“Rather than take on expensive, gargantuan projects like the 787 Dreamliner, which CEO Jim McNerney characterized as ‘moon shots,’ he said he wants Boeing ‘to be more like Apple’ with its carefully planned development strategies on successful product launches.”~ The Street
Start At The Top
Apple has traditionally used “stories” to communicate Mission and Vision statements to the world. These statements are specific, achievable and realistic. The words are simple and easy to understand. Everyone knows what Apple means when it says “high quality” or “low cost” or “easy to use” in reference to Apple products. Apple’s statements hone in on “products” and “customers”. Both employees and business partners get it and without asking the question: What do you mean by….?
- Mention products and customers
- Keep it simple
- Be realistic
- Tell it like it can be done by anyone
- Do it like it can’t be done by anyone
Build Products Like it’s The Only ONE
Apple is master of design. Design thinking rules the culture regardless of function. New product ideas become an internal ‘start-up’ and report directly to executive team on progress. A detailed product development plan is created based on Apple New Product Process that lays out stages, responsible people, and when each stage is to be completed. Exec Team reviews progress every Monday on each of the new products. The “EPM mafia” is engaged. This includes an engineering program manager and a global supply manager who work together to produce a product with ‘what is best for the product’ in mind. Once built, the product is tested. If it is not ‘right’, it is sent through the production process again. Each iteration of product is reviewed by Exec Team and commented on. If it is unsatisfactory…it is sent back for redesign and production. Packaging is designed and tested after production cycle is complete. ‘Rules of the Road’ provide a framework for every stage of release of the product to the public. More info available in Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired–and Secretive–Company Really Works by Adam Lashinsky.
An overarching competitive advantage Apple retains that others in the industry have not been able to replicate is CULTURE OF LOYALTY. Interestingly enough, this loyalty permeates not only Apple’s employees but also its customers. This is why Apple customers line up to buy new products. The law of Scarcity working overtime. (Check out today’s #AppleLive event line up)
- Don’t let realities like costs hold design back
- Exec team must be directly involved
- Prototype and test, repeat
- Be physically there on the production floor for every prototype
- Inspire Loyalty from managers and employees
Taking New Product to Customers
Product launch is not a function at Apple, it is a company wide event that unfolds on Apple fans and bystanders alike. It is the best example of “Social Proof” enabled by a company. Many tech companies including Microsoft and Alibaba now mimic Apple’s product launch. And it works!
Rumours also play an important role in spreading news before it actually happens. Recently Apple has been in the news about devices that will enable Healthy Living. And the news is so well permeated in the media that the rumours alone fuelled a tech surge in the markets.
- Build a cult following for your products
- Spread rumours about what you are working on
- Have a party at new product launch!
Kiran Sohi’s career has focused on leading companies to success by enabling strategic decision making. While her passion is Strategic Planning, her work spans a number of corporate strategy disciplines including IT, marketing, finance and operations.
Prior to finding OPEN WRX Consulting, Kiran was a Strategic Planning consultant at CIBC and Business Consultant at Innovapost, where her clients included Canada Post and Purolator. She also had the pleasure of working as a Digital Strategist for NBA, Kraft, Samsung and Travelex.
Visit openwrxconsulting.com for more info.