Posts in Branding, Business, Marketing, Tech

  • Learned

Apple’s Better, Special, Different

Watching the Apple keynote this week – and reading this – all highlighted the importance of starting with the product to drive differentiation. Everything Apple does is about difference – not just to others in the market but to what preceded it.

Prices then go up over time and are a result of innovation.

As Tim Cook said in his interview with BusinessWeek:

“We never had an objective to sell a low-cost phone,” says Cook. “Our primary objective is to sell a great phone and provide a great experience, and we figured out a way to do it at a lower cost.”

And critically, the product and pricing are optimised for a specific market – where the Apple ecosystem is most vital – America. As Ben demonstrates well:

The Apple ecosystem is of most value in the American markets first, the European markets next, and the Asian-style markets last … therefore, it’s very rational for Apple to optimise its pricing for the American-style markets, and the most logical price is $550/$99.

What Ben is getting at in all of this is a set of marketing fundamentals I see most marketers, miss:

  1. Price to product differentiation – not just relative to market but also prior product instantiations. Don’t price solely to category entry point or pricing dynamics.
  2. Pricing must exist in the context of broader market dynamics in most cases, but not all. There is little logic to the iPhone Pro pricing relative to other competing products. It is priced on its merits as a “luxury” device. Pro is always the misnomer in tech – it’s code for luxury.
  3. Pricing substitution isn’t necessary – each Apple product is priced relative to the market and its brand effect. iPhones don’t sell for less than they are worth in the hope you will buy iPods and other services. There is no “hope” in Apple’s strategy.

Start with: product (innovation & differentiation), position, price. Not with price, the product, then position.

Effectively Apple’s brand power is the point of leverage and “strategy” insurance. The massive investment in the Apple brand creates the halo that protects pricing power and ensures demand. But without effective product innovation, priced and packaged to the core target market, the brand wouldn’t make the difference up.

Stratechery is a great read and well worth paying for.

  • Connect

Better Note Taking with Notion

TD’LR: You don’t need to pick one note-taking app, but you do need to choose your master app. Define a workflow and set rigour around it.

Angsty videos and medium posts on why folks selected a particular note-taking app mostly miss the real need – how to be productive, collaborate, and, well, forget less.

The answer is blindingly simple – take notes everywhere, anywhere, using anything. Just do it.

The tricks are:

  1. First: pick a master system – in my case, Notion – where all those thoughts and ideas can go to live.
  2. Second: define a simple workflow to get notes from wherever they were captured and into Notion. The tip here is to make it fast. So, I’ll drop a photo from a whiteboard into Notion rather than trying to recreate it.
  3. Third: establish a routine to get all your notes in one place. Every week I have a calendar block marked “download and clean” where everything goes into Notion. I even have a simple Notion checklist of everything I need to look at, from receipts buried in my bag to my notebook, Apple Photos and more.

So what about the notes capture? As I said, just do it.

Here are my big three:

  1. Old fashioned pen, paper and index cards. Scribble away, fuel that stationary fetish, and have fun. I use my iPhone to snag whiteboards, brainstorms and more.
  2. Use whatever digital app works best for you. Bear is an excellent app for catching notes on the go. Especially the voice capture on an Apple Watch. So, if I am driving home and recall something, I tap Bear on my phone and watch it automatically convert to a text note. Apple notes is OK but not great. But occasionally, I’ll sketch or punch a note in there.
  3. Notion is where everything goes and is shared. The point is not the storage in one place – that’s great and sometimes useful at a future date. The point is that through the process, I am creating secondary notes. So, I might capture notes from a team meeting that include a reference to check-in on headcount approvals – they sit in one Notion page for all my Day Notes. But I’ll also flow that action into my 1:1 Notes for the next meeting with our talent team. Equally important, Notion is the only place I share notes – so I have one place to collaborate from.

The underlying philosophy here is time to ingestion – the faster and more quickly you can capture a note, the more you’ll do it and the more productive you’ll be.

The leap in all this is the discipline and habit required. We’re defined by our routines and rituals. So for those struggling to do this, just do everything in Notion and work backwards.

  • Loved

Giving back to the Community

A great case study on how you can use Facebook to engage communities.

Commonwealth Bank Uses Facebook to Give Money Back to Community | The Financial Brand: Marketing Insights for Banks.

  • Learned

Absolute Huffer

Great to see the Huffer boyz getting some kudos for their work with Absolut. BTW… if you live in Auckland they have opened a cool new store in their offices. Just up Queen street.


ABSOLUT NZ Limited Edition

  • Loved

An Email Charter

This email charter – created by Chris over at TED — should be a key ingredient in every employee handbook, training program and best-practices guide. It’s brilliant – I’ll make a few adds over the next day but wanted to get this up:

Respect Recipients’ Time: This is the fundamental rule. As the message sender, the onus is on YOU to minimize the time your email gobbles at the other end — even if it means taking more time at your end before sending.

Be Easy to Process: This means:  crisp sentences, unambiguous questions, keep it short. If the email absolutely has to be longer than 100 words, make sure the first sentence is clear about the basic reason for writing.

Chose Clear Subject Lines: Here are some that don’t work:

  • Subject: Re: re: re: re
  • Subject:
  • Subject: Hello from me!
  • Subject: next week….
  • Subject: MY AMAZING NEW SHOW starts next week at the Vctory Theater at 113-86 Broad Lane, every night 8 PM 6/7–7/12
  • Subject: TED Partnership Proposal
  • Subject: Rescheduling today’s dinner with Sarah G.
  • Subject: Noon meeting cancelled (eom).
  • EOM means ‘end of message.’  It’s a fine gift to your recipient. They don’t have to spend the time actually opening the message.