4 Ways to Make Your Product Launches More Like Apple’s
When it comes to product launches, nobody does it better than Apple. Case in point: people have been waiting in line since September 3 for a product that hasn’t even been revealed yet and likely won’t be available until September 19th.
Whether the iPhone 6 and perhaps the iWatch live up to expectations or not, the amount of buzz they’ve generated is a massive win for Apple from a PR perspective. If you’ve been reading just about any business, consumer or tech publication over the past couple of months, you’ll have likely come across an article or two mentioning the upcoming announcement.
Are you looking to generate a similar buzz for your brand’s next product launch? Here are four ways that you can be more like Apple:
1. Create Intrigue
Far in advance of its events, Apple starts sowing the seeds of intrigue by sending creative invites to influencers. The latest teaser, a close-up image of an Apple product with the text reading only “Wish I could say more,” is a great example of the simple, elegant way they create mystery around their products. All of this works because Apple is notoriously secretive about their products, with a number of sophisticated security measures that ensure each of their announcements is truly a surprise for influencers and the general public.
Do you need Fort Knox-level security surrounding your products? Probably not. But you can start teasing new products with images shared on social media channels or by hinting at upcoming features in briefings with influencers months in advance. You can also strategically give individual, trusted influencers sneak previews with briefings prior to the launch, so they can spread word of mouth for your products to their networks. You want to give away just enough to interest your target audience, but not enough to spoil the surprise of your launch.
2. Go Big
Going home is never even an option for Apple. For its event today, Apple built a mysterious and massive multi-story structure that is almost as large as the venue itself. There have been a number of educated guesses about what’s inside, but regardless of what’s actually in there, its main purpose is to draw attention and encourage speculation. Otherwise, Apple wouldn’t have covered the entire building in a white veil. The structure itself serves as one big piece of marketing collateral for the company.
Your product launch might not be able to support a massive, multimillion dollar event like Apple’s just yet, but you should push your boundaries, wherever they may lie. Consider creating as many supporting marketing materials as possible in advance of your launch, including pieces of content like a press release, e-book, supporting videos and more.
Then, get your PR, marketing and sales engines working together to ensure your big launch reaches as much of your target audience as possible. Have your salespeople email all of your customers and leads, have your PR agency inform influencers and share your supporting content to make the resulting pieces of coverage more interesting, have your marketing team create a stream of posts on social channels about it, and have your CEO send a package to investors about it – you get the idea. Devote all of the resources you can into making your launch a success.
3. Exceed Expectations
Apple consistently surprises influencers with features that were never hinted at or even on their radar. The launch of the first iPhone is a good case study. People knew to expect a phone. But flash back to ye olde days of the mid-aughts, when BlackBerrys and its physical keyboard was the leading smartphone (or PDA, as they were called then), and the combination of new features it introduced was truly unexpected and revolutionary.
Steve Jobs said it best as he stepped on stage, “Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along… Today, we’re introducing three revolutionary products: a widescreen iPod with touch controls…a revolutionary mobile phone…a breakthrough internet communications device….the iPhone. Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone.” The crowd went wild.
Once you’ve generated some buzz, if you want to have a successful product launch, you have to deliver on everything you’ve promised and more. Consider not mentioning some of the very best new features in briefings with influencers, or perhaps stay mum about other interesting related facts, such as use cases or major customers attached to the announcement. Then, on the day of your launch, reveal additional details to surprise and delight your target audience.
4. Think Different
Apple has succeeded largely because they do product launches differently from their competitors. They’re mysterious, bigger and surprising in a way that other companies’ launches aren’t. As Jobs once said, “innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” If you want to be a leading company in your space, in a way that is more than just a statement in your company descriptor, you have to do something breathtaking.
If your competitors are just sending out press releases, create a series of animated videos to show how your product will change consumers’ lives or the business landscape. If your competitors have press conferences, hijack an industry event by throwing the party of the century to reveal your product. If your competitors send out email blasts, snail mail some cool-looking posters. Whatever you do, be bold.
So here’s to the crazy ones – daring companies pushing the envelope, unafraid to explore new ways to launch products, to get people talking, to change the world. May your next launch be talked about one day.