SmartetSights Ep 003 - Apple’s iOS 9, #OITNB, Millennial News Consumption

This week marked Apple’s WWDC 2015 Conference with the keynote speech taking place on June 8th where Apple announced iOS 9, the updated operating system for iPhones and iPads.
Jun 12th, 2015

By Zachary Clark, Director of Business Development

Topic(s) Covered: SmarketSights

About SmarketSights

SmarketSights is a blog and podcast series created to discuss the latest industry happenings in marketing, advertising, and sales. We’ll uncover the deeper meaning behind the headlines and analyze what it means for real companies and their marketing, advertising, and sales efforts. SmarketSights will cover everything from Tech to Design to Sports and everything in between. Join us weekly for a new edition!

If you have a topic or question you’d like us to cover in SmarketSights, please feel free to email zclark@cowleyweb.com or comment below!

IOS 9 - WEBSITE DESIGN AND “COMING THIS FALL”

This week marked Apple’s WWDC 2015 Conference with the keynote speech taking place on June 8th where Apple announced iOS 9, the updated operating system for iPhones and iPads. Apple also introduced new Mac OS: El Capitan, new Apple Watch OS, Apple Music, and other information about its product lineup. iOS 9 brings some new and enhanced features to their handheld devices including a revamped “News” app (formerly Newstand), improved Notes, brand new “Mulitasking” (split screen capabilities on the iPad), loyalty cards via Apple Pay, Siri improvements, and more. These new features are available in a public beta of the OS, but will be finalized and ready “This Fall.”

What This Means for You:

Rather than focusing on the new tech features that iOS 9 brings, I’d like to look at how Apple rolls these software updates and announcements out. For one, they always make a huge fanfare about it and create such anticipation and buzz. Everything from their witty invitations to the teasers on the website, it’s all about making you salivate at the mouth for what’s to come. And as a marketer, I love it. Building hype and having an audience base excited around a product is such a powerful tool that Apple perfectly exploits. We should all take note and try to build anticipation around our own products and services. This doesn’t have to be through huge, elaborate events, but it can be through simple, well-worded teasers before the download of an ebook or a post on Social Media. Anyway you can build intrigue and excitement around something is key.

More importantly, though, and it’s something Apple has done so well for years, is keep things simple. Everything from design to imagery, it’s all about simplicity. It’s the approach they take with their software interfaces, and they also apply it to their marketing. Just look at the design of the iOS 9 preview page. The images are big, the text is readable, there aren’t huge chunks of copy, good use of icons, colors are vibrant, top-level information is there. For the most part, this is everything that every company and organization in the world should be doing: keeping it simple. Businesses have such a tendency to over-inundate someone with information (especially on the web and in print) instead of letting the power of simple messages/images do the talking and be the forefront. There is a time and place to be information heavy (for websites it’s on subpages when someone chooses to read/view more), but about 95% of the time, simple is the way to go. Many companies have so much trouble taking the jump to simplicity, but I can guarantee the waters are refreshing!

Apple’s designs, from their software to their marketing, is something I’ve always admired. They use such beautiful images and such witty headlines that it’s almost perfect. Every company needs to invest the resources in quality imagery/design and copywriting. Those are some of the foundations for solid marketing (but don’t forget about strategy either!).

However, as much as I applaud Apple for their design work, I will say that I hate (yes, hate!) how they use the phrase “Coming this Fall.” I understand why they do it because it keeps the mystery alive of when something will actually come out, and it gives them some leeway with finalizing everything for a public release. But, as a member of the audience on this one, it’s terrible. There is so much excitement built around these things and you’re itching to be able to use these new features, but then there’s the let down of not knowing when you can. It begs the question, “Why did I get excited in the first place?” Yes, you can sign up for the public betas and experience the features sooner, but it’s just that, a beta. It’s not the finished product you were promised.

As marketers, we need to be weary of building so much excitement and then letting someone down. When you blanket the release of something with “Coming this Fall” when you built so much hype around it already, that gives the user a bit of a bad taste in their mouth. Especially when “Fall” could be months away.

APPLE’S “NEWS” FOR PUBLISHERS 

Part of the iOS 9 update will be a revamped “News” section for the iPhone and iPad. It will look somewhat like a mashup of Flipboard and Google News. Major news publishers such as the Conde Nast companies have already signed on to stream their news stories. Apple’s News takes enhanced RSS feeds and displays it to the user. The more someone uses the app, the more it’s supposed to become personalized. Individual publishers, such as those with a blog, will also be able to submit their content to be displayed.

What this Means for You:

Many business have jumped on the blogging train by now to produce content on a somewhat consistent basis. What Apple’s News app will allow is for this content to be pushed across yet another platform to a possible reader. So, if your company has a blog and you’d like to submit it to Apple, you can. This is still something very early and new to the market and it remains to be seen how organizations will utilize this, if at all. But, if you’re the type of company to provide industry news, tips, and advice fairly consistently, then this could be a great resource. Here is a link to some more information about how to become a publisher on the system.

ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK SURPRISE RELEASE

The Netflix original series, Orange is the New Black (OITNB), had set to release Season 3 at 3am EST Friday morning (June 12th), but in a surprise move at their “Orange Con” fan convention Thursday they announced that the series would be available 6 hours early at 9pm EST. Within minutes OITNB was trending on Twitter and fans were rejoicing.

What This Means for You:

Just a few paragraphs ago we talked about Apple and their knack for building hype around something. OITNB was doing the same thing with their fan convention and they had the set release date/time for the new season, so people were waiting for it and loyal fans were following the information coming out of “Orange Con.” For the most part, many of OITNB fans are on social media and look at their feeds quite often. So, when the show announced the episodes would be released early, it’s no wonder that the world basically blew up over it.

This was a PR grand slam and is a great example of getting extra attention on something already noteworthy. What was the harm in releasing already taped episodes a measly 6 hours early? We see this in the music industry a lot when an album “accidently leaks,” but we don’t see this in PR enough. We don’t see an organization willing to give away a little something extra to make the story blow up in a positive way. Giving just a little (in this case 6 hours of time) can have a momentous impact on the coverage you get in PR.

PEW RESEARCH STUDY ON POLITICAL NEWS CONSUMPTION HABITS

The Pew Research Center released a study on “Millennials and Political News” earlier this month and found that 61% of Millennials (persons age 18-33) get their political news from Facebook. 60% of Baby Boomers, Pew found, get their information from Local TV News. Sources like CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox News were also popular among both generations. The study also found that interest in politics at a young age isn’t just “this generation’s” problem. There has been a lower interest at the 18-29 age level (compared to older groups) for the past 20 years.

What This Means for You:

Strip away the fact that this research is correlated with Politics and look at the bigger picture this data is telling us. The younger generation (Millennials) are getting their information and news from Social Media. This is something that we’ve already seen, but this Pew Research study might serve as a confirmation of where we’re headed as a society.

So, as marketers, we need to realize that if we are to reach the younger generation through advertising, we’ll need to take a digital approach. Don’t discount other forms of marketing, though. Traditional TV is still strong and digital has its pitfalls, but when marketing you need to put your message in front of the consumer where they’re spending time, and right now that is in front of a computer/smartphone screen.

CLOSING THOUGHTS:

Full disclosure on anything Apple related here. I am a huge Apple fan/user, but I try to remain completely objective when talking about them. Apple has been so late to the game on a lot of their iOS 9 features such as split screens and picture-in-picture for video. Android and Microsoft systems have been doing these things for years, but Apple has a way of being late to a party, but yet still being the life of it!

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