September 10, 2014
Yesterday’s Apple Live event had exciting breakthroughs, including the first new product announcement from the company in four years. Here’s our take on what Apple’s recent approach to innovation can mean for creating compelling brand experiences.
1: Influence the entire landscape
The notion of a digital wallet—one that’s both used by consumers and valued by merchants—has long been described as imminent, but it has remained elusive, as multiple payment technologies fight to become the coveted standard. It’s not the technology, however, that gives Apple Pay so much potential. Rather, it’s the way that Apple has strategically approached this initiative. Instead of participating in the electronic payment standard wars, Apple brought together the card processors, issuing banks, major retailers, and online merchants for a single harmonious solution. Getting all stakeholders aligned with the same approach sets the service up for the highest likelihood of success yet.
2: Best is often better than first
So far, consumers have rejected wearable technology, primarily due to its limited utility and quirky form factors. Apple tackled these objections head on. With the Apple Watch, the company has delivered a wearable with a range of useful applications that go beyond health and fitness. It also happens to be the most stylish and versatile of the wearables on the market, with plenty of ways to personalize its looks to your liking. As such, the watch seems to have more potential for near-mass adoption, which for Apple will mean interacting with customers in new and more personal ways. But the real lesson here is that it’s not always best to be a first-mover; sometimes it’s more advantageous to learn from others’ missteps so you can deliver a better, more beneficial experience.
3: Focus on needs, not channels
One thing is clear from this week’s announcements: Apple is continuing to take an aggressive stance in the mobile channel. But the nature of the products and software that the company debuted underscores a shift away from a mobile mindset toward one based on context. With this approach, the focus on mobile falls back, allowing other nontraditional channels, such as the physical, to drive the experience. (Isn’t it funny that mobile has become traditional and physical is cutting-edge?) Apple loves to integrate hardware, software, and the human element to create products that enrich people’s lives. In that way, the company has redefined what people expect from a brand and what they need from an immersive experience. All brands look to Apple as the standard for making interactions accessible, relevant, and deeply personal. This approach is what forges profound connections with and advocacy for a brand. Bravo, Apple. You had us hooked at the incredible opening video. Watch it, and the entire event, here.