Why the iPad will fail, part 2

As far as I am concerned, Apple is one of the finest brands on the planet. It ticks just about every box for me. Design, product innovation, user interface, image, brand culture, service, communications and so on. But when the iPad launched, I wrote a piece about it and gave 8 reasons why I thought it would fail. You can read the full article here. At the end of the article you can read a number of comments from readers. I am responding to Carl Brooks comment.

Carl makes some interesting comments about the iPad, including “Who knew many people could get by with a device that allowed them to do 90% of the tasks they did on a PC.” He adds, “f you don’t have an iPad pad yet, you are missing out on a truly mobile device. Instant on, long lasting battery, huge screen, multitouch interface that even a baby can pickup.” He also says, “I don’t even bother dragging my laptop offsite anymore.”

I have a couple of reactions to Carl’s comments.

A few of days ago I tried to plug in a portable hard drive to an iPad so I could show someone some TVCs. Unfortunately I couldn’t do so because the iPad doesn’t have a USB port. I’m serious. I also tried to show the same person some images but the iPad doesn’t have an SD slot. Now I appreciate this isn’t an industry standard but it meant that I was unable to use the iPad in a way that I have become accustomed to using computer hardware.

As for missing out, well that doesn’t appear to be the case as I have a superb Apple laptop that does everything an iPad does plus I can multitask. I can listen to Pandora and write a document at the same time. Something I can’t do on an iPad. On my laptop I can have my Twitter app open at the same time as my browser.

I heard that an iPad won’t allow you to have AIM open at the same time as your email! Well I can on my laptop. Oh, and on long flights I can watch a DVD on my laptop, something I can’t do on an iPad. Talking of flights, when I am away, I can talk to my kids on skype with my laptop, they can see me and I can see them. Something you can’t do on your iPad.

Carl mentions that the iPad does 90% of the tasks done on a PC. That’s not much use if you want to do one of the tasks included in the 10%. If you do, then the iPad is useless. To me, that’s a bit like saying a Trabant does 90% of the tasks a Rolls Royce does.

Carl finishes with this comment “I will enjoy this device until a better one is created by Apple or by any other competent competitor that can make something better.”

Well Carl, that moment may be here sooner rather than later. The iPad may have the market to itself now, but by early 2011, it’s nemesis, the Android may gatecrash the party in the same way it has gatecrashed the iPhone party. 10.6 million smartphones using the Google developed platform were sold during 2Q2010, equal to about 17% of the market. Apple sold 8.47 million iPhones in the same period, equal to about 14% of the market. A recent report in Digitimes says that Google, Verizon and Motorola are creating an Android tablet with a 10.1-inch screen that could be on sale at the end of 2010.

One solution to some of the issues above would be to buy yet another adapter but even I, a long time Apple devotee am tiring of all the extra money I have to spend on Apple accessories to carry out basic tasks. And anyway, that wouldn’t solve the SD issue.

I still think that Apple is one of the finest brands on the planet. But the cynic in me thinks that perhaps the reason there isn’t a SD card slot on the iPad is to stop consumers buying a 16GB model and increasing the storage themselves, depriving Apple of further income.

Although I’ve been aware of Apple’s strategy of only letting proprietary products complement its devices, it hasn’t really bothered me. However, I do think that if a brand pushes consumers too far or constantly adds new products that require existing customers and those brand ambassadors who build the brand to spend more money then the brand will eventually lose its lustre, especially today when consumers are more fickle and less loyal.

But that is another story. This article began as response to a comment on a story I wrote giving 8 reasons why I thought the iPad would fail. The iPad, in its present form is a flawed product and there are opportunities over the next 12 months for other tablet manufacturers to take market share from the iconic brand.

However, if we take iPad sales (3.27 million units in Q32010 alone) then it could be a success but I still reserve my judgement!


Social Media is not a branding silver bullet

A brand is built not on acquisition but on retention.

And retention requires a relationship. And a relationship is based primarily on ‘Trust and an ongoing, sustained engagement, on customer terms that provides economic, experiential and emotional value to the customer’.

That’s what branding is all about. It’s not a communications exercise. It won’t happen as a result of an advertising campaign. And it won’t be carried out on the pages of Facebook. That’s right, social media is not a silver bullet.

Social networks give us the tools to engage with consumers and build relationships with them. But like any tool we need to use it properly to get the most out of it. We still need marketing with links to articles, while papers, blogs and so on that appeal to target markets.

Unfortunately the majority of brands are continuing to use new tools such as social media, that allow them to lay the foundations for a relationship with consumers, in the same way as they use mass market tools that trumpet a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing.

I recently tweeted about a cool bit of kit from sonos, makers of wireless digital audio systems. I asked if there was a Sonos dealer in Malaysia. Sonos tweeted me and told me to contact someone in Singapore and obviously allerted them as I got a tweet from the Singapore guy with an email of the distributor in Malaysia. I emailed the distributor and didn’t get a reply. Sonos hasn’t contacted me to see if I purchased and nor has the Singapore distributor followed up.

There is no silver bullet with social media. It won’t solve all our branding problems but, used correctly, it will help us build relationships with customers. From there you might, just might build a brand

Louis Vuitton in a spot of bother over print ads

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK has received complaints that print ads for Louis Vuitton created by Ogilvy and Mather suggest that the products were made by hand.

Certainly looking at this ad that shows a woman creating the lines for the folds of a wallet

and also this ad that appears to be a woman stitching a handbag

It is easy to see why there have been complaints. Especially as the copy states, “infinite patience protects each overstitch… One could say that a Louis Vuitton bag is a collection of fine details.”

However, according to marketingweek Louis Vuitton defended the campaign by saying that “their employees were not assembling pre-packed pieces but were taking individual handcrafted and hand-sewn parts through a range of hand-made stages to reach a final item.”

Louis Vuitton added that the use of hand sewing machines and associated tasks were “part and parcel of what would amount to ’handmade’ in the 21st century”.

So handmade doesn’t actually mean handmade in the traditional sense?

If that is the case does that mean then that the iconic hand made Hermes Birkin bag that can cost anything from US$10,000 to well over US$100,000 isn’t actually hand made?

Does this mean that the animal skins used in a Birkin bag are not actually spread out on the floor of the processing room and screened by a number of artisans before being measured and cut by hand as required?

Does this mean that the bottom of the handbag is not sown by hand to the front and back with waxed linen threads?

Does this mean that the handle of the Birkin bag is not manually stitched until the shape comes to the fore?

Does this mean then that the artisans don’t use sand paper to smooth rough edges? And does it mean therefore that hot wax is not applied to the handles to protect them from moisture?

And all the effort that goes into the front flap, the metal and lock is not actually done by hand?

Does it mean that the craftsmen in France that all work out of the little lane in Paris don’t actually exist?

And advertising agencies wonder why 76% of consumers don’t believe that companies tell the truth in advertisements. In Malaysia that figure is 86%!

The number one element in any relationship is trust. If a brand wants to build a relationship with a consumer, that consumer must be able to trust the brand.

An element of doubt in communications is not a good way to build trust.