Social media is a powerful force, and it's generally a very good thing for everyone. But when Twitter was at its peak, there were suggestions that Apple should acquire Twitter for marketing purposes. Some reports even said Apple tried. But the truth is that companies are rediscovering the value of a clear, inspiring, one-way video story directed towards customers that sidesteps the noise of social media. Apple has known this all along.
Apple's "Not much has changed" ad.
The article that got me thinking about all this is my showcase article of the week by Myles Udland. "The #hashtag is a false idol." Amongst the many things the essay addresses is the modern futility of thinking that social media can further the goals of a corporation. Mr. Udland writes:
A brand can look "cool" or "quirky" or whatever sort of persona they want to adopt if they use social media in a deliberate fashion. But when companies or governments use hashtags to interact with their customers or whatever on Twitter, the end result will assuredly be the definition of a bumbling corporate initiative gone horribly wrong.
In conversations with folks at a number of companies over the last few years it has been made clear that a corporate social media account is more or less a nightmare. Almost all messages out of all accounts must be cleared by some sort of compliance-like entity, which renders the spontaneity of social media all but moot for major brands.
The fluidity of communication channels used by young people changes more quickly than any company can cope with. The author goes on to tell the story of a colleague (Maya Kosoff) who spent some time with teenagers over the Thanksgiving holiday. The observations are summarized here:
- Facebook is necessary, perhaps like AIM was for someone around my age:
- Instagram is still popular but has major competition from VSCOcam
- Twitter is dead in the water. (Because of the many mistakes the company has made.)
The Video Story
In contrast to the ebb and flow of social media, there remains the enduring prospect of the awe inspiring visual story that connects with the customer's emotions and hopes.
Apple has always engaged in that art form and is pouring on the coals now with its "Not much has changed" series of iPhone 6s video ads. Here's one that I like. There are more.
Apple isn't the only company that recognizes the value to combining great video with a compelling story and charming special effects to engage the viewer without distraction. Recently I've seen two other very good TV ads that do that.
The Belsomra ad has some elements that are upsetting, according to one critic, but there's no doubt that its visuals are captivating and the production values are to be admired.
We are immersed in a world of chatter and conflicting opinions, with many shouting in order to gain attention. But time and experience has shown that if a company, like Apple. has a deliverable vision that can be brilliantly instantiated in a mesmerizing video ad that speaks to the needs of the customer, the message gets though and the brand is crisply defined. For all you who aspire to a career in marketing, take note.
This goes a long way towards explaining why Apple doesn't have a major presence on Twitter and other social media. It's a Good Thing™.
Next: The tech News Debris for the Week of November 30th. Robots who just say "no."