Ben Wise on Branding

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Posts Tagged ‘Tablet

Branding Through Buzz: Apple vs Microsoft

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Without officially mentioning a word about it, the Apple Tablet is generating lots of buzz, both online and offline. This isn’t the first time that Apple has managed to do this. Do you remember hearing about the launch of the iPhone months before it was announced? Apple has mastered the careful art of generating positive buzz, helping them build their brand and save millions in marketing. Can their strategy be copied by other companies to obtain the same rewards?

A great article in the Mac Observer (here) details how Apple does ‘controlled leaks’, which was further expanded (here) by Gawker. The secret lies, without going into too much detail, in total secrecy up to and after a specified leak.  This is where other companies might run into trouble. The amount of discipline at all levels of an organization that is required to pull this off correctly is astounding. Just think of any junior manager that wants to show off  to his friends and inadvertently leaks an upcoming product.

The other key for Apple is that it works best for products that are launched into a new category. Everyone knows that after this version of Windows, there will be a new one a few years down the road. Knowing the exact date is nice, but not nearly as exciting as it would be if Microsoft were doing this for a new TV they were launching, or better yet, a revolutionary new category.

The buzz created by these leaks is hugely beneficial for the brand. Apart from the tactical advantages it provides (early customer reaction to potential features, price point, etc), the buzz generates brand equity by being seen as trendy and leading edge, especially important in the high tech industry.

In contrast with Apple, Microsoft has struggled in creating much buzz around their product (with a bit of an exception with Windows 7). Yesterday at CES Microsoft announced their new tablet, in conjunction with HP. However, the brief demonstration of the prototype had little on the features of the product, leaving consumers confused to its benefits. While Apple’s leaks lead to a specific launch date, the official Microsoft announcement said the product would be launched sometime in 2010.

I can see why Microsoft was trying to steal some of the spot light from Apple, but this will only hurt their brand by confusing and frustrating consumers, making them even more likely to jump ship to a competitor’s (read: Apple) product.

What do you think? Is there anyone that does buzz as well as Apple?

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Written by benwisebranding

January 7, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Posted in Tech

Tagged with , , , ,