The Rebuilding of a Brand: The Possibilites are Endless
I dropped by the Apple Store in NYC after doing a program for Microsoft. I know… seems strange and almost unethical. It was research. I didn’t buy anything, but I wanted to see what all the buzz was about. As a partner to Microsoft, I asked myself, “What could I do to provide leadership and teambuilding programs for Microsoft that could support the rebirth of the Microsoft brand and the cutting edge culture that was once the norm for them?”
I walked into a store filled with almost 1,000 shoppers acting like it was the closing bell on Wall Street. Over 900 employees keep the store buzzing 24 hours a day, never closing! I was shocked at the brand, the culture and the emotion of the customer. One dominant thought filled my head, “we do judge a book by its cover”. The Apple cover is really cool and has the attention of the world. The vibe, the look, the image and emotional experience are almost overwhelming. Real I.T. geeks compare Apple users to a person that sees “50 shades of gray” as a well-written novel. Most of us don’t use our computers to their potential. The true techno person can tell you all the reasons the Microsoft platform is better, but I think the masses see it for the cover and the emotion, “buying an Apple product will make me cool.”
Kids have taken the gateway drug of the iPod and seem like “Apple” zombies when presented with anything that has an “Apple” on it, or an “I” in front of it. I could feel the branding sinking into my bones. I needed to get out of there fast or one of the roving sales people might convince me that I could be cool with just the swipe of my credit card on their iPhone. I extracted myself out of the store in the circular glass elevator that seemed to teleport me back to reality. They did it again. Not only did they create the tablet, but they also created a customer experience to match the brand. I feel more passionate than ever to support the leadership and training teams that have sunk their teeth into rebuilding the Microsoft brand, the same way the Apple brand came back from the dead in the late 90′s. I know they can do it and I am proud to accept the challenge with them.