Is it Steve Jobs’ reality distortion field (TM)? Or is it Apple fanboy- (and girl-) dom in action? Or maybe it’s the power of buzz? You can count on the social media machine to get you that extra mile when it comes to publicity, after all. Harvard Business School professor David Yoffie believes Apple has become master of the buzz machine, and has benefited from about $400 million worth of free advertising for its upcoming iPhone, according to an article on USA Today.
While the biggest names in tech were in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show in January showing off new gadgets and gizmos, Apple gambled it could extract attention in San Francisco for a sneak-peek debut of the iPhone, the combination music player/cellphone and Internet device.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ bet paid off like a gushing Vegas jackpot. The avalanche of headlines and TV news stories about the iPhone – which hits the market in June – already have generated $400 million in free publicity, says Harvard Business School professor David Yoffie. “No other company has ever received that kind of attention for a product launch,” Yoffie says. “It’s unprecedented.”
I would say it’s probably more than $400 million. Don’t forget the media mileage in blogs, podcasts and various other social media outfits. Bloggers love to talk about Apple and the iPhone, after all, regardless of whether it’s in a positive or a negative light. If it’s from Apple, it must be blog-worthy. How’s that for buzz?
The article further tries to dissect what it is that makes Apple products tick, and these include innovative products, memorable ads, simple product lines, and even showmanship, and how it’s a good combination of these that make Apple a company really exciting to talk about.
Apple’s arsenal of attention-getting tools holds lessons for any company: design cool, innovative products. Have a streamlined product line. Invest in memorable ads. Work your customer base to make customers feel special and create word-of-mouth agents. Most important: keep the world and media surprised, to generate gobs of attention.
All the buzz about how cool Apple and its products are have not led to a significant increase in market share in the personal computer market, though. Apple is not likely to overcome its having a minor share of about 3% anytime soon. Still, anticipation of the iPhone has led to enthusiasm in Wall Street, which has helped improve Apple’s stock price.