We mention time and again that no one business is ever the same, and that each and every brand is a unique proposition.
That’s true for everyone, even franchisees. A friend of ours had a job interview at a major national book retailer recently and was asked who their main competition was. He naturally mentioned a bookstore a few doors down.
Though he wasn’t wrong, the retailer said their main competition was their own brand’s national website. So hard is it to compete in a market that’s been hit especially hard by advancing digital technology and sales that the physical chain has a mortal fear of the strength of its successful online brand.
If a national chain is telling that to job prospects then what hope for the rest of us! There is a way the franchise could have prospered and excelled online, though. Not by competing against the main site (which would be franchise suicide) but by carving out their own niche and focusing on their strengths in the local area and properly conveying their staff’s passion, skills and knowledge.
How smaller brands can take a bite from the Apple
Put less delicately it could be called ‘not giving a stuff about what the competition are up to’. We also like to think of this as the ‘Apple way’ of doing things. Did you know, for instance, that Apple only bothered to set up an Apple Support Twitter account last year?
That would be heresy for millions of other brands across the globe. It’s the first port of call for so many; set up social media accounts across the channels that matter in case anybody needs to reach out to them with a problem. Twitter’s probably the most accessible social network of them all in regard customer complaints; why did it take Apple so long to set up a tech support account?
Why would they want to is the question you should be asking. They have a massively unique selling point (USP) in their Genius Bar; concierge-style, one-to-one customer support from a tech team who have almost-encyclopaedic knowledge of Apple and its products.
Ron Johnson, the former Senior Vice President for Retail, said in 2004 that the Genius Bar is the “heart and soul of our stores“. Something that would be hard for Apple to replicate online; it makes sense for them then to instead direct people in-store and give their customers a level of service they can’t find anywhere else than create Twitter accounts for the sake of it.
How can my business replicate a total one-off?
It’s easy to scoff when marketers say ‘be more like Apple’. The company was moulded in Steve Jobs’ image and is as one-off as he was. Still, they succumbed to Twitter in the end, didn’t they?…
People imagine the pressures of being like Apple and are put off; the need to constantly innovate, be incredibly tech-focused and design the absolute hell out of their products.
That’s not what we’re saying. Far from it; when we say ‘be more like Apple’ we mean carve out your own identity, be unique and get your message across to the market who matters to you most, especially online.
Companies across the globe are finding success by adopting the Apple way of doing things. Here are five ways you can do it too:
1: Don’t overload consumers with information
Apple’s ad campaigns exemplify minimalism. We’re not saying create Avant-garde ads online with little product information. It is worth noting as we mentioned last time, though, that less is more when it comes to internet marketing.
Not just in advertising who you are and what you’re selling either; overloading your campaign can have a seriously negative effect on search results. Be clear and trust your consumers to understand what you’re trying to say, and let them explore for themselves.
2: Be savvy with your social placements
Social placements and advertising in the right places are key to Apple’s success. Theirs is a very visual company; Instagram is perfect not just for showing off the iPhone’s camera capabilities, but in generating product buzz from influencers with large audiences.
Frequenting the right social circles and working with people connected to their core audience is key for Apple. Not just that but so is maximising their paid search strategy. Investing in PPC and the right social media placements is crucial to Apple generating excitement around their products.
3: Never lose sight of your USP
As we’ve mentioned Apple has a USP in its popular Genius Bar feature. That’s not their only USP though; Apple has many, and the overall quality of its products is part of the reason why the company doesn’t compromise on price.
It also doesn’t get into price wars with competing brands, such is their insistence on the quality of its products and they can’t be found anywhere else. Smaller brands can do the same by creating content around their products and services; highlighting the absolute best bits that people can expect and sharing that information with the right people.
4: Target the people who matter most
Where to find those right people, though? Apple’s products are mostly associated with a tech-savvy, fashion-conscious younger audience despite people across a range of demographics owning an Apple product. Apple still target the fashion-conscious though, connecting with audiences of certain ages and groups and speaking their languages.
Are you doing the same? Take some time to think about who are the people you’d most like to work with, who would be best supporting your brand for long-term growth and the value they bring. Take some time to identify where they spend their time online and target them with some highly targeted social and search advertising.
5: Don’t forget to look the part
Apple appeals to a lot of markets and crowds because the company has been consistent with its message over the years and makes a point to look the part. Great visuals are part of the overall Apple experience; there’s no reason you can’t make a similar impact and turn heads by producing incredible visuals and using them creatively to turn heads.
Brilliant cameras are now part and parcel of most smartphones and tablets, while platforms such as Instagram and Canva have their own editing software for free. Great images and videos can not only seriously boost your conversion potential but show the more creative side of your brand, too.
Want to boost your brand and grow your business? Web Presence is an inbound marketing specialist dedicated to creating bespoke digital marketing campaigns that help get you noticed.