Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’

Google’s Actions Betray Its Users and Its Brand

February 17th, 2012

“Google Inc. and other advertising companies have been bypassing the privacy settings of millions of people using Apple Inc.’s Web browser on their iPhones and computers—tracking the Web-browsing habits of people who intended for that kind of monitoring to be blocked.”

If you read that opening sentence from this Wall Street Journal article and had never heard of Google Inc. before, what would your impression of the company be?  Probably that it must be a sleazy, unethical, untrustworthy company with which you you never want to do business.

It’s been said that your brand isn’t defined by what you say but what you do.  If that’s true–and I think it is–then Google’s actions have put a significant dent in its brand equity.

This isn’t the first time Google has compromised its users’ privacy, and Facebook and others have been guilty of similar violations.  Perhaps the phenomenal success experienced by Google and Facebook has left their leaders feeling that they are someone immune from the ethical standards by which the rest of us play.  And, for the most part, their users do seem to have looked the other way rather taking these companies to task for their behavior.  I have to believe, however, that  sooner or later these serious ethical lapses are going to take a serious toll on the loyalty of their users and hence on the sky-high stock prices that Google and others command.

One of the many things Google does well is to creatively modify their logo to celebrate holidays and other special occasions.  I suggest that until they regain their ethical bearings, they modify their iconic “I feel lucky” tag to read “I feel violated.”

Windows Phone Commercial Fails to Complete the Call. Really.

November 9th, 2010

Exactly when did it become cool to ask, “Really?” to express one’s disappointment or anger?  I think I first started noticing it on Cougartown, one of my and my wife’s favorite TV shows.  Used properly, as it is in this  TV commercial for the Windows Phone, and it can be pretty amusing.  This commercial also effectively dramatizes in humorous fashion the ridiculous and even dangerous obsession many of us–present company included–have with our mobile phones.

But while this spot does a nice job of showing us the problem and entertaining us in the process, it does nothing to explain why the Windows Phone is the solution.  Presumably it’s somehow designed to make many tasks simpler and quicker to perform, but if that’s the case, show us how!  Rather than humoring us with repeated demonstrations of the problem, wow us with one or two demonstrations of the solution.

Apple ads–whether they be for the iPod, iPhone, iTouch, iMac or MacBook–have knocked our socks off again and again with simple but impressive demonstrations of their products’ amazing performance.  If the Windows Phone really is a significant improvement over the status quo, it should certainly lend itself to a very impressive presentation.  This commercial, however, leaves me thinking, “Either there’s nothing really special about this phone, or Microsoft has created one of the most underachieving commercials of all time.”

The commercial makes one other fatal mistake: it says the brand name only once, and doesn’t do so until the 55-second point.  This destines the commercial to join the seemingly endless list of relatively entertaining commercials that communicated virtually nothing to the target audience about who the advertiser is or what makes the product special.

It’s enough to make a guy want to call Steve Ballmer and say, “You supposedly have a truly superior mobile phone, and this is the way you advertise it?  Really?

An i-Opening Experience

March 16th, 2009

My daughter’s iPhone locked up yesterday, so I went to www.apple.com to see if I could troubleshoot the problem. After a few minutes of trying to find the solution, I saw that I had the option of speaking to an Apple Expert. I provided the requested background information on the problem (which took about a minute), and clicked on “Submit”.

Miraculously enough, within 15 seconds, I was called by my Apple Expert! And no more than 2 minutes later, the iPhone was up and running, and I was a hero to my daughter.

To call this a refreshing experience would be an understatement of monumental proportions. Not only did I get to speak to a live human being, but it was within seconds of submitting the request. Oh, and the fact that the problem was solved quickly didn’t hurt, either.

According to Michael Treacy’s The Discipline of Market Leaders (one of my favorite business books), a company must excel at one of the three core strategic disciplines–Product Leadership, Operational Excellence or Customer Intimacy–and just be good at the other two. Those showoffs at Apple must have neglected to read the book, as my experience would suggest that they’ve decided to embrace all three.

To again quote from one of my other favorite business books, Andy Sernovitz’s Word of Mouth Marketing, “Marketing isn’t what you say; it’s what you do.” As if there were any doubt, Apple’s handling of my little problem reaffirms its position–in my mind, at least–as the world’s most formidable marketer.