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Thursday, March 17, 2011

The highest compliment a brand can get

Read an article yesterday about Apple. By a customer who was fairly shouting with enthusiasm about the brand.

In her words: "Apple gets ME!"

She went on to say that Apple intuitively understands her lifestyle (busy, family, kids) and her technology prowess (none).

She talked about asking for and getting customer support that was sympathetic and constructive. Versus another company's more blaming attitude. (It was Verizon and I haven't had the same problem. More on that in a minute.)

She talked about taking the kids to the Apple store and the joyful confusion, everybody getting separated as they were drawn to one product or another.

If I had to put her in a brand cluster it would be along with Volvo, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Panera. Maybe Ann Taylor for work and REI for weekend. Brands that take care of you, that cost a bit more, that are geared for moderately elite people.

Apple succeeds because it squarely and narrowly focuses on a certain type of customer. The kind that fits into a certain narrow slot. All they care about is understanding this slot, this customer, her life.

Nothing else. Not technology. Not leadership. Not distribution. Not operations. Believe it or not, not even design, though they claim to.

Apple is obsessed with this lady and the psycho-socio-econo-political demographic she represents.

I am not her. Surprise surprise, I am an Apple DISbeliever. I think their products are too locked-down and vastly prefer the Droid.

Unlike her, I don't want to have my hand held by customer service - just send me the link or I'll Google it myself.

The brands I like and affiliate with reflect this (Republican, Lifehacker.com, Google, etc.) I loved the series "24." I dislike being served at restaurants - vastly prefer takeout (I can't cook.) And so on.

The lesson for brands is an old one. Don't try to please a mishmash customer - a vague "everyone." Focus on a someone. Give her a name, a persona, a brand cluster. Refer to that when making decisions.

Along the lines of "What would Jesus do?"

Make it a daily habit to ask:

"What would make Jane (or John) Smith happy?"

When you delight the customer, you can't go wrong with your brand.

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Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D.
Blog: http://thinkbrandfirst.blogspot.com
Twitter: @thinkbrandfirst
Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dannielleblumenthal
All opinions my own.

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