In recent days, there have been two news hotspots in the tech field related to Apple:
First, Microsoft's stock market value exceeded $100 billion, even surpassing Apple and Amazon, and returning to the top of the world.
Second, Apple released the list of 200 major suppliers in 2019. Mainland China + Hong Kong accounted for 40 of them, surpassing Japan (39) for the first time. In particular, among the 807 core manufacturing plants in the world in 2019, 383 were in mainland China, accounting for 47.46%.
The iPhone and Mac computers have limited innovation, sales stagflation, and manufacturing and market segments are more dependent on China. Apple seems to be facing a major change.
Here, I would like to revisit the rise of Apple, and reflect on the important factors that people have not discovered or paid attention to in the past.
The fate of Jobs and Apple can be divided into three phases:
The first phase was from the creation of Apple, Apple Computer occupied the PC market, and founder Jobs was driven away by Apple's board of directors.
In the second stage, Jobs made a second venture, and acquired the Pixar Animation Studio ("Nemo", "Dream of the Dream" and other classic works were born.
In the third stage, Jobs returned to Apple and led Apple to return to the peak.
There is a key factor in this process - geek, which has not received any special attention.
Geek is a kind of “dead loyal fans” who have great enthusiasm for new technologies and new products, and at the same time can tolerate all kinds of flaws in the initial stage of technology products, guiding the iterative evolution of technology products and evolving into maturity.
The geek group highly supports their opinion leaders (KOL), such as Jobs, Musk, etc., and many innovative products of Apple and Tesla were first brought to this group of "dead loyal fans."
It can even be argued that this group of geeks, this group of "dead loyal fans" catalyzed some great technology companies.
It is better to see the subtle changes of many things by wearing a lot of superficial phenomena. Here, I would like to talk about the profound changes that are taking place in the field of science and technology through this subtle situation faced by Apple based on this new perspective.
What is the core password of Microsoft and Apple’s second rise?
Any Internet company, any technology product, there are 100 users who love you very much, far better than 10,000 users who think you are not bad.
This is the key to the rise of all sunset companies.
Microsoft and Apple, both of which were sunset companies, were able to achieve "second rise" and mastered a common core password.
Apple's founder, Steve Jobs, was driven away by the board when he was 30. After drifting for 11 years, he was asked to come back to rescue Apple near the cliff.
At the time, Apple was a computer company. There were multiple versions of the Mac computer series. Each version had multiple numbers, and it was very mediocre and the sales volume went down. Jobs had no other way but cut 90%. Product line.
It is not to say that if you focus on and focus on the core products, you will be able to reverse the defeat. The key that Jobs found is KOL.
Apple introduced the iPod music player in 2001, targeting 200 or so media opinion leaders (here there are journalists, movie stars, columnists, etc.) who appreciate the taste and spread energy, which translates into " The right to speak and word of mouth, quickly pushed the iPod to the mass market.
Music and online games are very similar, and naturally have the ability to make users addicted. This is an opportunity for KOL to gain space.
After the success of the iPod, Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007 based on the iPod, which directly led to the reshuffle of the mobile phone market.
2001 is the starting point for Apple to regain its vitality, but it is a peak of Microsoft. After the peak, it is all downhill.
Microsoft's market capitalization reached a maximum of $600 billion, Bill Gates has just retired, and Steve Ballmer has taken over Microsoft.
In the 13 years since then, Microsoft's stock market value has not increased, and in the mobile Internet-driven innovation wave, Microsoft has little to do.
In February 2014, Satya Nadella began to take over the Microsoft company that had fallen into a trough. In the past, Microsoft was only seen as a Windows operating system company, mainly for the mass PC users, and Windows upgrade has been very difficult, consumes extremely large long-term research and development investment, and it is difficult to bring about a significant improvement in user experience.
Nadella will completely shift its focus to enterprise-level applications, and it is not to say that if your business turns, enterprise users will definitely buy it.
Microsoft focused on about 200 of the most vocal and persuasive CTOs (CTOs). They played the role of persuasion of opinion leaders (KOL), first convincing their companies, then more peers, and the scope of application continued. Expanding, such as cloud computing, Microsoft Dynamics' ERP system, as well as various solutions, consulting services, etc., has gradually become an indispensable and highly competitive enterprise-level application, expanding a large number of new territories.
KOL was able to play a key "commercial leverage" behind the group of "dead loyal fans."
1% diehard fans, determine the commercial value of a brand
Including technology companies such as Apple and Tesla, not only technology, but often, technology is even in line with marketing strategies.
Jobs has a starting point for selling Apple products, which is "only one core message."
For example, when Jobs released the Macbook Air laptop in 2008, he repeatedly mentioned a concept, "The world's thinnest notebook."
Frontier research in brain science has shown that more than 97% of people's memories are forgotten in a month. What is really left is "materialized information", which is "a concrete image that has been processed by 'brain imaging."
"Only conveying a core message" is actually a marketing strategy of "Assassin level, killer level". Jobs is not afraid of the problem of simultaneous detonation.
Steve Jobs has repeatedly repeated this core message, such as saying "What is Macbook Air? In one sentence, the world's thinnest laptop."
In an interview with the TV station, "This is the Macbook Air, which is the thinnest laptop in the world." In Apple's official press release, "We have created the world's thinnest laptop," and the official The website highlights "Macbook Air, the world's thinnest laptop"...
At the same time of "communicating the core information", it will also ignite the problem - for example, the first generation of Macbook Air has many problems, the operation speed is very slow, the heat dissipation is not good, after all, it is too thin.
Before these issues are overcome one by one, the "core information" must be conveyed, and the unique user experience that is thin and dexterous must be embedded in the memory of the public.
The most obvious of these is that the first and second generation Macbook Air is not a mass product. Instead of advertising on a large scale, these products are “a toy of some high-end users (mainly die-dead fans)”. At this time, Apple chose to cooperate with KOL to spread the design concepts and special experiences that Macbook Air showed, rather than reliable practical use.
This is to give time to the iteration and improvement of innovative products. After the products are really mature, Apple Macbook Air can not only compete with Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard and Dell in sales, but the high-end image is also becoming more and more stable.
Any early stage technology products must have various flaws in many aspects. Ordinary users cannot tolerate these details. Only enthusiasts, technology controllers or "dead loyal fans" users will be reluctant to use the "as a toy" mentality. accept.
This "尴尬" stage is that any innovative technology products can't be circumvented. You must let some users (dead loyal fans) try, feedback user information, guide product evolution, iteration, and make it truly mature. The brand strategy at this stage is basically centered on KOL and can only target small-scale "dead loyal fans."
This is also the case with Tesla cars at this stage.
Have you seen Tesla advertising? I dare say absolutely no. The Tesla brand can only be transmitted by KOL, and Elon Musk is the biggest KOL.
For a long time, Tesla only conveyed a core message - autopilot, but autopilot technology still needs time to improve. Tesla is mainly sold as an electronic product.
Why is Tesla not advertising?
First, the production capacity of Tesla electric vehicles is insufficient. The current annual output is only 1/20 of Toyota and BMW. Second, Tesla electric vehicles are not fully mature, and only a small number of “dead fans” can be targeted through KOL. Because "Dead loyal fans" are more tolerant of some products, feel the thrill of innovative technology.
Apple, Tesla and Xiaomi truly understand the value of “dead loyal fans”. Through KOL’s “dead loyal fans”, you can accompany you through “from innovative products, innovative business models to mature products and mature business models”. The whole adventure, iterative process.
Why are the early discoverers of new technology and new business?
At present, the outside world is beginning to look at Apple, which seems to be an Apple company, no matter how much it costs to develop "black technology", it is also difficult to stimulate the user's dopamine, so that it produces a fresh feeling of bright eyes.
Apple products are still so high-end (high price), and no innovation point seems to be worth the money. As a result, iPhone and Mac computers have apparently lost sales.
However, the outside world did not pay much attention to two very important information:
First, CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly stressed: "Apple will regard AR (Augmented Reality) technology as a key breakthrough."
Second, Apple has incorporated some important KOLs on YouTube into its core R&D system.
What does it mean?
What is AR (Augmented Reality) technology? Just look at the scenes in the movie "Top Player". In addition to eating, drinking, pulling, spreading, sleeping, all other important things (including education, work, love, weddings, etc.) can be played in the game scene. The scene inside is almost indistinguishable from the real world. This is AR technology, Apple is almost to build such a world.
So, what role does KOL play in this?
This new technical background, new business environment, new lifestyle, ordinary people are not easy to adapt quickly, and some KOLs need to guide a group of "dead loyal fans" as "early explorers." There is no doubt that these “early explorers” will enjoy the biggest dividend.
Note: In the 2018 YouTube's most appealing 10 KOLs, 5 are in the game sector, and AR was first used in games. This is normal. When the PC was just popularized, people still didn't think it was like a toy.
For a long time, KOL has generally been regarded as a communication channel in brand marketing. Based on this premise, it defines the commercial value of KOL.
Many people are wasting time discussing small problems in such a small pattern, and they are at a loss in the real change.
Here, I rediscovered the value of KOL from different stages of development at Apple. KOL is far from being limited to small brand marketing, concentrating those most enthusiastic “dead loyal fans”, becoming “early explorers” of new technologies and new businesses, and opening up new business dividends. This is KOL. The real value.