Tag Archives: branding

Apple’s Strategy of Rejecting ‘Social Media’

Apple’s ‘rejection’ of the practices pundits “always say you should do to succeed in the Internet economy” isn’t unique, but it does make for interesting reading:

Apple doesn’t blog; it doesn’t Tweet; it does little on Facebook; it doesn’t engage with its customer base. It doesn’t ask the “community” for feedback or rapidly iterate based on any such feedback or even respond to criticism.

It doesn’t give anything away for free, thank you very much—in fact, the company charges premium prices for just about everything. Its customer service is perfunctory. It engages in terribly consumer-unfriendly practices like making you buy a whole new device when the battery dies.

And marketing? […] For the most part, Apple advertising is old media all the way.

There are some important lessons for entrepreneurs in this strategy, says Jonathan Weber:

  • It’s the product, stupid! (“If in doubt, focus on the product.”)
  • Brand marketing still matters—a lot.
  • Engaging with your customers via the real-time Web is not, in fact, mandatory. (Don’t become influenced by “what the zeitgeist of the moment says you should be doing”.)
  • Continuously consider opportunity costs.

via @alexjmann

(Preventing) Manipulation Through Irrationality

Through the theories discussed in Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational (and largely based on the excerpts in Chris Yeh’s outline of the book), two articles have emerged on different sides of one topic: our irrational decision-making in terms of products and purchases.

One on how to take advantage of our irrationality when marketing products, and another on preventing manipulation by being aware of our own irrationalities.

One point from each article, per section:

Price Relativity and the Encouraging of False Comparisons

  • Offer a premium version of your product/service and make it easy to compare.
  • Realize that some premium options exist as decoys — that is, they are there only to make the less expensive options look more appealing, because they’re easy to compare.

The Fallacy of Supply and Demand and the Reinforcement of Anchoring

  • Set yourself against “premium” competitors in premium markets. Positioning is critical to the perception of value.
  • Scale your purchases to your needs, not your circumstances or wallet size. Try to objectively measure the value of what you’re buying.

The Zero Price Effect

  • Offer free stuff (especially to those whose affections/actions you desire most), but make sure you get ROI from it.
  • Do not overestimate the value of items you get for free. Resist this by viewing free stuff sceptically rather than welcoming it with open arms. What are the hidden costs involved (restriction on future choices, time and effort expended, etc.)?

The Exploitation of Social Norms

  • The mindset of volunteers vs. employees (free vs. paid) is very different — consider which behaviour set you want before deciding on the type of labour to attract.
  • Consider carefully before choosing to participate [for free].

The Influence of Arousal

  • Arouse your audience and their behaviour (especially their decision-making) changes drastically.
  • Be aware when you are being aroused (not just sexually).

Designing for Procrastination

  • Procrastination is an extremely common human behaviour — plan for it in your business and take advantage of it where it can help (trial offers that turn into paid services, for example).
  • Either favour fixed-rate, fixed-term plans — or become meticulous about cancelling unused recurring services, or services with automatic price increases.

The Endowment Effect

  • ‘Free’ products are valued less than purchased products. It’s easier to get more money from your existing customers than it is to attract new ones.
  • Be willing to walk away from–and never rely on your internal value judgment of–already purchased goods/services. Ask an impartial third party for their objective advice.

Capitalisation of our Aversion to Loss

  • Narrow your customers’ choices and they’ll be more likely to commit.
  • If your choices are artificially narrowed, don’t passively get funnelled towards the goal you’re being herding toward. Don’t pay extra for options, unless you can point to hard evidence that you need those options. Some options exist just to make you doubt yourself.

Engender Unreasonable Expectations

  • Take advantage of expectations of value creation. Position your brand so that users expect great things, and they’ll get them.
  • Let your own opinions guide you, not the opinions of others. Don’t let marketing set your expectations. Rely on evidence and facts.

Leverage Pricing Bias

  • Higher pricing means higher expectations, but also more fulfilment, even if the product isn’t actually more fulfilling. The placebo effect is strong.
  • Price often has nothing to do with value. Don’t fall prey to the ‘moneymoon‘.

Influencing Behaviour Online

Ignoring, for a moment, the rather unsound and outmoded neuroscience propounded in the introduction, these tips for extending influence online and persuading your visitors are worth a few minutes:

  1. Show ratings and reviews by other users (for action through social validation).
  2. Provide instant gratification and a quick fix.
  3. Put the most important action to be done first.
  4. Use the illusion of scarcity (previously).
  5. Build reciprocity by giving away something for free.
  6. Learn to use food, sex and danger in an advertising context.
  7. Limit the choices available and promote bundles (noted in this list with the paradox of choice/too-much-choice effect theory firmly in mind: while the advice is solid, the paradox of choice theory is overestimated).
  8. Speak to your visitor by using the word ‘You’ (personalisation).
  9. Get your visitors to make a (small) commitment. Preferably a public one.
  10. Use images that demonstrate similarity and attractiveness.
  11. Be a master at telling stories.

Scarcity Marketing

Neuromarketing has recently been looking at The Scarcity Effect:

WORCHEL, LEE, AND ADEWOLE (1975) asked people to rate chocolate chip cookies. They put 10 cookies in one jar and two of the same cookies in another jar. The cookies from the two-cookie jar received higher ratings—even though the cookies were exactly the same! Not only that, but if there were a lot of cookies in the jar, and then a short time later most of the cookies were gone, the cookies that were left received an even higher rating than cookies that were in a jar where the number of cookies didn’t change.

In a follow-up post they look at the case of Knob Creek whiskey using scarcity in their latest marketing campaign (after they announced that there’s a chance they “might run out of their signature bourbon”):

If supply is indeed short, why not cut back on advertising, save a few bucks, and still sell 100% of your inventory?

The answer is branding. Should Knob Creek be known simply as a premium bourbon, or the bourbon that was so good it became unavailable? Should the standards used in the creation of Knob Creek be high, or so high that its makers wouldn’t compromise their manufacturing and aging process to make more available?

Kodak and Brand Naming

While reading about the history of the Eastman Kodak Company (more commonly known just as Kodak) I came across this titbit about the Kodak name which seemed like sound advice for naming a product or brand:

The letter “K” had been a favorite of Eastman’s, he is quoted as saying, “it seems a strong, incisive sort of letter”. He and his mother devised the name Kodak with an anagram set. He said that there were three principal concepts he used in creating the name: it should be short, one cannot mispronounce it, and it could not resemble anything or be associated with anything but Kodak.

To reiterate:

  • Short.
  • Cannot be mispronounced.
  • Could not resemble anything or be associated with anything but your brand.