Sep 27, 2012

Experiences Outsell Facts: Apple vs. Samsung

Taglines don’t sell. Neither do elevator pitches, unique selling propositions, or feature-benefit claims. Why? They’re facts, and facts focus on the head not the heart.

The idea hit home for me this week as I watched Samsung’s latest attack ads against the iPhone 5.

(Can’t see the video? Watch here.)

Samsung delivers an amusingly biting attack on Apple ‘fan boys’ waiting in lines for technology they’ve “had for a while.” But as amusing as the ads are, they are misguided. They focus on the facts.

Feature to feature—who cares?

In a print campaign, Samsung shared a long list of features the iPhone 5 doesn’t have: NFC, Smart Stay, S-Beam, Turn Over To Mute, Removable Battery, and on-and-on. The Galaxy S-III is cram packed with features, no doubt about it. But does that matter?

Thousands of people lined up in front of Apple stores on September 21 to get their iPhone 5 on launch day. And that doesn’t even take into account the 5 million phones Apple sold in the first 3 days of the product announcement.

I was one of those Apple fan boys who eagerly ordered my iPhone 5 the moment I could. I was number 741 on the reservation system, and happily got my phone on launch day. I bought the phone sight unseen and didn’t even care about the spec sheet. It was an emotional buy, not a fact-driven one.

Sticky brands are based on experiences

Apple is an incredibly sticky brand, because they bake marketing into everything they do. All their customer touch points build upon each other. Again and again they demonstrate the company’s vision, their commitment to innovation and design, and their relationship with their customers.

Sweating the little details is how companies like Starbucks, Virgin and Apple rise above feature-benefit selling and create sticky brands. They don’t sell based on features, benefits or promotions. They sell based on creating highly crafted customer experiences that radiate throughout their products and services.

And this phenomena is not limited to big, Fortune 100 companies. Even small companies like Dropbox and MailChimp can create highly engaging brands with very committed customers, because they bake marketing into everything they do.

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