Ride the Wave
Last year Apple rolled out the iPad, an entirely new computer category, and they created a tidal wave of change in many industries. We have been following this story closely because it speaks volumes about the principles of successful branding and marketing that can be applied to your luxury real estate marketing practice. Here is a summary of these principles:
1. Spot the Trends-Ride the Wave: Prior to the iPad a couple of companies came out with tablet computers. But, none were successful. Apple saw two important trends emerge in other categories of consumer electronics: The “net book” (small laptops) and e-book readers (Kindle, Nook) were taking off in popularity. The principle--Spot the trends, ride the wave.
2. Be the First in a New Category: Apple asked itself this key question, “What could it do better than anyone else in the world in this field?” Their answer: Touch screens, apps and awesome user graphic interfaces! By incorporating these wildly successful features of their iPhone to the tablet computer, and “hitching their wagon” to the net book/e-book reader trends, they defined a “must have” new computer category. The principle--Be the first in new category. It is the surest way to become the dominant player, a.k.a., the “category killer”.
3. Capitalize on Your Unfair Competitive Advantage: Apple’s other highly competitive advantage was their vast customer base from iTunes. It did not take much heavy lifting to include the purchase of apps in their iTunes store where consumers already had their credit cards on file. Google and Microsoft did not have consumer stores. The principle--capitalizes on your “unfair” competitive advantage.
4. Be the Opposite of Your Competition: Apple’s most significant challenger is Google who took a completely opposite tack in marketing strategy. They creating an operating system, Android, and made it available to an unlimited number of other would be Apple challengers like HTC who develops smart phones and tablets. The aggregate number of devices on the Android operating system far surpasses Apple’s. Google wisely backed off from being device manufacturers. Google’s aim is to broaden their advertizing reach. Whereas, Apple’s main focus is creating products that people love. The principle—to challenge the market leader take the opposite brand position and pursue the opposite marketing strategy.
5. Take a Distinctive Stance that Resonates with your Ideal Clients: You can walk into any Apple store and have a uniform high energy experience from knowledgeable staffers and also take one-on-one classes to answer any of your to your tech question. All of their products are integrated which reduces the learning curve. Once you have “joined the brand”, why even think of switching brands?
Apple has become a “luxury” brand that offers consumers a means of self-expression. With a very sharply focused brand identity, Apple stands for fun, knowledge and innovation. What does HTC stand for? What is a Xoom? How can one Android phone or tablet computer distinguish itself from another, other than on specific features that can eventually be copied? The principle—to be a market leader your brand must stand for something distinctive that your ideal customer or clients can instantly recognize as a perfect match to their personal values.
Spot the trends, ride the wave. Be the first in a new brand category. Capitalize on your “unfair” competitive advantage. Be the opposite of your closest competition. Take a stance that distinguishes you from your competition and resonates with the core values of your ideal clients. Apply these five principles and you will be well on your way to gaining or sustaining market leadership in your area.
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