What attracted these ersatz Microsoft aficionados?
Was it Microsoft’s new Surface 3 tablet, nicknamed the laptop killer? Surface is a powerful and versatile piece of gear for sure – and one I’ve thought seriously about buying. But with only a 2% share of the tablet market, which is dominated by Apple’s iPad, it hardly has the makings of a tech celebrity.
Or was it something else that attracted folks? Could it have been a performance by rapper Macklemore and pal Ryan Lewis? Could it have been the DJ on hand spinning the hits? Or the prizes? Or the million dollars worth of product donated to local charities?
It had to be the Surface! Or the slick new Microsoft store! Maybe even the magnetic attraction of the Microsoft name!
Now here’s a real surprise: It probably was all those things.
Microsoft gets credit for ginning up a successful event, but they’ve also upped the ante lately among tech buyers for having become “more trusted and essential across multiple generations,” according to Tracy Stokes of Forrester Research, as reported earlier this year by GeekWire. “The very ubiquity that perhaps renders it uncool turns out to also be its strength,” he says in the article (Study Shows Microsoft Outpacing Apple in Battle for Tech Consumer Mindshare), in which Forrester called the company a “trailblazer” in building its consumer brand.
Yes, Microsoft seems guilty of cranking up some artificial cool for their new store, the latest of 90 Microsoft retail outlets in operation – compared to around 250 U.S. stores for Apple and many more overseas. But at the same time, the Microsoft brand seems to have risen to greater prominence recently than I’d ever imagined – edging ever closer to cool, at least compared to the stodgy old Microsoft that’s been living inside my head.
Frankly, I thought the cool train had left the station for Microsoft and even snickered a bit to think that Microsoft had to resort to paying entertainers to draw a crowd. I was mostly wrong.
“An increased tablet presence would add to Microsoft's hip brand factor,” claimed the CNBC article about the store opening, “which often can be associated with Microsoft Xboxes.”
COmmunicate Your Cool.
The worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. I’d call that “corporate relaxed.”
In contrast, here’s Apple’s boilerplate:
Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.
Apple's boilerplate is much longer, but it’s also filled to overflowing with what I call Marketable Truth©.
Time and again Apple has rocked the world with its innovative products. And while many Windows-based devices may be equally as capable (in a different way), Apple has owned the mindshare with their Macs, iPhones and iPads. But that’s changing … which is increasingly good news for Microsoft.
The truth is out there. Now all they’ve got to do is claim it.
TakeAway: When cool comes your way, communicate it for all you’re worth – in the context of product benefits, of course.
Tags: Microsoft, Surface, Surface 3, Windows, Apple, Apple store, iPad, Mac, iPhone
Content © by Brian E. Faulkner. Marketable Truth © by Brian E. Faulkner
About Brian Faulkner:
Brian also is a three-time Emmy award winning Public Television writer and narrator of UNC-TV’s popular Our State magazine series, on the air since 2003.