I’ve learned a few things from the post I did a few days ago on the new MacBook Air. Namely, that it’s got a lot of features people aren’t thrilled about, like an external DVD drive, limited memory and a non-replaceable battery. And despite the price tag ($1,800), I don’t think it was designed to be anyone’s primary computer, but rather a portable model you use when traveling or commuting, your files having been instantly synched through the miracles of iDisk. There are a number of things Apple did right with the launch though, that other marketers can learn from. Let’s have a look….
1. Create A Product With “Wow!” Value: It’s got water-cooler buzz already. “Did you hear Apple has a new laptop that’s so thin, it can fit into an envelope?” That’s pretty cool. And whether you need one or not, chances are you already want one.
2. Design Matters: It’s a great looking machine. With all sorts of cool features like a backlit keyboard (for “taking notes in darkened conference rooms” we’re told) and the iPhone influenced track pad that allows you to zoom in on web pages with your fingers. It’s cool enough that if you didn’t want one when you heard about it, you’ll change your mind when you see it.
3. Theater Matters: Steve Jobs stood on stage at MacWorld and had the machine delivered to him in a manila envelope. Pretty cool and that image got splashed in newspapers and magazine and web sites around the globe. It also provided Word-of-Mouthers with their “elevator speech” …. the quick synopsis of why this is so cool.
4. Consistency Matters: The TV commercial uses the envelope trick too, thus reinforcing the image of Jobs at MacWorld. It’s a simple product demo, but boy is it effective here. They’ve also imbued the commercial with the stark simplicity that defines the Mac aesthetic. Go online to view the promotional video on the Apple site and you’ll see the same aesthetic at play. Everything is consistent, everything is on message, even down to the casting and wardrobing of “John” the Apple store employee and guide. A lean 40something whose salt’n'pepper hair is swept up in a stylish “Ross” hairdo, the Jobs lookalike is dressed in a solid black long-sleeve t-shirt and delivers his speech in a soft mellifluous voice. It’s every bit as packed with Apple branding as the TV spot.
5. Get Ahead Of The Pack: Apple reaffirmed its reputation as a top innovator by introducing an innovative laptop that was extraordinarily thin. Even if the product is sort of a bust, the buzz it generates and the impression it leaves are priceless in terms of building Apple’s brand.