THE NEW ECONOMY MOBILE TECHNOLOGY LANDCSAPE
The emergence of new economy operators and the way they create and execute their marketing, product and branding strategies gives us insight into the way that businesses need to adapt to survive moving forward. The accelerating nature of digital business channels, social media adoption, and the changes these are having on consumer attitudes, perceptions and behaviour is worth noting and examining.
Some companies will continue to attempt to create the future and innovate new products, services, markets and experiences. Apple is one such example. If we use a bird as an analogy then they are like a Lark bird that is up early at dawn and builds its nest afresh from assembling existing materials and resources around it.
Some other companies will imitate rather than innovate as a primary strategy and learn from competitors experience in order to follow leaders into their key profit making markets. Samsung has been one such example. They are via analogy like a Cuckoo bird which wakes up and searches for another birds existing nest in which to takeover and occupy.
In the New Economy the ability to engage a passionate and committed band of loyal employees, fans and consumers will enable leading companies to recruit powerful guest ambassadors in-store and loud and influential commentators in online forums and communities. Imitators will struggle to replicate powerful customer experiences which cannot be imitated or generated from pretence or by staff and online consumers who do not feel an emotional connection to the company values or its brand.
The swift adoption of intellectual property by competitors will see an increasingly litigatious set of strategies adopted to block access to markets. These will have varying success due to the different legal environments in national jurisdictions. The buy-out of innovative new companies who create value and innovation that can be leveraged by larger players will increase as a competitive strategy.
The loss of a visionary leader can derail the ability of a pioneering company in moving forward with that original vision. The emotional backlash of stakeholders nervous about the future of such a company can de decided by any set of negative or positive actions and signals to the market when the new leadership takes over. Market leadership can be won or lost on such changes.
The digital arena will continue to increasingly dominate the value creation potential on companies in the New Economy. The ability to capture an audience through ease of access digital products, technical support, personalised marketing and solid prosumer review communities will build the brand credibility and create the positive online customer experience.
The static TV experience is migrating to tablets and smartphones as cable cutting occurs across all user pay cable business models. The exponential mobile video device takeup means the world is no longer bound by being imprisoned by the subscription models and limitations of traditional broadcasting technology.
This means that the constrained lean back TV experience is declining as more consumption occurs in opportunistic moments during the day and on non TV devices. Video broadcasting technology innovators such as TV2U are be providing true Over the Top(OTT) models of secure video content delivery over the internet straight to end user devices such as tablets, gaming consoles, and smartphones.
The monetization models are shifting away from content and towards mobile personalized advertising. VOD Content is becoming a commodity and live content is premium.
In the New Economy the consumer will dictate what they wish to watch, when, and on which device they wish to watch it on. The new norm will be to find we can have video on demand at the transactional level (TVOD), or organize our own menu of aggregated content services as a subscription (SVOD).
The end user takes control of what, when, and how they will see content of their choice. Operators track and create comprehensive data analytics around user preferences and behaviours online which allow true personalization of content and the achievement of targeted advertising to occur.
Entertainment will move out of the lounge room and into our phones and tablets as players such as TV2U innovate the legacy and new content into convenient packages to suit lifestyles. Smartphone and tablet devices assume more prominence in the lives of consumers as a result.
Increasingly organisations will start to deploy their own TV channels and partner with companies such as TV2U to enable their reach to consumer devices in a way that will show consumer behavior and adoption. The capabilities of players such as TV2U reveal that they possess full analytics for deployed content down to the individual device which can show the holy grail of individual consumer behaviors and content impact, and if the conversion to purchase or call to action occurred as intended.
The ability to dominate and continue to remain in ascendency will become increasingly difficult to maintain as breakthrough technologies and intellectual property emerges from various sources which are adopted by different competitors through opportunity and engagement. TV2U represents one such leapfrog in the video content delivery technology market.
A leapfrogging of market dominance and product success may emerge as the New Economy Titans show us how long term dominance and market loyalty may be a fluctuating phenomenon. This dynamic will require market leaders to pursue constant innovation and new inspiring experiences, products and services to keep the attention of followers.
The ability for successful innovators to keep themselves at the leading edge and so charge higher margins for their products is being undermined as imitators are quick to market with close copy products which may even introduce further innovation. Company profitability as seen in margins is revealing that commoditisation of new products is occurring in faster cycles than previously seen in Old Economy dynamics.
THE APPLE HEADLINES
In the first quarter of 2015 there were two notable headlines in the press relating to the fortunes of Samsung and Apple. Firstly in the Apple camp there was a press release that acclaimed:
“Apple’s Chinese iPhone 6 sales outstrip the USA”.
Apple sold 74.5 million iPhone 6 devices in China since its launch in September 2014 and this drove total revenue to USD 74.6 billion for 2014, which was up 30 percent from a year earlier. Analysts noted that Apple had finally breached the gap with Samsung by adopting larger screens that were wanted by consumers and it was now dominating its old rival in final quarter sales.
However Apple iPad sales were down 22 per cent from a year before, with 21.4 million iPads sold. In September 2014 Apple released the iPhone 6 range and sales took off.
Apple had evolved this offering via larger screen size footprints to meet the challenge of the Samsung Note 3 larger screen smartphones and smaller tablets coming into the market. The market reacted well and consumers have switched from Android to Apple since that time reversing a previous decline in the overall Apple IOS community when compared as a percentage to the Android camp. It was not surprising then in February 2015 that the headlines read that: “Apple grows to become the first US company to achieve a $700 billion market cap”.
Apple shares rose to $122 USD and had risen 64% in 12 months. This compares to 2012 when Apple had suffered a 40% share price drop that had analysts wondering if Apple had lost its way after the death of Steve Jobs.
Apple began 2014 well with the headline “Apple’s $104.6 billion valuation makes it the number one brand in American corporate history”. The headline was accompanied subsequently by commentary by respected technology watchers such as IDC that “the iPhone had become the accepted norm in corporate circles after the collapse of the Blackberry business and technology in terms of its ability to keep pace with competitors”.
Apple then tracked well again in the USA, Australia, and Europe through 2014 till in December IDC found that the iPhone held 58 percent and iPad 76 percent market share in the U.S. This is despite the widespread moniker that analysts now hang around the Apple business brand as that of being “hunted and haunted”.
In Australia Apple iPhone 6 sales pushed iOS sales to the largest share of the market for the Christmas trading period in Australia. In Australia, Apple’s share of sales rose from 34.7 per cent to 45.1 per cent for the three months ending December.
The moniker of being hunted and haunted relates to the bigger picture that analysts looked to outside regional results. In February 2014 IDC had noted that new entrants into the market such Google Nexus tablets, which run Google Android operating systems, were taking market share from Samsung and Apple, whilst smartphones were become lower cost commodities as new entrants mastered integration of low cost features into their offerings.
The downward trend in Apple’s iPad market share confirmed this observation. However the strategic entry into China by Apple has underpinned its revival and Apple now predicts that the Chinese smartphone market will continue to eclipse that of the USA.
Analysts predict in Q1 2015 that Apple will ship 36% of its smartphone stock to China and only 24% to USA consumers. However Chinese company Xiaomi has launched low cost Android smartphones in China in late 2014.
Xiaomi are in 2015 targeting the increasingly affluent Chinese consumer and are growing their market share against both Apple and Samsung in their home market. Analysts rate Xiaomi as becoming the 3rd major smartphone company brand in Asian markets and predict Xiaomi to start to clip both Apple and Samsung’s wings from mid 2015 onwards.
Analysts have commenced on the fact that Apple’s share price has recovered somewhat from when it fell by 40% between September 2012 and April 2013. Apple has recovered the lost ground in 2014 and expects 2015 to be a strong earnings period given the upside in the Chinese markets that are only now starting to be harvested.
The reason that the market still has marked down Apple shares for questioning is that one-off profit China profit announcements mask the lower than expected prediction in the growth trajectory of Apple moving forward. The unspoken reason behind the negative market sentiment relates to the very visible fact that Samsung had previously taken over Apple’s place as the number one seller in key smartphone and tablet market segments in key markets, and that Xiaomi is now looming as a spoiling third force in these same key markets.
The underlying trend that haunts Apple is that Android continues to be the most popular mobile platform, with Android based smartphone sales climbing in every major market in Q4 2014. They now accounting for 69.5% of all sales across 12 key markets versus 23.7% for number-two Apple, according to figures out today from Kantar World Panel, the market research subsidiary of WPP.
THE SAMSUNG HEADLINES
Meanwhile Samsung published its results for the last quarter of 2014 and found that it too had gone from being the “hunter” to now being “hunted”. Samsung has previously concentrated in Asia in key emerging markets such as China and India to grow its business outside the Apple loyal USA markets.
The strategic decision of Apple to directly enter the Chinese market via its local partner China Mobile saw Samsung lose market share to Apple in China in 2014. Xiaomi, Lenovo and Huawei also undermined Samsung in China and in other emerging Asian markets in 2014.
They each share the Android operating system but Xiaomi and the others offered attractive price point products to consumers in emerging economies. This low cost strategy buy them brand recognition and loyalty when those consumers trade up to their next smartphone.
According to the preliminary earning results, Samsung as the King of Android operating system devices, got a bloody nose in 2014 as it lost ground in every quarterly set of results. The Q3 2014 results found its net profit was way down by 49 per cent from its Q3 2013 net profit results.
For instance in Australia android sales comprised 43.7 per cent of the market at the end of 2014, which was considerably down on the 58.1 per cent it recorded in the September 2014 quarter.
Samsung is still healthy with a Q4 2014 profit result of 5.35 trillion won ($6.22 billion) but this was 27 per cent down on Q4 of 2013, when profit was 8.3 trillion won (7.8 billion). The downward trend saw Samsung relegated to 5th place in the Chinese market by the end of 2014 and analysts predict the new line of Samsung phones due in March 2015 will only end the slide rather than reverse it.
The March 2015 launch at the Mobile World Congress will see the new Galaxy S6 unveiled. This phone is anticipated to incorporate Samsung’s own chipset and have a curved display similar to that on the Note Edge.
Analysts found that disastrous 2014 Samsung result was due to them being eaten away in its core markets by emerging competitors who were “imitating the imitator”, and from saturation in the high-end market and better options from emerging competitors in the low-end market. These were dragging Samsung down from record growth, despite the previous 2013 year of robust shipments of its flagship Galaxy S smartphones, Note 3 larger screen smartphones, and higher chip prices from its chip division.
NEW ENTRANT HEADLINES
The quandary now being face by both Apple and Samsung is that in 2015 they both post impressive results but each has a profit growth path that is unsustainable. This is because the previously high margin products that Apple and Samsung sell are coming under pressure from lost cost competitors such as Xiaomi in the biggest markets (China and Asian region).
New entrants such as Google, LG, Motorola and Xiaomi in particular position themself in the same smartphone and tablet markets with competitive products that are priced competitively and force price point decisions on Apple and Samsung for the first time in their trading history. They understand the nuances and needs of local markets while appealing to their loyalty as a local or regional manufacturer.
For example market analysts such as WPP note that new player “Xiaomi led in sales for the last 12 weeks of 2014, and other Chinese handset makers like Huawei also continued to gain ground. It’s still Android, but delivered in different, more locally focused packaging”.
This milestone of two New Economy monoliths such as Apple and Samsung starting to play price point decisions on their products in sensitive markets represents a shift, particularly for Apple. It marks an important point in the long journey of Apple who are one of the world’s most innovative and successful technology companies.
THE NEW ECONOMY
It is useful and insightful to look at the history of not just Apple but its key competitor Samsung and their ongoing competition. The competitive battles being fought out globally are also insightful in terms of how products, services and experiences are being redefined as we rapidly move forward into a New Economy based on the total user or customer experience as the key brand creation element and the driver to success in business.
The landscape for the battles being fought out between Apple and Samsung are those which are now being described as the New Economy. Apple and Samsung are not the only players in this landscape but are simultaneously architects of this New Economy landscape through their innovations in consumer psychology, marketing theory and strategies.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released a paper on how they think the global economy will pan out over the next 50 years. According to this OECD paper entitled “Looking to 2060 – A Global Vision of Long Term Growth”, the shape of the global economy has changed substantially since the year 2000.
This report notes the fundamental shifts in wealth, income generation, sources of business value, and types of business activity, are all creating adaptive change in business. In addition we now have the highest global standards of living plus the highest rates of education in our history.
This has made consumers and communities more self-aware and actualised at the highest levels of consciousness about business and consuming than at any other time in our recorded history. This has led to a new level and type of expectation in consumers who now have all the tools and the information at their fingertips to make conscious choices about many facets of their lives.
Consumer psychology is no longer operating from survival level thinking and doing. Consumer psychology reveals that the heightened states of consciousness in our population is bringing with it greater expectations, demands and standards of what is acceptable in business.
This includes the business social enterprise presence in the local community and in the way they conduct business. Consumers are expecting higher standards of environmental and human resource engagement.
We are moving away from a product driven economy in Australia to a services and experiences based new economy. The long term decline in manufacturing in Australia is a documented phenomenon which is symptomatic of the structural changes being played out less visibly across numerous other business sectors.
As we migrate and adapt towards the new economy ways of thinking, being and doing it is useful to review and learn from those leading edge “experience” businesses who are already operating to the new disciplines and realities that exist in this space.
In this article we will comment on two key global operators and competitors in Apple and Samsung. They showcase the innovation and imitation dynamics instrumental in New Economy landscapes, and they are at this time are locked in a titanic struggle for market domination in phones, tablets, devices and experiences of new economy reality.
APPLE AS AN INNOVATING “LARK”
Let us start with Apple. We need not dwell on the legendary status of Apple which has long created a differentiation strategy based on creating break away innovation from its computer industry peers and of creating a brand based on a rebellion against mainstream Microsoft and IBM company practices and products.
Steve Jobs was a pioneer of “Imagineering” his Apple innovations. This process was a classic example of “outside in” thinking or perspective. Here Apple imagined first the customer experience they wanted to give a typical consumer and then reverse engineered a solution to achieve that experience.
Steve Jobs brought his personal passion into the workplace and into the products he oversaw in their conception, design and production. He was a “hands on” entrepreneur whose personality was integral to the way he did business.
His perfectionism created a demand on those around him to push through ordinariness and overcame the idea of settling for second best. They imagined all the service and product innovations that needed to be bundled into some composite object for sale.
Apple knew they could then charge a higher margin of profit for that product as they would meet or exceed customer expectations in doing so. Jobs was both a visionary and a results focussed CEO who drove his team to new highs and sometimes into the ground.
Once Apple could describe the typically new experience they wanted then they then set about engineering it into high sense and high touch products that brought alive the experience. They knew they were being disruptive in their computer industry markets by introducing such clearly differentiated offerings that everyone looking on would have a reaction.
Steve Jobs gave the critical clarity to Apple that decided both what they stood for and also what they did not stand for. Both were conscious choices and part of the articulation of their product strategy and for what Apple in its entirety stood for.
Apple also brought alive a clear user experience strategy which was that “simplicity is the ultimate cool or sophistication”. High sense and high touch became expressed through art forms that were the Apple products. Functionality was important but so too was beauty, useability and refined elegance, all of which are sensual right brain concepts.
Apple did not accept the current paradigm or prevailing assumptions of reality in any way. The rigid left brain dominated thinking of the I.T. industry was considered both an obstacle to innovation and breakthrough.
However Jobs knew therefore this was also the opportunity at the same time for the same reason. Changing the game created new products, markets and business value.
Jobs was also brilliant at intuiting what are now basically social neuroscience concepts around consumer psychology. He used a concept he coined “imputation” to describe that notion that the first emotional right brain impact of when a person encounters any new novel object, company, brand through how it is presented and packaged, will often shape the opinion held about that object.
What Steve Jobs was able to do was to marry the left brain functional imperatives with the right brain sympathies to colour, form and sensation. He drew together analysis and synthesis into a potent process of product and experience innovation.
At Apple we saw how he created products that were perfect exteriors and which excited our personal interiors (senses). Ken Wilbur might say that he lifted products out of the left brain dominated “flatland” of modern science dominated thinking, and created a more integral outcome which was post-modern as it allowed for many contexts, perceptions, outcomes and right brain engagement to occur.
Of course the rest is history as everyone did react and essentially became polarised into two camps. The “Apple fans” subscribed to the Apple brand no differently than how anyone becomes the follower of a cult. Apple fans were devoted and obsessed with their “messiah” Steve Jobs, his Apple brand and his products.
The computer industry in the 1980’s was dominated by heavyweight international businesses such as IBM and Sun and the products and services they offered were technical, cumbersome and not end user friendly. These type of businesses were dominated by left brain, analytical, technical, data and process driven minds who might have known they had a right brain lobe but it was best left for home life and weekend expression.
The egos in these companies were legendary and created domination as a form of market oligopoly manipulation. Back then if as a business customer you invested in “big blue” IBM or Sun Microsystems it was not an easy or cheap journey as a client to leave their nest. It was not a cheap or easy journey to continue with either company so the clients were captive but restless and unhappy with the fees and overheads in dealing with these monoliths.
Apple enraged the traditional left brain dominated conservatives running Microsoft and IBM at the time. Apple tapped into the angst of a business and I.T. community who knew they were beholden to big I.T. companies and perceived they were being ripped off in the process. As an I.T. worker from the 1980’s myself I remember the constant theme of discussion of how we had nowhere to go in our I.T. vendor relationships.
The I.T. vendors of the day were all self-serving and not customer serving in any real sense. The discontent that Apple tapped into not only created an exodus of I.T. individuals who were over their IBM and Microsoft “experiences” but they found right brain innovation and user intuitive and friendly products in the Apple stable and in their products.
The IBM and Microsoft command and control companies had no grasp of how to engage the right brained innovative skills and culture in influencing their product and services design processes. For a while they dismissed Apple as an eccentric minnow which posed no threat to their business.
They firstly dismissed and then began to fear Apple as Apple kept innovating and changing the game on them at a time when Microsoft was also starting to challenge and disrupt the landscape. When you are a control freak and in control the very thing you fear is someone who comes along and disrupts the game and becomes a game changer.
Apple was a game changer. Apple started to carve out a nice niche for itself with the public who were less concerned with technical standards and more interested in high sense, easy to use customer interface computer hardware and software solutions.
Apple was creating the game and winning the game whilst the competitors for a time did not understand the game or how to play it. Apple kept its legion of fans loyal by constant innovation to meeting customer needs and expectations.
While Apple drove the “outside in” paradigm of design thinking their traditional “inside out” focussed competitors ignored or were unable to understand how to consider in creating commercialised products and services. Apple became a strong brand who tapped into the psyche of the public and I.T. community and really sold themselves to the end user in a way that their competitors had no handle on.
As innovators Apple saw the rise of social media and the use of mobile devices as both commonplace forms of connection, but also of beauty, art, fashion, coolness and distinction. Right brain dominated design thinking transcends functional outcomes to additionally include and embrace beauty, high sense, high touch, sensual stimulation as core product or service components.
Even when Apple tripped up they lost none of their fans for there was still no-one to compare them to and their messiah had a compelling personal brand statement and message that reassured the faithful that all was well in Apple world. Their competition came not so much from Western eyes but from eastern eyes whose innate ability to imitate rather than innovate had underpinned their way of operating in manufacturing for generations.
In this way we describe Apple as a “Lark”. A Lark is an early bird who is up with the morning sparrows and creates and builds its own nests to occupy long term. They are energetic, curious, playful and determined hunters.
They have melodious calls, attract attention through extravagant songs, and are quite adaptive and innovative nest buiders. Apple via analogy is a “Lark” or uses a “Lark” strategy.
SAMSUNG AS AN IMITATING “CUCKOO”
Samsung and many Japanese and Korean companies have had a traditional past of product innovation through imitation. These companies have long adopted a “cuckoo” strategy which is an analogy of how the cuckoo bird does not build its own nest but instead occupies the nest of other birds and displaces them from their own nest.
Cuckoos are known to be what is called brood parasites as they may displace the eggs of the host nest it occupies or it may sometimes specialize and lay eggs that closely resemble the eggs of their chosen host. Cuckoos are known to be persistent once they identify a nest they feel they would like to occupy.
In terms of Samsung they are not renowned for being the first to market (creating the nest) but instead being able to imitate and reverse engineer the same products, and reassemble them in better and cheaper ways that led to better quality outcomes for consumers. In this way they were second into markets but came to sit in the nest and dislodge the first entrant over time.
In nature the Cuckoo bird takes over other bird nests and then occupies them for the life of that nest before moving on and looking for a new nest to invade and occupy. They always dislodge the nest builder and take advantage of their hard work. This has been the Samsung strategy in various electronics and consumer goods industries for many years.
Samsung saw the rise of mobile phones and mobile technologies and proceeded in the early 2000’s to invade this market and establish a presence. They were not innovative but were patient and learnt their craft and took on early losses and market indifference and kept trying.
Meanwhile Apple were coming into their own power as they effectively led the way in creating new business value through innovative products that took advantage of aggregating content into a compelling user experience. Competitors such as Sony missed the change in industry dynamics towards content aggregation and instead stuck with a product innovation and creation strategy that had made them a world leader in consumer electronics for 30 years.
However whilst Apple became to dominate the consumer electronics and communications devices market we saw Old Economy thinking companies like Sony go into a tailspin and their once respected brand came crashing down into the product commodity space.
Sony was forced to fight it out for market share on the traditional 5P’s (Price, Product, Promotion, Place, Packaging). A company in this position who used to be able to charge a premium for products now becomes sensitive to the 5 economic levers (5P’s) of competitors.
Such a place normally means reduced profit margins and being just another product commodity in the pages of discount retailers catalogues. Sony started to haemorrhage as a result and piled on consecutive business losses from 2006 till this present day.
The days of product being king is an old economy construct that is no longer true and Sony found out the hard way. As a result we find companies like Sony are relegated to being merely a struggling commodity provider in the new economy while it remains a product driven operation.
APPLE LEAD THE WAY INTO THE NEW ECONOMY
Steve Jobs meanwhile had assumed true messiah status and became a cultural figure whose vision, insights, comments and writings shaped the ideas and very foundations of the new economy that began to emerge under his vision. The days of the new entrepreneur creating massive business value through digital channels and digital content synthesis and repackaging had arrived.
Apple led the way and the world watched in awe and wonder as new forms of iPods, iPhones, iPads and technologies emerged under his watch. Apple innovated many small component items and then raised the bar by introducing Apple shops as a total new “experience” akin to going to church to worship.
Apple became a runaway brand success as people queued for days to be the first to buy and experience their new solutions. Apple encouraged prosumers and consumer reviews and feedback on blogs, special Apple sites where you interacted with key Apple staff and support directly online.
In doing so Apple embraced their stakeholders and customers at a whole new level never seen before by the retailing world. Microsoft attempted to setup imitation “Microsoft experience” shops which because of their affiliation with geeky left brain types only tended to attract technical minded users and not the passion or hearts of everyday consumers.
Sony also setup dedicated Sony shops as they were trying to maintain the pretence of a boutique brand with a consumer world who had passed them by. Sony found it was not enough just to have a quality product anymore as consumer tastes had changed at the end of the day.
There was no compelling reason to visit a Sony or Microsoft shop as most aspects of their experience could be gleaned elsewhere. The Apple Shop experience was and is something else.
Recently in London I worked with a senior Apple employee who commented on the way there was a dedicated and conscious design process for the Apple shop experience which involved understanding psychological and social neuroscience concepts of what create positive stimulation and awe in humans.
The Apple Shop was an innovative concept where the strategically placed (one of the 5P’s) stores are designed as high sense and high touch environments. They are staffed by a first line of guest ambassadors who use the latest iPads to meet and greet you.
The staff acknowledge any online bookings made through dedicated virtual channels, and notify ahead to the back office staff what order or issue you may have fronted the store with. Their product knowledge is impressive.
Your first distraction in-store are rows of the latest gadgetry for savvy consumers to play with, compare, and rate. This excites the play/curiosity areas of the brain which have already been primed by the sensually rich environment and welcoming smile of technology conversant staff.
As you navigate your way deeper into the store and its experience you find islands of tech support, children techo-minding islands, and couches and more products. The high staff to customer ratios mean that you are unlikely to have negative emotions of impatience, anger, frustration, or disappointment creep in and pollute the now positive arousal you feel.
You will typically find any technical fault is dealt with and fixed right there, or documented and a replacement device supplied immediately. Apple do not argue with their customers.
Apple apply the profound Buddhist logic of “take on defeat and give victory to the other”. Apple know that minimising and resolving any glitch, hitch or bitch is the best way to maintain a positive brand relationship with the community and its legions of fans.
Most consumers report that the experience is compelling in itself and they find themselves reaching for their wallets or credit cards and handing over the plastic without bothering to consider the price. Apple position themselves as a marquee brand and product set and charge accordingly as a result of delivering a marquee level in-store experience and follow-up customer support.
DEATH OF A MESSIAH
In recent times Apple has started to lose the degree of dominance it had built and maintained for years. The company was affected by the declining health and loss of their visionary messiah, Steve jobs, whose legendary drive, passion and vision drove the Apple legend. His cult like following of fans went into mourning and felt disconnected and adrift in their grief.
The loss of a powerful personal brand which is aligned to a powerful corporate brand will always produce a symbiotic effect in a negative way. The loss of Steve Jobs the person and the personal brand robbed the Apple brand of significant brand energy and direction.
We know our brains like to think and work in a paired association reasoning framework. The loss of Steve Jobs then disturbed the internalised brand identity people held about Apple. For some Apple was Steve Jobs and so doubt began to creep in about the ability of Apple to move forward in the same way again without their messiah and visionary.
Apple did not help themselves in this most delicate of moments when soon after his death that Apple was perceived to falter when the launch of its Apple iPhone 4S was considered disappointing and uninspiring to the waiting public. This event in Steve Jobs day would have been a blip on road to heaven but a nervous fan base started to wonder whether Apple had lost its mojo and its vision with the loss of its founder.
LEGAL BATTLES AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
Samsung meanwhile had been watching, learning, innovating and eating away at Apples dominance in the smartphone Asian markets. When Samsung launched its latest Galaxy S phones and its Android based tablets the war became real as Samsung sought a greater share of American and European markets.
Apple went to the Californian Court in USA, China and elsewhere and launched a series of Intellectual Property suits against Samsung alleging violations of patents and designs across its phone and tablet range of products.
Apple sought court directions to have these Samsung products withdrawn from sale as well as damages to be paid in the billions for copyright infringement. The cases were largely won in the U.S. jurisdiction by Apple who was initially awarded a 1.05 billion USD damages judgement against Samsung.
This judgement was then partly overturned on appeal and in 2014 Apple went back to the California courts seeking $2 billion in damages from Samsung for new violations of intellectual property. After this set of court actions a form of truce was agreed but it remains to be seen how authentic this ceasefire proves to be.
It is predicted that this litigation strategy will ultimately continue and take years to play out across court room settings across the globe. Apple has been analysed by commentators as having played a strategic battle against Samsung in the courtroom.
Commentators state that the original litigation was not so much about infringements of about 8 key patents out of a collection of just over a 1300 patents registered for the smart phone devices. Apple was trying to litigate to protect the “total user experience (TUX)” of their IOS devices against Samsung.
Respected design commentator and innovator Rob Curedale noted, “The asserted Apple patents covered the look of the iPhone, the style of the screen-based interface, design of the icons and related screens, and some of the essential gesture-based interaction behaviours of the iPhone product”.
He added that “The sum of these patents covered essentially the iPhone you may or may not have in your hand from the standpoint of what you cognitively experience when you use the device. In retrospect this was a brilliant strategy because it gave Apple the opportunity to secure (conceptually) protections well beyond those that accrue to any single patent related to iPhone technology”.
Apple did not land a knockout blow in their legal action. Samsung won the right to continue manufacturing and selling its devices into Apples key market. At present, regardless of legal manoeuvres, there are no impediments in place to prevent Samsung offering innovative devices produced through imitation strategies coupled with core differentiators that Samsung believe will help it win the day over time.
One of the problems in innovative design outcomes is the fact that reductionism of the product or service loses the ether of what the overall conjures emotionally in the end user. You cannot bottle this effect nor legally pin it down either.
In Apple’s case it is the Total User Experience (TUX) of the iPhone that drives commercial success, not any individual feature or function as fought over in the court cases so far. Samsung have reacted to the latest Apple litigation by dragging Google into the courtroom.
Samsung did this in an attempt to prove that Google engineers who create the Android operating system platform for all Samsung phones are the basis for much of Samsung smartphone features and capability. Apple, Samsung and Google all own key patents in many overlapping areas and Samsung hopes to prove that what looks similar is not based on patent infringement.
The old adage that the end result is greater than the sum of its parts is very true in these situations. This approach of conceptualizing the iPhone or any innovative high sense product as comprised of many highly engaging features which combine to create an experience which is greater than the sum of its parts is true in the New Economy.
In the New Economy a company’s most valuable corporate asset will be increasingly the total user experience of its products, not the old economy view of the individual patent value of discrete components. Apple approached their legal battle on this basis whilst Samsung relied on traditional reductionistic legal strategies in challenging the IP of Apple devices.
The subset of features covered by discrete, individual patents or related IP is contained within an overall wrapping of the TUX. The legal world has not evolved in this direction but instead takes a very reductionistic view of patents and ideas as disconnected features.
As Robert Curedale notes, “The human mind does not approach the world as a series of disconnected features but assembles experiences from the world we inhabit to form a mental model that is robust and determines what we find engaging and meaningful”.
In the New Economy legal practitioners will need to adapt by framing patent applications and related litigation toward protecting the total user experience of their products. Legal case law and statutes will need to evolve in this direction in order to facilitate such outcomes.
At present the current legal system works in exactly the opposite direction by requiring inventors to slice up their products into many features that can be described in patent claims or in other forms of narrowly defined legal descriptions.
That is not to say that the legal battles are either over or have been won by Samsung. The European Union (EU) regulators have noted the U.S. legal battles and decisions that have occurred between Samsung and Apple. In December 2012 the EU regulators lodged a formal complaint, known as a “statement of objections”, against Samsung over its past use of legal injunctions against Apple.
The basis for this action by EU regulators is that they perceive that manufacturers like Samsung engage in the use of legal injunctions against competitors for their use of key technologies that are held under patent by Samsung. Under key EU competition rules a manufacturer is compelled to allow competitors to use such technologies under “fair and reasonable terms”, since they underpinned basic societal benefit outcomes for consumers and communities like the establishment of 3G and 4G networks.
The EU regulators believe Samsung was misusing its legal power in these situations. EU Commissioner Joaquin Almunia stated that “such rights should not be misused where they are essential to implement industry standards, which bring huge benefits to businesses and consumers alike”.
Samsung had sought the injunctions against Apple and this mirrors the global legal war in various markets to restrict the sale and promotion of each other’s devices based on these sort of allegations. Samsung had also announced in January 2013 that it would withdraw some of its Galaxy range of phones and tablets in key American markets that Apple has previously had domination in.
This announcement was seen as part of the compromise being offered by Samsung in response to litigation losses in the courts in these same jurisdictions, and represents some of the key legal manoeuvring going in in key markets globally by Apple and Samsung as they battle for control.
The battle ebbs and flows in each other’s direction over time. In June 2013, The U.S. International Trade Commission found that Apple had infringed one of Samsung’s patents and ordered a ban on the U.S. sales of a range of older Apple devices.
These devices included third and fourth generation iPhone, and the first, second and third generation iPads which feature a cellular connection. Luckily for Apple these devices are not current issue and many consumers who had purchased these devices would have already upgraded these devices to newer and more advanced offerings.
Meanwhile the growth in content and the apps market has also caused some headaches for Apple. In January 2013 Apple was found guilty in a Chinese court for alleged copyright violations of apps developed by Chinese writers who claimed they found applications containing unlicensed versions of their books in Apple’s App Store.
This was a bitter pill for Apple to swallow as they, like many technology companies, find that unlicensed copies of books, music, software and hardware proliferate in China despite claims that crackdowns are occurring. They in turn find it hard to gain redress for such breaches in the same Chinese courts.
According to the authors of a new book, “Chinese Industrial Espionage”, the transfer of technology from Western economies back to China is official policy at all levels of the Communist Party and the state which has been evolving since the 1950’s as an economic tool of soft war. It affects companies like Apple and Samsung alike as it takes place in a legal grey area where China has not implemented clear laws or even any laws covering all required statutes around technology transfer boundaries, rights and obligations.
The authors of the book, William C. Hannas, James Mulvenon and Anna B. Puglisis, note that there is a moral agnosticism of the China state in these matters and the attitude is one of appropriation for the betterment of the economy and citizens of China. Both Apple and Samsung are potential victims in this state led war over intellectual property and increasingly the authors note this key issue is a main risk factor for the ongoing competiveness of both firms given their leading innovation intellectual property assets.
Meanwhile in China a budding entrepreneur called Lei Jun, founded Xiaomi, which brands itself, acts and gestures to the market in a non too subtle imitation of Apple. Xiaomi has been successful in creating Apple imitating mobile phones for the Asian market to the extent that Lei Jun is a billionaire and Xiaomi has captured a huge psychological advantage as commonly now being referred in the press and mainstream language as “The Apple of the East”.
Xiaomi is capitalised at about $100 billion and rising and offers cheaper Apple look and feel mobile phones to emerging students and middle class who find the “real Apple” device just out of reach of what they can afford. Xiaomi also fits nicely into the strategic fit of China which aims to transition from being an assembler economy for other companies and become an innovator or imitator of the same sort of devices they now make for other firms and export to the benefit of others.
In an ominous sign in China, Xiaomi led in smartphone sales against both Apple and Samsung for the last 12 weeks of 2014. This was despite the launch of Apple in China with their S6 large screen smartphone during the same period.
China is the largest mobile phone market in the world and the market is competitive with not just Samsung, Apple and HTC playing in this space. Huawei and Lenovo compete and together with Xiaomi they collectively have captured over 65% of this key market as at the end of 2014.
One of the key problems for Apple is the changing dynamics in the market. Apple has always adopted a strategy of targeting the market for high-end phones, but yet the dynamics have shifted towards lower-cost models, particularly in emerging markets.
Apple is caught out here as if Apple release a truly low-cost phone this would then undermine other Apple device profitability and weakens the brand recognition as a premium product provider. If they do not compete as Samsung does in the low end commodity phone market then market share will decline whilst consumers accept Android devices as the standard.
This reminds one of how the VHS video format won the war against a technologically better BETA format videos 20 years ago.
THE TURNING OF THE TIDE
The core difference between Samsung and Apple devices are their operating systems. Apple have their own proprietary Apple operating system whilst Samsung use the industry dominant Android operating system.
As at September 2014 in the tablet market Apple had just lost the lead in tablets by having 49% of the market versus Google Android run versions by Samsung and other manufacturers having a combined 51% of the market.
For the first time Apple has lost market share in the tablet market since Apple first launched the iPad in 2010. The market has received the new Android tablets such as Samsung Galaxy Notes extremely well and it has been launched as an “experience” more so than as a product, notes market analysts such as IDC.
Meanwhile Apple has launched the iPad Mini and IPad Air to keep pace with innovations and competitor devices. These devices in 2013 were that which Apple hoped to shore up its tablet dominance but yet Apple continued to lose overall market share in both phone and tablet markets.
Apple is still trying to differentiate itself from Samsung and new entrants by offering the purchase of new devices as a bundled experience versus just purchasing an innovative product. Apple are not only offering their famous in-store experience as an experiential container for the purchase of these new tablets, they also additionally offered in 2013 free Xmas wrapping as well as free laser messaging or identification on these devices as part of a standard purchase.
APPLE NAVIGATES ITS WAY INTO CRISIS
Apple is also on the back foot in regards to its smart phone market. In the post Steve Jobs era Apple has had a public relations setbacks with several product launches.
Just think of the poorly handled release of the iPhone 5 range which came soon after the loss of Steve Jobs. Apple has always made product launches a memorable experience for their fans and analysts alike when Jobs was leading Apple.
The embarrassment of the iPhone 5 launch centred on its GPS facility. The GPS system that had geographical mistakes in most continents drew attention to the drop in standards of Apple product launches in the post Jobs era.
People started to wonder whether Apple had lost its way with the loss of their messiah. Whereas in the past Apple had been forgiven for glitches this was no longer the case.
This widely publicized glitch bled the corporate reputation of Apple as at the time they resorted to recommending that users “sleep with the enemy” by using the Google version of the same navigation app. This was embarrassing as Apple had previously discarded this same Google app when it judged it as inferior for iPhone production release inclusion as it lacked voice recognition capabilities.
Apple CEO Tim Cook was forced to issue a rare public apology and recommend that iPhone owners consider using Google maps through a mobile web browser or seek other alternatives until his company could fix the problems. Among other things, Apple’s maps misplaced landmarks, overlooked towns and sometimes got people horribly lost.
In the dry harsh continent that is Australia we saw NSW police issue a warning that Apple’s maps were “life-threatening” because the system was steering people away from the destination of the city of Mildura into life threatening conditions of a remote desert 71 kilometres away from the target city. Users were told to use the Google navigation app or paper based maps instead.
It may be coincidence or a possibly a masterstroke of timing but Google then relaunched an updated Google Maps iPhone navigation app fully integrated to Apples IOS and smart phones. It looked like Apple had swallowed its pride and its bleeding image had been given a band aid by a competitor.
Google’s then announced its arrival with a new iPhone mapping app that was not a relaunch but an upgraded offering and overcame some of the lack of integration to iPhone capabilities that previously existed. This new version offered street-level local neighbourhood photography for the first time on Apple’s mobile operating system, as well as three-dimensional views, public transit directions and a listing database for more than 80 million businesses worldwide.
The launch was sweet for Google as it tapped into a discontented market and reaped the rewards with a huge positive user response. In the first 3 days after launch users had flocked to be prosumers and had responded with more than 10,000 reviews of the Google app.
Nearly 90 per cent gave Google maps a maximum five-star rating which is no easy task given it comes from a savvy and technically aware user base. Apple was quiet but approving on release as it had no option as Apple had been compromised by its own faulty products.
The Apple app put humans at risk of death or at least puts users in a frustratingly negative position all of which Apple tries to psychologically eliminate in any “Apple experience”. The substitution of its own technology by that of a natural competitor was humiliating but face saving and resolved the problem that had started to become a public relations disaster for Apple at a time close to Xmas that it simply could not afford to live with.
NEW ENTRANTS AND NEW CHALLENGES
Google Inc crowed about that latest coup, especially as it was initially humiliated by Apple when they discarded the Google version of the app as inferior. Google were smart to also include additional features in that new Google app that only worked on Android phones and not Apple iPhones.
The Google iPhone app caused its own problems when it could not fully map directions in malls and other buildings which worked well in Android phones such as Samsung Galaxy III.
Samsung stood on the sidelines and won again through the agency of its Android operating system and devices being seen not to have the bugs and limitations of the Apple equivalents. Steve Jobs would have be turning in his grave at that turn of events since his shuffling off this mortal coil.
The now established critical changes in public perception and market analyst commentary relate partly to the fact that Apple products were now readily measurable and comparable to Samsung and other new entrant equivalent devices. Market and consumer commentary is now geared around head to head comparisons of these competitor offerings whereas this was not so readily possible in the past.
What occurs from the ability to create comparative summaries and scores is an ability to rate and rank manufacturer devices. This influences the consumer purchasing decision.
In 2012 Samsung finally overtook Nokia and Apple as the smartphone king by having its flagship Galaxy S3 sell 18 million devices compared to 16.2 million Apple iPhone 4S devices and a similar amount of Nokias in the same period.
In the same period and amidst the consumer and market analyst backlash we saw Apple only able to sell 6 million iPhone 5 devices. Samsung have now innovated and imitated in a market that Apple originally created and effectively had to itself.
The Cuckoo has been pecking away at Apple and the Cuckoo has made its way into and is settling in to try to take over the nest of the Samsung Lark. Samsung does not have it all its own way.
LG who are another Korean giant finally came of age in the smartphone market in 2013. However LG initially damaged its brand by launching devices which created poor customer experiences and copped a commentator and consumer backlash in doing so.
LG had followed Samsung into the Android camp but its software platforms lacked seamless integration into the hardware platform and its devices earned a reputation for bugs, chunkiness, and comparative lack of quality to Samsung devices. Samsung in response then went after LG as an emergent threat and initially crushed its rival LG via successful marketing and discount pricing.
LG was a good imitator to Apple and created success firstly with its Nexus and Optimus phone products. They wanted a positive brand impact and started penetrating the consumer psyche in the way Apple and then Samsung had managed to do.
Samsung realised the threat it faced in all segments of its markets. The massive success of the Samsung flagship phones had built a reputation for the brand, which trickled down and translated into brisk sales in the mid and low range segments of the market.
Samsung faced off with its competitors in every entry point to the phone market. It was forced to launch phones in every imaginable size and price range, and promoted the products with unparalleled marketing force.
As a result in 2013 Samsung dominated and suppressed the competition in the Android ecosystem. The result was that LG, Nokia, Motorola and others remained only marginal players in the smartphone market.
Google meanwhile has entered the highly lucrative mobile phone device market in 2012 with its anticipated “X Phone” project, based on the Google owned and controlled Motorola company. Motorola was an expensive 12.5 billion acquisition for Google but it dealt Google in to the ability to create and market its own phone and tablet products.
Google then learnt some hard lessons about hardware supply chain management and manufacturing quality control disciplines that as a software giant it had never faced before. Google was more used to deploying new software to the Web and so made mistakes.
Google want to create a new “user experience” with its Google phones based on such features as a bendable screen. Google had started to create headaches for both Samsung and Apple as it had the clout to create innovative point of difference devices and the Google distribution and marketing platform to launch from.
However the smartphone market was bruising and Googles Motorola play into the market saw losses of 2 billion USD in 2013 and a slip in market share from 2.3% to 1% of the phone market in that year.
Google blinked and exited the market with its sale of the Motorola for a major discount of $3.33 billion to emerging Chinese entrant Lenovo. Motorola kept from that sale its strategic prize of a trove of key patents around its Motorola devices and wireless technology.
This was done for key reasons. Motorola felt it might need these patent rights in its legal battles with Apple over alleged smartphone intellectual property violations.
Lenovo has since emerged along with Xiaomi as the phone manufacturers to watch in the next few years. Lenovo has positioned itself as a major technology player and had in 2014 also agreed to buy a computer server business from IBM after having bought IBM’s PC business in 2005.
Lenovo was already the 5th largest smartphone maker as at the start of 2014. Its acquisition and consolidation of Motorola then made it the 3rd largest phone manufacturer with 6% of the smartphone market flying the Moto and Lenovo handsets.
Samsung crashed out of the top 2 in 2014 and found itself overtaken in the market such that by the end of 2014 it was now ranking as only the 5th largest phone manufacturer in China when measured by sales in that key market.
This suits Google as it now has Samsung, Xiaomi and Lenovo smartphone makers deploying its Android operating system and effectively establishing Android as the defacto standard in smartphone and tablet technologies.
What is also a problem for Apple is that while they maintain their position as the premium phone brand, Samsung, Lenovo, Xiaomi and LG now can create low cost entry devices and target the billions of consumers in developing countries who so far have not purchased a smartphone or tablet.
The longer term trend is moving away from Apple as the device market finds its own operating system standards, just like when Microsoft and Apple fought for defacto adoption of their operating systems nearly 20 years ago. We now have almost all other manufacturers who have Android as the acknowledged dominant platform for tablets and smartphones, and this group winning the war on smartphone sales in terms of device numbers.
According to IDC Market Research, Samsung have a key dominant position in the Android phone market, but new entrants are hollowing this out while still increasing the overall sales of Android versus Apple devices globally.
Samsung are been unable in 2014 to continue to suppress the other Android players in the market. They were able to trim the sails of Sony who have declined in a smaller way from a smaller base over 2013 and 2014 whilst Blackberry have almost sunk over the same period to be irrelevant except in Indonesia.
The game has changed in 2014 such that Samsung ceased to be the main challenge to Apple. Apple is now faced with the whole Android market. Market Analysts such as ABI Research note “we expect the Android ecosystem to continue to grow in numbers – new manufacturers, better device choices for reaching more markets, and more developers finding value from apps and content.”.
IDC research showed that the combined share of the worldwide smartphone market controlled by Apple and Samsung slipped to 40 per cent in 2013 from 49 per cent 2 years earlier. It seems that you can actually teach an old dog new tricks.
Some of the companies chipping away at the leaders are familiar names that are trying comebacks, like Sony, Nokia and HTC. They have learnt their lessons and are now employing imitation combined with their own innovation strategies to entice back old customers to their brands with fluctuating success.
Other new entrants are relative newcomers, like LG of South Korea and Lenovo, ZTE and Huawei of China. Some like Xiaomi are leaders in their home market of China so they are an emergent threat to the established players like Samsung and Apple.
Apple have responded by entering the Chinese market in the last quarter of 2014 via a piggyback agreement with China Mobile to launch the iPhone on their telecom network which is the biggest in China. Apple did record sales but how sustainable that success is can only be measured over time.
Analysts are still not convinced this will stem the tide for Apple. The sentiment is ”The story is no longer Apple versus Samsung”, according to Forrester Research analyst Bryan Wang.
He states that ”they will both face similar challenges.” Analysts say buyers are more willing to look at alternatives to Apple or Samsung in their own regions because the differences among smartphones are less pronounced nowadays.
The proportion of phones running Google’s Android operating system keeps rising, and technical specifications are converging. Like Samsung’s Galaxy S5, a number of other phones, including Sony’s Xperia Z, also include high-definition larger 5-inch screens.
That makes price, where Chinese smartphone makers like Lenovo and Xiaomi have an edge, an increasingly important selling point. Individually, none of these companies have previously posed a threat to Apple or Samsung.
However Samsung got mauled in 2014 more at the hands of the new entrants than it did from Apple. The next three top players showed strong growth over the past year.
The lost market share was picked up more by new players such as Xiaomi, ZTE, Huawei and LG in that order. The eastward shift reflects the growth of sales in China, which has surpassed the United States to be the biggest smartphone market.
The figures showed that the global android market comprises 77 per cent representation in China, 42 per cent in the USA and 66.1 per cent as an average in Europe. Meanwhile Apple has only 21.5 per cent, 58 per cent and 24.1 per cent in comparison in the same markets.
In other developing economies, analysts say much of the impending growth will be in lower-priced smartphones, an area in which Apple is notably absent but which Chinese android based makers such as Xiaomi, Huawei and Lenovo excel.
However, Apple and Samsung still face new challenges at the high end of the market, where their dominance has been most pronounced. IDC analyst Kevin Restivo states that ”though Samsung and Apple are the dominant players, the market is as fragmented as ever.
There is ample opportunity for smartphone vendors with differentiated offerings.”.
Consider again Xiaomi. In 2014 it sold 61 million smartphones, more than three times its 2013 total. A few weeks ago, the five-year-old company raised $US1.1 billion ($1.2 billion) in new funding at a valuation of $US45 billion ($58 billion).
The price point appeal for Xiaomi is that it sells smartphones at about 55 per cent that of an iPhone. Xiaomi also sells extensively online so it can build a global reach with its products in the future.
Xiaomi is also not just an imitator but a true innovator that is consciously designing its manufacturing and supply chain processes for low cost and differentiation.
Xiaomi has a just in time ordering system which prevents inventory building up and hence those warehouse costs for storage. Xiaomi is also building a cult brand that is gearing for loyalty in its fan base so that it can leverage this emotion in the same way Apple has been doing for the past few decades.
The Chinese government has been accused of aiding Xiaomi with disruptive interventions into the market against foreign suppliers like Apple and Samsung, and there are online whispering campaigns that user privacy may be being breached on Apple and Samsung smartphones.
The tablet wars are just as frenetic with Apple reliving its smartphone dilemma in this other battlefield. Apple has released the iPad Air, iPad 2, the iPad Mini with retina display throughout 2013 and updates in 2014 that started to win market share back from Google/Android devices but not at a rate that will knock-out the opposition.
Australian and global sales of tablet computers have almost doubled since 2013. Apple has seen its market share erode as cheaper devices running Googles Android operating system come online from other manufacturers.
It has brought more options back into the market and has again created more consumer choice in the critical lower end or cheaper price point markets. The important point to note here is that by the end of 2015 the number of people using tablets is likely to exceed traditional laptop and desktop PC’s.
This is a huge growth market for corporates who can unwind its bricks and mortar infrastructure and leverage its wireless investments in the workplace with a truly mobile workforce. The experience in the US is that top corporates are budgeting for tablets as PC replacements from 2015 onwards.
This may be in part explained by Microsoft announcing its Windows tablets that preserves the corporate Windows User Interface but gives the wireless and mobility demanded of in workplaces of the future. Microsoft bought Skype and is working at offering a product set which integrates the Office environment and communications for a mobile workforce.
Microsoft have a bad reputation in the market due to high licencing costs of their Windows operating systems software. As long as they do not price themselves out of the game as is their current perceived drawback held by consumers, then they may steal a massive emerging market at the expense of Android and Apple tablets.
The analysis of sales data shows that the rise in take-up of new tablet users is not going to Apple but to Samsung and to Google Nexus tablets. Apple’s market share dropped from 72% in 2012 to 55% in 2013 and below 50% in 2014. Sound familiar?
The changing nature of smartphone versus tablet ownership in households has also caught the attention of manufacturers. Most manufacturers make and sell both smartphones and tablets but the trend is actually away from smartphones and towards tablets as the “device” to port around for information and experience delivery.
This trend is likely to continue with households having a multiple number of tablets or phablets as against just a single smartphone per head of household. This positions tablets as a growth industry for all those fighting the battle for the share of the consumer dollar.
The crunch in consumer purchasing decisions is starting to be made around the availability of popular apps and games on Android platforms that consumers have decided are not so easily found on Apple ecosystem and their devices. Research shows the rich experience of tablets is attractive to purchasers and rates higher than smartphones or console gaming stations.
Tablets server more than just a communications function but represent a lifestyle choice which means sensory rich and compelling experience facilitation that Android offers to a higher degree than Apple courtesy of the larger app and software base built for Android use.
The best user experience may win rather than the best tablet device. The war continues.
THE USER OR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE WAR
The Android camp of manufacturers are trading off the section of the consumer market which have never been avid Apple adoptees or who have been dissatisfied with pricing, or the Apple Macs and other devices. They want to divide and conquer and disrupt the Apple camp through creating new alluring customer experiences different to that on offer by Apple.
Apple today is still the dominant manufacturer of these devices and is still the world’s richest smartphone/tablet technology company. Its legion of fans still flock into their stores or online to have the “next big thing”.
Apple sold 74.5 million iPhone 6 devices in China since its launch in September 2014. Apple still has a strong product offering in every key market it competes in.
In the new economy the only remaining point of difference eventually becomes the total customer experience. We say this as the customer or user experience is predicated on a whole combination of emotional, subjective, human condition factors that require a right brain mindset and emotional intelligence involvement to generate.
The art and science of creating these conscious experiences is often beyond the grasp and comprehension of left brain dominated companies and their leadership. This is true of Samsung whom can use left brain analytical skills, logic, reasoning and black and white constructs to imitate and even innovate to some degree the Apple devices.
One tends to use left brain constructs to pull apart and reverse engineer objects that are discrete and systemised. However it is a “grey” art and science to understand and then build a compelling total customer/user experience.
The mindset, the skills and philosophy comes from another place and involves synthesis, sensual awareness, psychology, architecture, art, design and a whole range of feminine and subtle inputs which are harder to quantify, systemise or measure and control.
It also includes the involvement of humans and their emotions and perceptions. This place has more familiarity with the artist than the engineer or the scientist. Samsung have tried to follow and imitate Apple by creating its own Samsung stores strategically located near Apple store equivalents.
Samsung had opened such a store in Sydney within a minute’s walk from the equivalent Apple store in the CBD. Traditional marketing theory espouses that one should always try to setup next to your competition and then compete on offerings and convert across some of your rivals traffic.
Whilst Samsung is a major player it has always been a manufacturer and not a retailer in these market segments. It has no retailer or customer experience creation DNA in this part of its business or people.
The Samsung store has not lived up to expectations as it cannot simply imitate an Apple store via a physical presence. This is clearly seen in this store and demonstrates a key new economy paradigm that customer experiences are not so simply imitated by competitors.
There is a history lesson here for Samsung which it appears to have learnt well. It was only less than a decade ago that Nokia was the king of mobile phones.
Nokia created great phones but did not engineer experiences and a wow effect in their use. One can see the staggering impact that failing to create a compelling user experience can have on a previous world leader in smartphones.
Nokia went down a similar path to Sony by being overly focused on technical superiority at the expense of usability, beauty, and innovation. As a result Nokia has gone from essentially dominating and owning the smartphone market to now almost becoming non-existent in the same market by 2013.
A company having the most innovative product(Samsung) may still fail overall compared to a close rival(Apple) who has a perceived less innovative device. This would not be typically the case in an old economy setting except where the economic levers of the 5 P’s(Price, Promotion, Place, Packaging, Product) were exercised to create some perceived advantage.
In the new economy there is as much a battle for minds and hearts as there is a battle of the best products. The best customer/user experience can create such a positive emotional state in a consumer that they will switch from left brain critical rational thinking, and instead start making emotional right brained oriented purchasing decisions based on the enthusiasm and sensual stimulation of the in-store “experience”.
Samsung has innovated and imitated an “experience store” concept but is finding that their staff DNA is not yet attuned to how to create such a compelling experience as Apple. Apple are savvy retailers and pioneers of the total customer/user experience model and so have a lot of DNA and learnt lessons in this area.
This is gold that cannot be reverse engineered or imitated in any great sense by a rival. Samsung also does not have the cult like fan base that Apple has.
Apple seeks out its store employees from its dedicated fan base who like cult followers are enthusiastically in total belief about Apple products, ethos and brand. That enthusiasm energises both the Apple brand and its in-store experience.
By mid-2016, Apple plans to more than double its number of Apple stores in China to 40. Apple is actively recruiting Chinese tech savvy, Apple obsessed staff to get the stores up and running.
Samsung and the other new entrants have no-where to go to try and build such an emotionally charged workforce. Analysts such as Ideaworks head of shopping, Peter Wilson, have picked up on this reality, noting “rivals had to work out how to better Apple’s store assistants, who excelled at interacting with customers”.
How Samsung and the other new entrants will do this is hard to see given their manufacturer origins and this creates a significant barrier to entry in this “experience” market that Apple still dominates.
Samsung is offering in store tutorials and the free gift wrapping just like Apple. The problem for Samsung is that they will have to sell the advantages of their products harder than Apple while their in-store experience remains weaker than Apple’s.
CONTENT IS KING
The world has evolved to a point where content is king and the devices that render video content are becoming commodities. Technology companies are clamouring for video content of both a packaged video on demand nature as well as live consumer contribution video content such as arises on social media.
Meanwhile the battle has also moved into online digital channels where Apple also has a significant legacy and DNA courtesy of early adoption of online retailing and marketing. Apple has been an early entrant into the online content provider market with a well accepted iTunes and Apple App store as manifestations of understanding how to create new business value in digital channels.
Apple understood how to embrace content to create the user experience in its device markets and so embraced and chased content for a core part of its business. This is new economy thinking as the synthesis of sensations that affects the different senses such as taste, touch, hearing, vision, and smell all help to evoke emotional experiences in users.
One of Apple’s early competitors in the old economy was Sony. Sony was not unlike Samsung in its manufacturing arm but Sony has long had a retailing and distributor channel strategy that has seen it prominent in any retail outlet that existed in a community.
Sony is a household name that has also always been associated with consumer electronics and devices. In the last 20 years Sony became the byword for quality and innovation in the home consumer electronics market. Sony was the flagship brand of Japanese electronics technology.
We all have probably had Sony products and innovations in our lives at some point, whether that was a Trinitron TV, a Sony Walkman, or a Sony Playstation console. In the era of the 1980’s to early 2000’s Sony led the way with product quality and innovation. They also lost market share to the Apple innovations of iPods, iPads and iPhones.
Sony had a product led strategy which for decades was a recipe for success. Sony led the way and won the hearts, minds and dollars of consumer’s worldwide. However by 2005 things had started going wrong for Sony.
This well tried and repeated marketing, product and branding strategy was no longer working. The world had moved on to a new era of technology collaboration and integration where content was increasingly becoming the focus instead of the platform or device.
Meanwhile mobile and social media was converging with traditional consumer electronics. Sony was becoming sidelined in the new paradigm of internet driven seamless devices such as mobile phones.
Sony posted 6 consecutive years of losses since 2007 and the current CEO, Kazuo Hirai, noted that Sony missed the change in the technology drivers as well as consumer expectation to one of “user experience”. Hirai understands well that consumers now are less brand loyal than ever to actual products.
Instead the average consumer is expecting an emotionally positive and sensually rich experience regardless of the platform or device they use. Sony needs to be able to create a brand that can consistently repeat such an experience using a variety on non Sony content across the Sony platform of electronics and software.
The Sony experience is also relevant to many businesses in the transition to the new economy and the Age of Complexity. The generation X and Y demographics are certainly brand aware but are less brand loyal than they are “experience loyal” than any other generation before them.
The generations who follow in the future are more likely to be just as so, or more so. Apple understand this reality and work to this strategy. The advent of secure technology also allows online shopping to be a safe experience for consumers.
Given the search engine capability for consumers to view a vast range of product content online, for prices below that of shop front retailers, price point strategies are going the way of dinosaurs for many businesses.
Just notice the reaction of old mindset bricks and mortar retailers such as Harvey Norman to the loss of business to online shopping channels, and their cry for GST for online retailers. Online retailers like Apple innovate an advanced disruptive online shopping “experience” for Apple users.
Apple understand that consumers will consume online when it’s safe and simple to do so. Apple lead and create a solution that is sophisticated and reinforces the brand association that Apple is a leading funky innovator of anything digital and leading edge.
Apple reap massive profits from its low cost Apple based online stores, and have now created Apple Pay online solutions that start to take on the electronic payment gateway systems that were once the domain of bricks and mortar banks.
Apple support all this with mature systems and they have a well resourced social media based presence with tech support, opinions, communities, blogs and solution co-design touch points. Apple collaborate online with their audiences where they actively show up and add value to users of both Apple and Android devices and technology.
Samsung and Sony have not developed their digital muscles in this way and have not been early entrants into digital markets in the way Apple has pioneered and built its “nests”. Samsung are struggling to get into the hearts and minds of consumers that they have a distinctive advantage to Apple products and so are easy prey for new entrants.
What happened in 2014 demonstrates this fate to Samsung. Samsung took on the new entrants with a plethora of smartphone and tablet offerings in their home markets. However consumers of Samsung are not so brand loyal as those of Apple and the masses deserted them in 2014 and went with Xiaomi, Huawei, LG and Apple when it suited them.
Samsung found that brand loyalty is still a problem for them. Samsung have effectively created a strong brand awareness in these same hearts and minds but not brand loyalty.
This problem in part relates to how content brings alive the consumer devices Samsung and Apple sell. The future of consumer electronic brands and of their business to business and business to consumer relationship is content and those who publish content to build their brand.
The target for content marketing is always some designated target audience who have some interest in the content being deployed and both tablets and smartphones represent key content consuming devices in this game.
More and more content in its myriad of forms but increasing in video format, will dominate our digital world. We already experience “content shock” where the world already has a legacy content store on the internet that makes even the best search engine churn its wheels in the sea of information.
If we consider the content platforms that already exists such as Facebook with its 2.3 billion members as at 2014, as well as the hundreds of millions of websites now deployed we all start to feel overwhelmed.
If one just considers LinkedIn then we find in 2014 some 3 million company pages online on this “serious” platform. It also has 1.5 million publishers on Pulse, and 450 global influencers, and 2.1 million LinkedIn Groups to join.
For the average user we are flooded with content which probably has no relevance to most of us. As devices such as tablets and smartphones become richer in functionality and the app base in both android and apple camps matures and becomes critical.
Apart from the need for phone communication then the device wars will be tied increasingly to content deployment, and the smart apps that both sort content or create information or results of use, particularly video content which is still dwarfed by written content at this stage.
In the same way the ability of both device types to be video creation devices will also increase consumer appeal and choices moving forward. All manufacturers are looking at how to increase the ease of use of their devices such that they can become mini video production ecosystems within the device.
Social media users are wanting mobile devices to act as deployment vehicles into the content wars being fought out by bloggers, business and personal brands, and those advocating for some cause or call to action.
In this realm we will also find legacy content subscription companies such as Foxtel, Netflix, and TV2U will enact smart “At the Edge” content delivery to any device, at any time, with full analytics, encryption, pause TV capabilities, and other features.
More and more the static TV experience is being redeployed to tablets and smartphones as a mobile world is no longer bound by being imprisoned by the subscription models and limitations of set top box technology, and network boundaries of the Telstras of the world.
The Over the Top (OTT) model through internet ecosystems straight to end user devices that the end user dictates they wish to receive content on, will render these existing business models obsolete. This makes smartphones and tablets of more use to the consumer.
More and more we will find we can have video on demand at the transactional level (TVOD), or organize our own menu of aggregated content services as a subscription (SVOD), as the end user takes control of what, when, and how they will see content of their choice.
More and more our entertainment will move out of the lounge room and into our smartphones and tablets as players such as TV2U innovate the legacy and new content into convenient packages to suit lifestyles. This makes these devices essential to own and the manufacturers are then trying leverage this opportunity in their device design.
In this context we will find that the smartphone and tablet devices assume more prominence in the lives of consumers. Organisations will start to deploy their own TV channels and partner with companies such as TV2U to enable their reach to consumer’s devices.
This will occur in a way that full analytics can show consumer behavior and content impact, and if the conversion to purchase or call to action occurred as intended. Personalised advertising and personal content recommendation will show up in front of each of us.
This new wave of technology providers are now in the market to deliver content in a way that provides for advert insertion on the fly, full encryption, and HD quality that renders regardless of the device display formats and specifications. These players are device and network agnostic.
Google research shows just how important in the new economy is the online presence for business. Google states that 80% of consumers research online and will link a physical shopping experience with online research and comparison shopping.
Apple work to this strategy by providing volumes of user and technical information, and are confident they compare well and end up with the majority of purchase decisions as against their competitors.
The way forward for retailers is to have a well integrated physical store and online store shopping strategy where there are clear discount offers and compelling reasons to buy from that retailer. Apple are leaders in executing such a retailing strategy.
The Commonwealth bank economic research unit reveals that Australians may have spent over $23 billion in Xmas 2014 and so a multi-channel marketing strategy will gear a business to expose themselves to the rising percentage of online sales that makeup that rich opportunity. NAB estimate online sales to continue rising by 25% per year for the next 4 years.
This is predicted to reach a sustainable plateau of online sales representing about 12% of the total retail spend that consumers undertake.
The 2014 online Australian Click Frenzy online sales day which was then followed by the American Black Friday online shopping day event confirmed the current societal shift to a new economy model of online sales by digitally savvy consumers. Apple was one of the big winners in terms of sales on the day.
THE USER EXPERIENCE INNOVATIONS
In this way Apple is moving forward while Samsung which is a fast learning imitator who has closed the gap in key areas but who lags in other areas entering 2015. For example in 2014 Apple rolled out a convenient and innovative mobile payment gateway. Apple has tried to crack this market previously with an end user empowering payment tool which has a simple intuitive payment process.
Apple understands that an emotional minefield in any retailing experience are the queues to get to the payment till and pay for goods. Xmas crowds amplify this negative experience that can also negatively infect whatever other positive and carefully planned user experience a retailer like Apple plans and executes with customers.
Apple looked for innovation to queue bust their Apple in-store experience. What now happens via Apple Easypay is basically an Apple user can use their phone or a device to scan the in-store product and charge it directly to their iTunes account. They can then walk out of the store with their purchase and bypass the frustrations of a shop till queuing experience.
Likewise Apple is now analyzing its value service chain to understand how to offer nearly same or next day delivery services where possible. In the new economy a business will need to examine all steps of its service delivery chain and innovate, collaborate and offer novel or market disruptive new services which make them a standout differentiator in its chosen markets.
The survivors of the changing face of retail will need to know how they must gear their business to consistent and excellent customer service to create the possibility of evoking a customer experience based brand. There must be a positive stimulus of the senses and emotions of customers when they make contact with your business for if not then someone will be doing that to your detriment.
Competitors like Samsung realize that the era of being just a great purveyor of hardware products is over. The job Samsung now has is changing direction and creating a “Samsung experience” in customers based on the collaboration and harmony of content and technology. This will not be easy.
Samsung has one advantage and that is that it sits in the Android camp of developers, manufacturers and users who represent a potent pool of innovation and market stealth capability. This collective group actually has more Android devices in the global market than Apple but Apple is still the number one overall brand but losing dominance day by day in incremental steps.
The Android camp are very busy developing a new generation of smart phone and tablet applications which innovate many useful and quirky functions. Both camps now have offerings which enable retailer to consumer connections in new ways such as digital loyalty cards which replace their physical card equivalent in a consistent and targeted way.
Such enabling technology will change the landscape of retailers to adjust promotions, displays, personalized marketing campaigns in real time and take advantage of changing street traffic movements based on connection to passing human traffic by polling their smart phones and tablets. Digital marketing will enter a new era with this technology.
The sheer number of devices, products and entire systems that Samsung produces and the fact that many will be interconnected in coming iterations places far more demand on Samsung than Apple. Apple has to manage the seamless integration of some two dozen products whilst Samsung must create a unified UX design framework that will map across potentially hundreds of devices.
There is a whole new level or risk at this level for the Android operating system in general and the user base who develop off it.
The whole world of innovation and the complexity of physical and digital channel interactions, fuelled by smart phones, tablets and other devices, is a wheel still in spin. Apple is trying to innovate the next big thing and in 2015 it will attempt to grab the world’s attention by the Apple watch.
Apple tends to target big events to announce and reveal new products or trends. Apple hope to get investors and consumers at large talking about new products again, starting with its Apple Watch launch in April 2015.
This will come just after the Samsung March 2015 launch of the new Galaxy 6 phones. There may be further announcements either at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference, which kicks off in June 2015, or in the NAB event that year.
If Apple launches the Apple Watch then its main competitor will be the Swatch group rather than Samsung. This will be the first time that the Swiss Swatch group will directly compete in the market against an Apple product.
Swatch have the DNA of a proud lineage of Swiss watchmaking excellence behind them. The smartwatches market has been estimated by Citigroup to reach 10 billion USD in 2018 with traditional watch wearers being a key target market.
The device will communicate via NFC (near-field communication) and will be able to recharge itself via movement as occurs in traditional watch movements. The Swatch smartwatch will also let consumers make mobile payments and work with Windows and Android software.
There is no guarantee for success as Google found out in 2014 when it abandoned its Google Glass product without it being commercially launched. The ability of Apple to turn consumers on with this new innovation is being keenly watched in the post Jobs era.
In this competitive landscape Apple’s market share combined with Samsung’s market share makes up a dominant portion of the global smartphone and tablet market. The new entrants have a clear mission and are focused on overtaking Apple and Samsung firstly on the new entrants’ home turf, and then moving into the traditional markets of Apple and Samsung across the globe.
Each new entrant will have its own problems in terms of understanding and creating its own customer/user experience proposition from both a startup position and from a culture of being an electronics manufacturer mindset and culture. The battle continues.
CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP AND THE BRAND
Both Apple and Samsung have been success stories in terms of creating and evolving their brands into household names. Both are names that we each recognize when they are mentioned in the normal course of conversation.
Samsung has ever since its inception managed to quietly build its presence and reputation through consistency and purpose rather than through visionary leadership and innovative breakthrough strategies. As a Cuckoo they have been able to follow and re-implement others breakthrough innovations and within that new product market then innovate and imitate further themselves extremely successfully.
Samsung has learnt from this evolution and now has the DNA to take on a leadership role in the markets it chooses to participate. It is now influencing rather than just being influenced in its maturing model of leading consumers forward in mobile technologies and consumer entertainment experiences.
Samsung has pretty much flown under the radar of analysts and commentators when it comes to the core values that it stands for. Samsung shows up in technical dispatches, innovative product announcements, and economic analysis.
Samsung has pretty much avoided being dragged into corporate scandals which is important for their brand integrity and maintaining the sense of a steady and focused corporate giant. At worst in 2014 Samsung attracted press over the senior executive makeup and shakeups that had to occur as they lost market share in the smartphone and tablet markets.
Apple has on the other hand been a loud and noisy brand that garnered attention and truly was a pioneer in brand promotion as much as product promotion. Analysts and the consumers waited in anticipation for Apple to launch the next product and for their Apple messiah Steve Jobs to make the next announcement and show us all the way.
Apple has been a darling of the masses for a very long time but since the death of Steve Jobs we find that Apple has lost the confidence and the articulated response of a recognized leader. In this vacuum Apple has also recently been challenged on the way it pays taxes as a corporate citizen in the countries in which it operates.
According to the authors of Conscious Business theory such as Raj Sisoda, a Conscious Business is one who is ethical and prepared to pay its share of taxes in the countries and communities in which it benefits by doing business. Part of an ethical set of brand values is the accountability to a wider set of stakeholders than just shareholders of a company.
Apple has been uncovered along with Google and Microsoft of arranging its corporate structures and processes to shift billions of dollars offshore to any country it operates in such that it never effectively pays tax in virtually any of its markets. The idea is transfer pricing and the shifting of corporate income across subsidiary or related entity structures has been setup with an express aim of avoiding paying reasonable tax.
For a full appreciation of this global issue you can read the companion article on the CBAU website entitled “The Looming Wealth Inequity in Society and What It Means For Us All”. Apple has been shown to be an aggressive tax minimizer and avoider in its global operations and this flies counter to their public image as a savvy consumer friendly brand.
The issue has been viewed as serious enough to cause an American Congress committee to be formed and to summons Apple and other companies to explain their actions. The EU is examining the role of Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands in this transnational tax avoidance system involving many multi-national well known brands across all market sectors.
What has been embarrassing for Apple has been the May 2013 disclosure that indeed they pay only tens of millions of dollars in taxes as a result of earning many billions of dollars in the countries where they operate. For instance the Australian Financial Review reported in March 2014 that Apple was estimated to have shifted an estimated $8.9 billion in untaxed profits from Australian operations to Ireland over the last decade.
The Financial Review estimated that Apple had earnt about $26.7 billion in sales in Australia in that same period. The strategy of shifting income offshore to entities where they may or may not be domiciled for tax purposes to any one country has raised the alarm of many in society.
Apple has had its corporate reputation tarnished in this tax scandal. Apple has tried to justify its actions as being legitimate and within tax laws of the countries in which it bases itself.
The interesting fact is that a number of multi-nationals domicile some of their operations in Ireland. This choice may have something to do with the way the Celtic Tiger first amended its corporate laws in order to attract corporate players and their investment into Ireland.
Some analysts note that it is possible to setup in Ireland as a corporate entity and effectively pay no payroll tax. Apple has a major presence in Ireland but investigations have found that remitted earnings from offshore localities into Ireland are merely “passing through” onto another tax haven or to invisibility.
The figures are significant. When consumers read how a company such as Google or Apple pay only millions in tax on Billions in turnover then there is no moral defense available in the eyes of the community.
The idea that having smart lawyers and accountants who can exploit national laws and find ways to shift monies so it is hard to pin them down for taxation accountability is morally bankrupt. Their PR spin that it is somehow fair and moral just cannot be entertained.
It is a conscious strategy to avoid taxation obligations to the host communities where that income was earned. It robs that community and those taxpayers of much needed tax revenue to maintain communities and environments.
As such it can be argued that Apple is parasitic and not benevolent at all. According to various market research outcomes we know that reputation has been shown to affect how a company is perceived both internally and externally by consumers and markets.
Statistics show that that reputation can account for up to 75 per cent of the gap between a company’s book value and its share price. Apple can only suffer from this latest expose on its values as expressed in how it views and acts around paying taxes to the communities it conducts business in.
Sir Richard Branson takes a very Conscious Business view of what priority a company has with respect to its various stakeholders. In his view a company has first priority to look after its staff who work for the company, then come the customers and then the shareholders.
Shareholders benefit from the focus on the first two stakeholders rather from focusing directly on shareholders as is the case in old economy business mindsets.
WHERE TO NOW?
As we enter 2015 we find Apple is again at the peak of its powers and appeal in the market. Apple is living the benefits of being the latest competitor to market with a premium market segment smartphone and revamped iPad range which is resonating with middle class and wealthy consumers.
In the leapfrog nature of this industry we find that Samsung stumbled and fell in 2014 and now is in a crisis of sorts. Android has a lot to fear from the new entrants in the market for they are Android based and target the same lower cost markets as Samsung.
Samsung is fighting Apple in the higher aspirational wealthy consumer market segment while also fighting the new entrants in every other market. While both Apple and Samsung have been success stories in terms of creating and evolving their brands into household names we find that Apple has remained focused on its brand values and is still innovating new products such as the iWatch in 2015.
The interesting dynamic to watch will be the release in March 2015 of Samsung’s new Galaxy range of devices and where they take that range of products in an attempt to drive sales in its direction. It may be the last roll of the device for Samsung if they get it wrong for the new entrants are circling and aggressively pecking away at the Android nest.
It is all just a wheel still in spin.
LESSONS FOR US ALL
The lessons and strategies of Apple and Samsung illustrate new economy dynamics of how competition is being fought out using experience strategies, and extensive and tight physical and digital channel battlegrounds. The mindsets and approaches to business and completion, and how to innovate, disrupt traditional markets, and create new business value, is that which new economy business owners must learn and execute for business success.
We may not be a Samsung, a Sony or an Apple but business owners need to be all operating to the same key market conditions, competitive pressures, and changed circumstances that Samsung and Apple are engaging in now. The Conscious Business owner understands that business opportunities lie in the advent of any change in a business environment.
An informed examination of how early entrants into the new economy are enacting strategy and competing for business reveals that which any Conscious Business owner can adapt and work to a style and scale that matches their own operation. This also allows them to again differentiate from their competitors and to move their brand and position their business towards a “user experience” economy.
Where are you at in your conscious business evolution? Are you relying on products, strategies and thinking that the world has passed on from, just as Sony did for most of the last decade?
Do you know how to create that emotional experience with your customers and how to align your people to your products and services so that the principles of the emotional brand and strategy can start to take shape? Do you know what must take place for your business to survive and thrive in the emerging new economy?
Conscious Business Australia is uniquely positioned to assist you in your business journey towards the new economy. We transcend traditional old economy business and leadership coaching and consulting models by bringing to bear our innovative and leading edge Conscious Business Methodology.
Our unique combination of skills, insight, experience and methodologies enable us to stand apart from the tired old coaching and consulting “experiences” that still dominate the business world using old economy constructs and principles.
Come across and try the Conscious Business Australia “experience” which is built on the intersection of psychology, neuroscience, design, project management, marketing, channel design, and digital and physical product design/innovation/imitation philosophies.
Have a look at our website www.cbau.com.au for more information and for further articles and notifications of other courses and events that we run on a regular basis.
Richard Boyd, CEO Conscious Business Australia