11/13/2010

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Finally... Calling the iPhone AT&T Partnership Like It Is .. or Thank you, T-Mobile For Giving Us a Voice When Apple announced the release of the first iPhone over three years ago we were initially psyched and immediately cleared our calendars to join the throngs of people who waited in line on June 29, 2007 - obviously just as psyched as were were. After all, when a company known for radical innovation, nimbleness and unprecedented coolness announces a new cell phone, we all knew that, being true to their brand character, it had to be something worth the wait.<br /> <br /> Yes, our skepticism was piqued when we heard we needed to use AT&amp;T to power the phone, but our excitement was too great to deter us. Concluding the AT&amp;T partnership to be a bad brand fit (known for its monopoly-quality service, overly cumbersome size and poor service record), we excused the decision for the latitude it provided Apple in the phone's development.<br /> <br /> The phone lived up to its hype. My first iPhone revolutionized my lifestyle. Enabling full email capability (attachments and all) was enough by itself -- not to mention the apps that bring great power and anytime/anywhere knowledge to my fingertips. I was so happy with the phone that it took me a long while to admit how unhappy I was with the service. To this day, I do not make work calls from my iPhone between my office and my house - a route that has turned into a land mind of disconnects.<br /> <br /> This is why I was so happy to see the new :30 second spot launched by T-Mobile yesterday characterizing the iPhone with the 500 pound AT&amp;T gorilla on its back. And, doing so through with bold flair, employing the famous "I'm a PC" format that Apple used so successfully in its own competitive battles with pcs, made it that much more enjoyable.<br /> <br /> To get to the branding implications of all this, Apple has clearly displayed the result of partnerships that may make technical or operational sense, but fail to consider the impact that organizational values, culture and personality play in making partnerships convincing to the public. When we buy products and services, we are not only buying that product or service, we are buying the company, its values and the entire package that they represent. When innovative partners with monolithic, the results clash into something that T-Mobile is beautifully leveraging to its own advantage. Take a look and see for yourself. <object width="560" height="340" data="http://www.youtube.com/v/3KmfXupi9cg?fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /> <param name="src" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/3KmfXupi9cg?fs=1" /> <param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /> </object> .<br /> <br /> By Susan Waldman, Partner and Director of Strategic Services for ZilYen

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