Unless you’ve been on an island getaway (lucky you if you have) you will know about the recent Apple launch event, where the iPad Pro was released to market, as well as a stack of additional products and features.
Since the launch of the Apple iPhone in 2007, tech launch events like those hosted by Apple have become a big deal in the consumer electronics industry. Today all the major players have their launch events, from Google to Samsung to Windows.
Over the last few years I’ve been intrigued by the question ‘what makes these launches so successful’?
Of all the companies in the world, in my opinion Apple has become the most successful at creating a dramatic launch. This single company has truly set the benchmark for this style of events, creating excitement and suspense at an international level for the launch of its products.
In this post we take a look at the stages and emotions we go through in a successful launch event. While these are all important, #4 to #7 are key for history-making events. When any company can master all 7 it is a truly a remarkable event.
Triggered at the moment we realise a launch event will happen at some point in the future, we instantly start speculating about what may be released. Whether it’s by reading an article online or hearing news of an upcoming event on the radio, we know there’s a time on the not-too-distant horizon when the launch event will happen.
# 2 Anticipation:
Anticipation is heightened the closer we get to the event. We’re open to market rumours and buzz. By the time the event comes around we have a laundry list of products and features we think are likely to be released.
This phase occurs at the event itself. The most successful launch events get us to see the problem with fresh eyes. Often it is a problem that we have all come to live with. And when the problem is ‘told well’, we all say to ourselves “this is actually a problem and I’m amazed I didn’t see that before” and “you’re right, something needs to change”.
This is the stage when we’re told the problem has been solved. “Say what?!” It’s a powerful moment. We’ve just come to realise (in the proceeding step) that this is actually a big problem. We’ve also realised that many others have tried to solve the problem and have failed. And at this point we’re told that the problem will be solved! Stop Press! How? Can it be possible? It’s too hard to believe….
Then we are shown the magic! We are shown the real life proof that the problem which could not previously be solved, has actually been solved. Our disbelief starts to show some cracks. We try to hold it together. Alas, at this point we’re shown not only how the problem has been solved, but how ridiculously simple they’ve made it, a far cry from the debacle that we knew previously. OMG! That’s incredible! Of course once we have been shown the magic, we now all want the magic. Please…please….give us some of the magic
#6 Hands On (an optional step):
This does not always happen at every launch event. Here people are able to see and experience the magic first hand. Real life people. It shows that the magic shown on the stage was not ‘smoke and mirrors’. Real people…yes real people…are able to use the products we were shown on stage. They can take photos and record snippets and do interviews. The magic really exists!
#7 Reward / Gratification:
After a little more anticipation, we too can have the magic. It’s available in stores. We can hold it in our hands. We can take it home. We can sit on the couch and experience it for ourselves. Because that is true magic after all…not something that is only for the magician, but which is there for anyone, man or woman, aged or infant.
When all is said an done, it is also important to establish consistency for launch events. This isn’t really a stage we go through, but it is a promise made to customers by the most successful companies.
Consistency is the reason why the biggest tech companies in the world release over the September to October period. It is the promise of consistency that creates a credible offering for brands, and gives customers a clear idea what they can expect and when (year after year after year). Beyond customers, consistency has also become an important signal to investors, and its not unusual for share prices to jump before or after the news of a big event.
What do you think? What other stages do you think make a successful launch event? It would be great to share your view by leaving a comment.