Tag Archives: Apple

Best Back To School Campaigns, Part III: Bookstore Alternatives

Part III of our Best of Back to School marketing campaigns of 2010 dives into the changing world of college textbooks.  In recent years, numerous companies have sprung up offering alternatives to the notoriously expensive college bookstore.  This year, I was particularly impressive by two such companies – Coursesmart and Chegg.

Through its sleek, easy-to-use website, Coursesmart offers an ever-growing selection of “e-textbooks” – electronic versions of the traditional print texts that can be read on desktops, laptops, iPads and even iPhones.  Coursesmart’s e-textbooks give the reader the ability to highlight sections, take notes in the margins, print selected pages and cut and paste selections.  Now there is no need to carry around tons of heavy books – you can keep them all on our laptop, read for easy access with just one click.

I was particularly impressed by Coursesmart’s synergy with Apple products.  Being able to access textbooks from an iPhone is the ultimate in transportable texts.  Furthermore, the iPad opens the door to more interactive and impactful textbooks.  (See image above for an example of a Coursesmart text viewed on a iPad.)  The Wall Street Journal discussed the iPad and Coursesmart’s innovative e-texts in a recent article, stating that the new device makes book publishers “eager to exploit its color, video, and touch-screen capabilities.”  I, for one, would love to test drive this exciting new technology.

Of course, this new technology comes with a big price tag.  Coursesmart’s e-textbooks, while less expensive than print versions, can still run in the $100 range.  And then there’s the iPad, priced at $499 – a very pricey item to pile on top of an already expensive back to school season.  Another textbook innovator, Chegg, combines new and old technology to offer a more affordable alternative.

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And Then There Were None

andthentherewasnoneWe were heading into Labor Day Weekend. It was the time to kick back, enjoy the last days of summer. Whatever would have possessed me?  It’s not like I’ve been a software-upgrade trailblazer before, but last week something indescribeable took hold. “Upgrade to Snow Leopard,” it called out to me.

And so, a few days after Apple launched Snow Leopard. the upgrade which promised being the “most advanced operating system, finely tuned from installation to shutdown” I loaded the cd into my computer and pressed install. Snow Leopard apparently had other plans.  “Wreak havoc” on her computer it commanded.

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Brand Loyalty: Truth or Fable

What does it take to be loyal to a brand– a product, service or company? I’ve been thinking about writing this post about a company and product you may have heard of—Apple, and their new MacBook Pro, but initially I was afraid it might sound too–well, evangelical.

I could write about how beautiful the MacBook Pro is, if you also happen to find solid aluminum attractive.  Or the brilliant LED-backlit display.  The smooth glass multi-touch trackpad–not too shabby, either.  Or, how happy I am to have a computer which no longer crashes a few times a day.  These are all fine, and quite GOOD.

My loyalty however, comes from my customer experiences with Apple.  I should make it clear upfront that I’m one of those people who happens to like computers and learning new features, ways to do things, and in this case, a whole new operating system.  (My first Mac since the SE/30!)  Needless to say, I was a great candidate for the One to One personal training programs. A great concept, and well worth it, if you intend to follow through and use them. But that’s only part of it.

You see, what has spoken to me most, is the greeting I receive when I walk through the door of the Apple Store.  The friendliness of the staff, and their excitement and respect for the products they’re demoing for you.  But here’s where Apple really obtained my loyalty–follow-up.  After purchasing the laptop, I received an email within 24 hours thanking me for my purchase.  And, not to hesitate to contact them if I have any difficulty.

Then I went to my first One to One training.  The trainer was great, met me where I was at.  At the end, he made sure I signed up for the next training.  Less then 24 hours later,  I received another email from Apple, “Tell us about your session, we’d appreciate your feedback, let us know.”  The rest is history.  I’m a loyal fan.

Yesterday, while driving, I heard a very interesting interview on National Public Radio, with Martin Lindstrom, the author of Buyology: Truth and Lies About What We Buy.  I wasn’t too surprised when I heard Lindstrom use Apple as an example in his research of a brand which “inspires the same sense of devotion and loyalty in use, as provoked by faith or religion.” (I’ve added Buyology to my reading list–it sounds like a very interesting book.)

So when someone tells you “it’s all about the sale”—beware.  The sale is only a part of the equation.  The rest in my opinion, is how you treat the customer before and after the sale…that’s what makes a brand worthy of loyalty.

Oh, what’s that in my inbox?  Another email from concierge@apple.com reminding me of my next session.  Gotta go—but before I do, I’d love to hear what it takes for you to be loyal to a brand or product?  Or, what about your business or organization, what can they do to elicit devotion and loyalty?