"Gadget's Gun For IPod's Glory" in today's WiredNews site looks at some of the contenders, mostly cell phones but also the Sony PSP, that are hoping to be the successor to the ubiquitous device. A lot of variables come into play: subscription vs. purchase, one device vs. many, and a whole list of technical specs etc. While these may be important, and while cell phone makers will get more and more sophisticated in terms of integrating music playback and storage features and technologies in their handsets, it will be critical for any contender to keep their focus on the bigger picture: making an appealing device that is easy to use and looks good. It's not just about the technology, it's about human appeal, first and foremost.
As competition heats up, and the iPod brand evolves, it would be interesting to see Apple go further in distinguishing itself from the pack by going even further in exploring the human, rather than techy, appeal of their brand. Apple already has a lock on the design and interface front, it's time for them to take it to the next level. David Gensler in an interview posted here yesterday, offers some timely advice:
I wish they would develop more deep reaching participation programs for creators and artists. They are a bit cold outside of their traditional retail experience. They should promote creation more and use it has the cornerstone of their marketing efforts. Dancing silhouettes can only get you so far.
many of the most effective solutions are often the most simple. In a landscape of density, reductionism is a powerful tool. I look to develop solutions that are radically different, yet extremely practical and always bottom line driven. Brand managers should do the same thing. They should focus on true innovation, not constantly search for trends or the hottest fad to attach to. They need to always ask themselves "How is this tactic or program going to enhance the core target culture AND generate revenue?" It is the difference between basic marketing and strategic innovation. These days, for most brands, traditional marketing tactics equate to disaster.
update: this interview was already posted on psfk, but it's worth a rewind ;)
I was thinking about Andy Warhol's trademark "15 minutes of fame" quote when I was reading this BBC article on "amateur culture": the emerging creative-explosion-phenomenon we keep hearing about, made possible with the advent of numerouse accessible digital tools, that allow anyone to record, photograph, "remix" (arggh), and reconfigure content to their heart's content. Being able to then post it in a weblog, podcast, or flickr further fans the creative flames.
Now the BBC has announced that it will make hundreds of hours of archived content available for creative use. Just imagine: you can freely sample former-PM John Major, for a club cut! Oh, the possibilities.
Maybe it's time to replace 15 minutes of fame with 15 megabytes of fame?
all the stats about fragmentation, clutter, DVR’s etc are actually good news…because they naturally promote and lead to flexibility, innovation and freshness of approaches and idea generation. “In a revolution, people get hurt,” said the Willy Wonka of the Ad Business…perhaps it’s because of the Greed passed down by the holding companies that forces so many agencies to plunge head-first into the chocolate (which actually turns out to be crap) river of their own esoteric egos?
Chuck let the work do the talking…he showed work for Burger King, IKEA, Mini and Google – all of which pay off strongly the notion of what I call “horizontal integration” and the fact that for this business to evolve, we need to move from being in the ad business to being in the experience business.
Well, we already knew that didn't we?! It's cool to be a geek.
People who track youth trends have noticed the shift in attitude, too. "It feels like, for a while there, we were hearing so much about bullying in schools _ and this is almost a time for the geeks to stand up for themselves," says Schuyler Brown, a trendspotter for advertising and marketing firm Euro RSCG.
Question is, these days who can afford to not be a geek?
Thanks to BrandNoise for the link to this article arguing for the "demise of positioning". According to it's authors, positioning was suitable for a world of mass markets and mass media, one in which brands defind themselves according to how "they wished to sell" rather than "determining what- and how- customers seek to buy".
What is replacing positioning? "Brand wikization". Funky name, but good ideas:
brands today are collectively defined by their customers. Based on personal or business requirements for economic, emotional or experiential value, this wiki-based definition derives from personal experiences, word-of-mouth, research and multiple marketing tactics. Companies can "position" themselves as anything, but unless there is essentially a customer-driven consensus on the brand"s wiki, then the "positioning" is no more than corporate posturing. Instead of seeking to unilaterally "position" their products, companies focused on branding today must devote resources to defining, delivering, measuring and sustaining the value that customers feel they receive.