what creative brands can learn from apple's big itunes announcement

I went to apple.com yesterday, hoping to do my usual routine of building the biggest, baddest, most tricked out iMac, then closing the screen before adding it to my cart, only to see the following announcement:

“Tomorrow is just another day. That you’ll never forget. Check back here tomorrow for an exciting announcement from iTunes.”

It sent the media into a frenzy! If you missed it, check out this Billboard.com article about the big, hairy iTunes announcement.

And as much as I love Apple, my first thought was “They are such anticipation whores.”

*lightbulb* Then I immediately thought about you guys, because I’m thoughtful like that.

I thought about titling this blog post “How to be an anticipation whore like Apple.” or What  creative brands can learn from prostitutes and pimps, part two” or “Vampire Diaries: Episode 72: Get you really excited then make you wait another week for the truth to be revealed”…but in the end, I decided I would use something the southern belle in me could live with. bleh.

Apple is great for building anticipation.

Am I the only one who thinks the “leaked” iPhone 4 fiasco was orchestrated by Apple? Just saying. It could have been.

My point is, creative brands can learn a lot from Apple about building anticipation for a product, service or even a FREE offering.

Steve Jobs doesn’t strike me as the kind of man who wakes up one morning and says “Hey, I think I want to make an iTunes announcement tomorrow. Somebody put some BS on the website about it.” Yeahhhh no.

I’m sure they had a well thought out plan for the product and the delivery of that product. And you better bet your bottom dollar that the plan included an anticipation strategy. They probably called it a, uh, marketing strategy or something lame like that though.

So here’s an assignment for you creative brands who are thinking about launching a new product or service, or who may have a new book coming out, or anything upcoming that you can build anticipation about.

Develop an anticipation plan!

It’s not enough to copy Apple and paste a big sign on your website that basically says “We have this really cool thing coming soon and you’d be an idiot if you didn’t come back tomorrow and check it out. (Man, our traffic for tomorrow is going to be wicked!)” because, really, only Apple could make an arrogantly brilliant move like that and it actually work.

But you can do a few things to ease yourself into being an anticipation whore:

1. Plan your anticipation strategy. When will the product/service be delivered? Now, back-back-back it up. When should you start promoting it? Give it enough time to build anticipation, but not enough time that people will forget about it.

2. Get excited about your product BEFORE you write a word of copy. Seriously, people. Sip your own kool-aid. You think Steve Jobs says “It’s *shrug* OK.” about the new Macbook Air?? If you can’t get excited about your own new offering, how can other people?

3. Execute your anticipation strategy. In other words: promote your product consistently until the “launch”– but not annoyingly so. Do I know the proper annoyance threshold? If I did, would I have written a post about learning business practices from prostitutes? Probably not.

4. Deliver an awesome product. If you ever want people to listen to anything you say ever again, you BETTER deliver on that anticipation or be prepared to be stoned, or shunned or just written-off as bullshit. One of the three.

I sincerely hope this helps someone gain their anticipation whore badge.

Me? I’m off to camp out on my couch and wait until Steve Jobs makes his announcement, because that’s how I roll.

You? You can sign up for my newsfeed, because tomorrow, on the Creativity Loft blog. may or may not be a day you’ll ever forget.

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