New and improved…. #iClone

Today Campaign published an interesting article examining the unrivaled popularity of the iPhone. How attached and habitual we, as consumers, get with a handset but through it’s updates be it handset, or iOS, we can refresh our handset without the need, in the majority of cases, to even consider Android devices (shudder).

It got me thinking around my own mobile phone journey, the Nokia (SMS and snake), Blackberry (first business phone) and then the iPhone – where I’ve sat for over 10 years happily getting the handset upgraded without question. It has the familiar UI that I can feel mildly frustrated with at every iOS upgrade as its the same but different, the camera, the email, the appstore, the indestructable case for my continued dropping of it (thankyou Otterbox). I take an interest in Android, because I need to for my job, but I have never even questioned the need to personally swop sides. I’m what the article would refer to as a pure iClone.

YetNokia1100 considering that the Nokia 1100 sold over 250 million units (iPhone6 comes in at 220 million) consumers can, and even I will, take part in absolute revolution as far as technology is concerned. When it seemed like there was no rival to the Nokia kings at the top of the tree we suddenly reconsidered and most importantly shifted device, the familiar UI, the functions, feature and brand. We knew there were options and these other options offered very distinctive fashion, feature and technical benefits. But could that work now? With Apple mastering the upgrade and refresh model could we see the same sort of handset revolution in the next 15 years?

The difference between the iPhone and it’s predecessors is that  it’s also absolutely unique to the handset owner. The article considers that in the iClone world the iPhone is a social leveler, it’s desirable, has status with no iPhone being better than the next, But, it is, every iPhone has a unique ubiquity – it’s yours, or mine, or theirs.

When I had my Nokia (along with ever student I went through university with) we snakeall played snake, occasionally space impact and without a doubt never opened pairs. We had 4 games, the same features and a limitation to how long that screen could hold our attention. The only way to add our own personality to our phone was a clip on case, a £5 ringtone (delivered by SMS) and a pixelated screensaver. They were a social leveler but they were also customized, not personlised.

Jump forwards 15 years later and our iClone is truly an extension of ourselves, skip away from the obvious photos, whatsapp and social accounts, but just consider the powerful statement that no 2 phones are the same – they reflect our interests, and our must-haves, the utility and the entertainment. The fact your iPhone remains the champion is because it holds exactly what you need.

For when you ask the question ‘What does your iPhone say about you?’ the answer is all-too-often ‘not a lot’.

The iPhone may be a blanket purchase for generations X, Y and Z, and the comfort blanket our pockets can’t be without but by no means is it’s identity served by it’s mass penetration. It’s success and it’s future evolution continue to be steered by the the fact that no 2 iPhones are created equal, nor are superior.

It’s about more I, less clone.







Twitter Quitters and Hitters…

Twitter hits the world wide web again this week with yet more chat around whether Twitter is (or isn’t) a success or failure!

To start with the quitters… Nielsen has reported that 60% of users who sign up to Twitter fail to remain using the site after the first month – This compares to Facebook and Myspace who (reportedly) hit a contrasting 70% retention rate when they were at their peak.

For me the reason for these contrasting results is relatively clear. Taking facebook and Twitter as contrasting examples, facebook is easier… Twitter can suddently feel like this all consuming tool, you need to keep up with your own (and others) micro-blogs or you miss full conversations, titbits and information. Facebook, on the other hand, is easier to dip in and out of it. Photos can be explored when you fancy it, you can nose at people profiles on you own terms and the wall functionality means you dont miss notes that are relevent to you.

Twitter on the other hand… 3 days out and you’re behind the times!

I guess this poses the question as to where brands should sit on the twitter wagon. For me it seems like a no-brainer. Profile is setup for free. Individuals will follow you for free because they love you and, as long as you have something to say, then let your personality run and connect with your consumers. If someone offered you a free ad in a magazine being sent to 10k people who have overtly said they love your brand would you say no? No. You’d say yes so why should Twitter be viewed differently?

As with everything there are 2 sides to this. The side that annoys me is the brands that sign up who think that simply posting URLs is significant communication equally annoys me. Twitter should be about connecting with your consumers, listening to their conversations and revealing your personality in a way that no other brand does. Innocent drinks does a stirling job on this but I have heard plenty of excuses as to wjhy “innocent” can do it and they can’t. Innocent has a playful brand, a brand you expect to be personable and a brand that can get away with posting about what the receptionist is having for lunch. Other brands dont have that freedom. The brands are too functional for personality, or too corporate, or too cool. REALLY? Is that the failing of a brand manager in allowing a personality to develop or is it really the case that some brands can have a conversation and some can’t?

I’m not sure I know the answer on that one but its one I’m going to keep investigating as I think it unlocks the answers to some interesting questions (and excuses!)