thinking

Apple, Tesla and Next Generation Marketing

How do you deliver a strong brand message?

About ten years ago I bought an iMac. It was one of those white plastic 17″ ones back in the day. A great computer, although this unit had some quality control issues. Through its lifetime I had to take it out for repairs at least three or four times.

When the computer was 4.5 years old, it wouldn’t start. I called Apple’s customer service and explained the situation. They asked me to, once again, service the device. I told them that this was the fourth or fifth time that the same device would be serviced, which was becoming a bit frustrating. The customer service person asked me to hold the line.

When he came back, he told me that I was correct and that his supervisor had authorized to swap the device. I was amazed, and explained that was this really ok, since the computer was so old. He said yes. The next problem I spotted was that at that point Apple didn’t carry the white iMacs anymore. The cheapest model was a flat 21″ aluminum iMac, which was about ten times the computer I had at the moment. This, too, was no problem.

I took the broken machine back to Apple. And I was completely blown away, when two days later a UPS courier rang my doorbell and delivered a brand new 21″ iMac to my home.

I have told this story dozens of times, and I am pretty sure that while Apple may have lost a few hundred dollars in replacing the machine, this kind of marketing advantage is worth more than a thousand printed ads.

A few days ago, I was even more blown away what a great product by great people can do. I mean the two comics that Matthew Inman, aka The Oatmeal, drew of his Tesla car. The value of such a message is beyond calculation, what with The Oatmeal being super popular to begin with.

But this was topped off with Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s reaction. When Inman asked Musk for his help (with 8 million dollars to boot) in building a Tesla museum, what the super CEO tweeted in response was:

I would be happy to help.

People in marketing tend to occupy themselves with brand design, graphic desing, copywriting, typesetting and a gamut of different ways of communicating how cool a product is, whatever it is.

But what with the world being more and more networked, it seems there is a marketing methodology that blows all the Mad Men stuff out of the water.

This is already in my opinion the most powerful marketing methodology. It may well be on the way to becoming the paradigm for the next generation of marketing. And it’s really simple.

Namely:

a) Be nice.
b) Build awesome things.

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4 thoughts on “Apple, Tesla and Next Generation Marketing

  1. About that Apple experience you had, Seth Godin wrote a good piece recently about customer lifetime value.

    http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2014/04/thinking-lifetime-dont-break-the-chain.html

    Furthermore, being a photographer I have observed lately that Fujifilm has been really upping the ante. They keep releasing firmware updates to older camera models that make them significantly better to use, and close to feeling like having a new camera again thanks to added features and overall performance improvements. Due to this, Fujifilm has gained a lot of goodwill from professional and hobbyist photographers, and many who have been hesitant about investing in the new Fuji X camera system have become converts and ended up buying a lot more Fujifilm products than they had planned to.

    //sami

  2. Hmmm…I like what you have going on. Do you think you will be expanding upon this more?

    I am now thinking how I may apply this towards the entertainment industry and more specifically, actors. I’ll see if I can come up with something and maybe branch a post off of this. Or not. We’ll see what’s in store next.

    In regards to Apple, while I hear of issues happening all of the time—which makes me sometimes question their Q.C.—I have heard this story many times with others; having a great customer experience with a malfunctioning (insert name of Apple product).

  3. Call@ +1-888-825-5072 for Apple Customer Support, apple support chat, iTunes customer service, apple chat, apple contact number, iTunes customer service number. We are here to support 24/7

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