the office today. The discussion of our zealotry for the Apple brand quickly turned into a discussion of our zealotry for the man behind the brand. Here’s what we had to say:

April:
Steve Jobs was the Thomas Edison of our time; what he accomplished in his lifetime impacted every single person in the entire world. He once said he wanted to strive to be remembered for changing the world. I’d say he achieved just that in the most profound way possible.

Mike:
It’s a sad day for Steve Jobs and the Apple family. On the other hand, this man offered a tremendous legacy that can inspire all businesses. The power of radically looking at the competition and the category and truly offering something different. Of understanding the mindset, not simply the demographics, of customers. But for Guest Relations, we take away from Jobs the understanding that it takes both a distinctive product and a superior customer experience. At every touchpoint. Someone said it well in an article I read last night: Jobs had the creativity and insight not simply to dream up products that never existed, but he also could visualize how to package, promote and deliver them to consumers in a simple, yet integrated manner. Steve Jobs was simply the best Zealotry Marketer of our time.

Ashley:
Apple products have become an essential part of my life from the day I was introduced to them. I remember learning at a young age on an early Apple desktop, and am now connected at the hip via laptop, iPad, iPhone and iPod – all of which keep me up to date and connected to the world. The innovation that Steve Jobs developed has inspired a legacy of amazing things to come for the future.

Holly:
Steve Jobs made Apple a company that completely changed the way the world communicates. His passion for innovating technology made the world a better place. There’s no question that the world just lost one of the true greats.

Amanda:
Steve Jobs envisioned products that simply make sense. They fit seamlessly into our lives. They’re easy to use. They’re beautiful. Jobs set the standard for what all companies should strive to achieve: he was loyal to his high brand standards and Apple customers were loyal to him. Jobs once said, “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” Let’s all strive to be that yardstick.

I felt it was only appropriate to honor the founder of the products that each one of us at Guest Relations are Zealots for.  If you have not read Steve Jobs Commencement address to the students at Stanford in 2005, you should take a moment and soak in his words of wisdom.  You will always be remembered as one of the greatest innovators of our time.  Rest in Peace, Steve.

__________________________________________________________________

This is a prepared text of the Commencement address delivered by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

“I continue to be amazed by Apple.

It was been reported this week by Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty that Apple recently doubled monthly production of iPads to 2 million units per month.  Apple has also indicated to its supply chain that it wants to move to producing 3 million units per month by the 4th quarter, which implies that they will produce (and sell) 36 million iPads annually in 2011.  I do not have one yet, but I want one, and apparently so do a lot of other people.

If one does the math, and conservatively assuming that the volume is split between the two lowest price point 3G and non-3G models, the 2011 annual iPad sales volume would be $20.3 billion.  Keep in mind that this is for a product that didn’t even exist at the beginning of this year.

To put that sales volume in perspective, if iPad was a stand-alone company, its sales volume would make it number 119 on the Fortune 500 list of the largest US companies.

Taking this one step further, iPad would be larger than American Airlines, Nike, Kimberly-Clark, Goodyear, and Xerox.  It would also be roughly the same size as Marriott and Starbucks combined.   Again, this is for a product that did not even exist at the beginning of the year.”

Edward Jenkins
Senior Vice President
Atlantic Capital Bank

When marketing and operations (delivery) are aligned in delivering a delightful experience, then prospects are transformed into guests and guests into Zealots.

A quick perspective on alignment – play the “If Then and Now” game with your own company:

o    If Starbucks could go from 1 store in 1976 to 165 by 1992 to more than 17,000 today  …

o    If Apple could go from an initial investment of $1300 in 1976 to a larger market cap than Microsoft today …

o    If World Golf Village could go from a “ghost-town” in 2001 to sold out and EFFIE winner in 2005 …

Why not here and now? (hint: its about transforming into a Zealotry attitude). Then why can’t <insert your brand> go from ___________ to ___________?

BMW. The ULTIMATE driving machine.  They don’t care what others think about their owners’ attitudes towards their car.   And, yes there is an attitude and a swagger to a BMW owner.

Apple. Think DIFFERENT.   Uh, are you a nice, don’t make waves corporate type?   Check in at the Dell stand dude.  Mac people are more creative and smarter.  Just ask them.

Jif Peanut Butter. Only a abusive mother would not buy Jif for her family.  After all, choosy moms choose Jif.

Coca-Cola.
First, Pepsi ran campaigns for years touting blind taste test wins.  And, arguably the biggest market research faux pas was about replacing brand Coke with “New Coke.”   Coca-Cola Zealots would rather go without than drink a competitive brand replacement.   For a soft drink that costs less than a buck at retail and with a myriad of competitors, this brand has many fans that believe you are desecrating their family lineage if you offer them anything other than a Coke.

Green Bay Packers. You probably know the “Cheeseheads” have a waiting list to endure sub-zero degree game (and tailgating) conditions. And, they consider the all-time Packer – Brett Favre – a traitor, because he “deserted” to a rival team.   Did you know they have a “FANS” hall of fame?  Or, that the team is a non-profit and owned by the community?  Packer fans are legendary and unique to all of sports.

What are your top 5 Zealotry Brands? Share them with us…

A question we continue to toy with day in and day out. What creates zealotry? What makes people love brands, be passionately committed to companies, be loyal beyond belief?

Said another way, what are some core actions that cause consumers to be zealots for companies.  Feel free to use your clients and favorite brands to think through this.

One thing that stands out – unexpected rewards.    Earning points in a loyalty program doesn’t provoke much referral talk, but if Apple gives you a brand new computer because they are not solving the problems with your one-year old computer, you share that story. If your Starbucks barista gives you a coffee on the house for no rhyme or reason, surely you’ll be talking to others about your experience. And, if you were flying Southwest Airlines and as you checked in for your flight they casually upgraded you to first class because you looked a little frazzled today I’d aim to guess you’d be bragging to your coach-flying co-workers the next day back at the office.

That being said, two questions:

1. Is your company doing anything in terms of unexpected rewards to win over guests? Are your employees empowered to “do good in the brand?”

2. What other things do you think create Zealotry?

The funny thing about my post from Friday is that Microsoft continues to “talk” about relationship, but their arch-rival Apple continues to out-deliver them. Apple understands the zealotry mindset of its core customer in a way few brands do.  And, they have artfully crafted a complete experience against that knowledge.

Whether you are 20-something or 50-something, if you are their core customer, you identify with the Apple guy in their television commercials.

Target your zealots and others will follow.

Follow us on Twitter

Archives