Can Microsoft Be Cool?: How uniqueness is important


Apple has been bugging Microsoft forever.
And finally Microsoft takes the bait.
Yup, it’s bait!

They fight back with an ad that looks remarkably like Apple.
Microsoft tries to be cool.

And yet, Microsoft can never be cool.
This isn’t a stupid ad issue. And who fights whom. It’s a branding issue.

If you own a space in the customer’s brain, then that’s the space you own. You can look at Macs any side up, and they represent ‘cool’ or ‘hip’ or ‘trendy.’

That’s their brand.
That’s their advertising.
That’s who they’ve projected themselves to be, and the consumer and paying customers have bought into the cool image.

Ok so what does PC stand for? PC doesn’t stand for cool. But PC stands for the ‘ability to tweak stuff.’ I’ve owned PCs for twenty years. And I can tell you that PCs are tweakable. There’s loads of hardware and software ‘tweakability’ for PCs. Macs aren’t like that at all (and I have to say I love my Mac more than my PC, but it drives me crazy often enough).

On a PC, I can find software to do what I struggle to do with a Mac.
For example, Macs will put in Matsushita drives that won’t let me play legal DVDs. And trying to find software that allows me to make my DVDs region-free is a nightmare. So I switched to the PC. Created a region-free disc, disc image…the works!

With a Mac, I can’t put in more hard disk space. And Apple decides if I need a Blu-ray or not. And so it’s very ‘un-tweakable.’

The word for PC is ‘tweak.’

No matter which way you look at a PC, their branding stands for ‘tweakability.’
The Mac on the other hand stands for ‘cool’. I can do cooler presentations on the Mac, than I can do on a PC, and believe me, I’m very, very capable of doing top quality presentations and delivering them. And so there are cool things I can do with my Mac.

What I’m saying is that I use both PCs and Macs. I have four PCs. And one Mac. And trying to convince me that a PC is cool, is a waste of Windows’ time.

Understand your brand’s uniqueness
PC= ‘Tweakable’.
Mac= Cooooool.

Then use those advantages to dominate your market.

See the silly videos below. Apple has it right. Microsoft has it wrong.

Sushi, is sushi, is sushi…right?

So how does a sushi company stand out in an increasingly crowded sushi marketplace? The sushi company simply creates, a point of difference; a uniqueness. So is it the strange name of St.Pierre’s odd enough to stand out? Apparently not. But what does make St.Pierre’s unique, is their ingredients.

Notice how every ingredient seems to be absolutely authentic. The word that St.Pierre’s seems to own is ‘authentic.’ Their nori, their wasabi, as well as the pickled ginger seems to be coming from some hallowed Japanese location. Even the soya sauce seems to  be authentic.

So yeah, they’ve done a great job of creating uniqueness
But that’s not the point of this post. Creating uniqueness is fine, but if you don’t propagate uniqueness, you’re doing diddly-squat. So what does St.Pierre’s do? They put this information on every paper napkin that’s handed out with a box of sushi.

Every napkin tells the same story. Time and time again.

And so every time you eat another bunch of wasabi-laden sushi rolls, you’re reminded about their uniqueness.

And their authenticity.

How Apple MacBook Air clearly defines the ‘problem’

So what’s super-unique about the Macbook Air?
It’s the ‘world’s thinnest notebook.’

And the advertisement very clearly defines the problem with a simple, arresting display.
Defining the problem needn’t be complex. If you are clear about the problem you’re solving, then it’s just a matter of props to get the message across.

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The Brain Audit Version 3.2: Releasing on July 1, 2008. Watch this space for details.