I’m sitting here working on a presentation for a tech company. Like in all consumer tech research you do at the moment, when we asked our participants what tech they were excited about, or were looking forward to, a lot of the chatter was about Apple.
I am a bit of an Apple fan – whilst I write this post from a PC, the internet is currently being powered by my iPhone, I’ve got my iPod Touch playing music and my iPad is in the process of re-charging. So I might be a bit biased here, but as I was putting together this presentation for my client, it was again struck by how well Apple do what they do.
In pondering the “Apple Effect”, one of the things that really jumped out at me was their recent adverting. I’m not in advertising, I haven’t studied it – but I do really think that everyone could really learn a lot from they way Apple sell their products. Where other companies focus on the rational components and features of the product – “Now featuring a 2000-giga-whatzit and external whatzamicallit” etc – Apple ads are generally benefit led. Not “this is our technology”, but “this is what our technology can do for you”. Yes, here and there they may spruik a camera MP size or another product feature – but more often than not, they focus on how this piece of technology or feature will be of benefit to you, the user.
What this translates to is people seeing how they can use the device. Tech speak can be extremely intimidating – it can make the uninitiated fearful as they are forced to navigate their way between this option, and that option – not knowing what each option really means or what the difference between them will really make. This makes the consumer feel dis-empowered and anxious when challenged with the task of making a decision between them.
In contrast, when Apple speak to consumers, they speak about the benefits to the consumers life. How the product will solve a problem (often one the consumer didn’t even know they had!), how it will make life easier. They bring the technology to life and show them why they need the device – as well as demonstrating how easy it will be to make it work for them.
All of a sudden, the tech Luddites are provided with reassurance and security. This device will do this. No questions, no uncertainty. Easy.
I often see these consumers in my interviews. They have the whole Apple range and they generally have only the most basic idea of what they can actually do with it – but they’re happy, confident and satisfied that they have purchased the right thing (and if they run into troubles, why, they’ll just go speak to the nice people at the Apple store). They will keep buying Apple, because Apple makes them feel cool, knowledgeable and savvy – rather than ignorant and incompetent.
The ads are obviously just one part of the magic Apple formula that keeps them going from strength to strength at the moment – but they are definitely worth taking another look at as a good case study of how it is best to sell the benefit rather than the device itself.