Apple Event: one big mistake brands should avoid 

Common mistake brands should avoid: As the world grows increasingly digital, customer engagement should become a top priority, failure of which can be catastrophic to your brand

2019 September 10 Apple Event YouTube live streaming media invitation
September 10 #AppleEvent garnered 1.03 million mentions in total on social media

MARKETING CAN often feel like a daunting exercise when brands get into the habit of not involving customers in their marketing efforts. For big, trusted brands it’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that consistently engaging customers and putting them in the centre of their strategy is no longer as important.

During the widely watched Apple Event this past Tuesday, marketing and tech professionals alike got a taste of what exactly happens when brands insist on shoving sales pitches down customers’ throats, something which many have been guilty of in the advent of technology. 

A big moment marketing in the global tech calendar, Apple’s annual gathering means different things to different people. For the tech company, it’s an opportune time to not only showcase several of its groundbreaking innovations yet. It’s also the right time to reach and re-connect with a large audience of exciting loyal customers, all the while initiating far-reaching conversations that may well result in an incredible breed of new customers.

For every Apple fan, this was a moment none would dare want to miss, the unveiling of the long-awaited iPhone 11 range and many of its exciting new features. It’s no wonder the #AppleEvent (hashtag) resulted in over a billion social media mentions worldwide on the day. And this is where marketers come in; seizing the opportunity to learn from this magic (moment marketing) which while it may appear to have yielded great viral results, the same risk came with the potential for error. And the mistake was as far-reaching as the excitement on the day around what Apple termed the “most advance iPhone ever”.

Mistakes abound: ‘slofie’ angers tech fans

Likewise, with the announcement of the three new handsets – iPhone 11, 11 Pro and iP11 Pro Max – came a new feature coined ‘slofie’, a term that clearly didn’t sit well with many people on social media. Slow-motion selfies, or ‘slofies’, is a new iPhone 11 feature that allows one to take front-facing images in slow motion. According to the latest data gathered by the global media intelligence firm, Meltwater, on the day of the #AppleEvent, online ‘slofies’ mentions had a total social reach of 34.57M across YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Africa also led the conversations, with 57.89% of all news media coming from Nigeria, followed  by South Africa and Egypt at 10.53%.

While there was a natural intrigue around the newly coined term, many were quick to express how they simply weren’t a fan of the word and had no plans using it, with 56% of the social media mentions associated with ‘slofies’ branding it negative. By Thursday, September 12 (2019), that percentage increased to 89%. “With this data, perhaps Apple may need to reconsider wanting to make ‘slofies’ a popular term,” the report goes on to say. 

Lessons brands can learn from the Apple Event

For marketing professionals, the biggest lesson should be; what happens when an extremely popular brand gets too excited and fail to involve the lifeblood of their business – customers – when putting together an event of this magnitude? As this article by expert growth hacker, Dave Power sums it, when searching for the next big thing for your business, engagement with customers is greatly critical to its success.

This could be in the form of running an online contest or doing a survey asking customers to contribute to the creation and suggestion of a new logo, product features or new name. “Too many companies suffer from customer amnesia, as though they’ve forgotten how to have routine conversations with their customers (I’m not including selling situations). When it comes to new product development, these companies jump right to product design, assuming they know what customers need, and then ship the finished product as soon as possible?,” Power said.

 In a nutshell, making it a strategic priority to talk with customers before designing a new product and understanding what exactly makes them tick will not only insulate brands from unnecessary product launch failure or mishap, but point to service innovations and subsequently new sources of revenue. 

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