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Innovation: Apple’s Customer Seduction

Whether you are in the Apple camp or not, one thing is clear, Mr. Jobs knows how to seduce customers. The company delivers on brand experience – it appeals to the senses, creates customer intimacy, and makes great use of mystery. In fact, it is safe to say that Apple as a brand has long moved to lovemark.

Whether you are in the Apple camp or not, one thing is clear, Mr. Jobs knows how to seduce customers. The company delivers on brand experience – it appeals to the senses, creates customer intimacy, and makes great use of mystery. In fact, it is safe to say that Apple as a brand has long moved to lovemark.

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Steve Jobs recently announced the unveiling of the new iMacs — just in time for school. Apparently the biggest surprise among those he managed to spring upon us was that yes, there is going to be a new iMac. And it doesn’t look like your old one, at least not entirely. Out with the old and in with the new — a wafer-thin keyboard with a brush metallic look and several new function keys and glossy-coated LCD displays are among the changes.

The biggest strength and buzz building factor in the whole Apple mystique is indeed the masterful way in which Mr. Jobs manages to pull one off every single time he makes an announcement — even when some of the information is leaked as has happened. Add to that the fact that these are not really tools, they are objects of desire and throw in the knowledge that the operating system that supports them is far superior to ordinary PCs and you’ve got a winner among consumers.

I posted the question on whether to stay with a Windows-based PC or switch to a Mac on my blog not long ago and received the most passionate comments and tips I have seen on a topic in a while. A thread common to the tenor of those comments was indeed that Apple has a superior customer support team – capable, willing, and eager to help. Could it be because they are proud of working at the company?

Maybe there is also a different disposition on the customer end. Given the level of evangelism that Apple users engage in, they move more quickly from distress at needing technical help to delight at talking with well informed service reps. Perhaps this is one of those cases where operating in a controlled environment is a good thing.

When we take a look at what’s new with Apple’s iMac one piece of information jumps out at me, which according to an FAQs by Computer World , Mr. Jobs did not even mention –

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The top-of-the-line configuration, a 24-in. unit for $2,299, comes standard with an Intel Core 2 Extreme processor running at 2.8 GHz. That chip, so new it’s not even discussed on Intel Corp.’s own Web site, debuts on Apple’s platform.

Not even discusses on Intel’s Web site; in other words, an exclusive for Apple customers. If we rewind a couple of months to the unveiling of the iPhone, there was an exclusive there too – AT&T signed an agreement with Apple to provide the functionality the company wanted, not the other way around. As a customer all I can do is bow at the brilliance of someone showing me they are working on giving me the red carpet treatment.

Clearly, either the Apple product is superior, or everyone is drinking the Kool-Aid. There is a lesson here too – make a great product that people want to have and they will be willing to pay more for it. On top of that, they will also help you sell it to all their friends and colleagues.

When was the last time you actually looked forward to buying a computer at a store? As for my question: Mac or Windows? It’s going to be Mac. Want to share your Apple seduction story?

Valeria Maltoni • Conversation Agent • Philadelphia, PA • www.conversationagent.com

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