A Fond Farewell to a Customer Experience Visionary


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The American Marketing Association (AMA) characterizes loyalty as the situational in which a consumer (1) generally buys the same manufacturer-originated product repeatedly over time rather than buying from other suppliers, or (2) the degree to which a consumer consistently purchases the same brand within a product class.

By this standard, Apple customers aren’t loyal. Apple customers aren’t loyal, and as a matter of fact they can’t be loyal. Why? Because Apple customers don’t simply have a product or a service to be loyal to. Instead, they have a vision. Steve Jobs rewrote the book, set the standard and sold byte-sized pieces of a new way of seeing. The standard: be your authentic self.

In Jobs’ celebrated Stanford commencement address, he said “Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other peoples thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition they someone already know what you truly want to become.”

The genius of Apple products is that they provide a framework that makes individual expression intelligible across diverse social formations. With Jobs and his untouchable vision at the helm, much of what Apple did sparked fundamental shifts in the way we live our lives:

  • Apple II: The first real Apple personal computer changed the PC market forever with its point-and-click mouse.
  • Macintosh: Jobs captivated the world in 1984 with the introduction of the Macintosh, his “Think Different” campaign, and the iconic imagery he used, fittingly based on Big Brother in Orwell’s novel 1984.
  • iPod: A neon-colored background, an iPod and earbuds with a white wire made it possible for any person to find himself or herself in the well-known silhouettes used in the campaign to launch the iPod.
  • iPhone: Jobs’ vision led to the introduction of this revolutionary device that changed the way we communicate. The iPad soon followed, unleashing the concept of tablet computing on the public – and taking off.
  • Retail stores: Simply put, the Apple store created a second-to-none, award-winning customer experience that continues to shape way we shop.

But Jobs’ reach goes much further. After buying a small animation company called Pixar from George Lucas, Steve Jobs turned it into a multi-billion dollar empire that forever changed the face of film animation.

Each of us could use a product Steve Jobs envisioned to make something more, and be something more than what we thought we could have been before we used it.

Steve Jobs, a devout Buddhist and self-avowed secularist, was certainly not a saint, but he did give individuals a means to express the truth inside of them. In a tragic twist, mourners of Jobs have said goodbye using his products – whether life size images of flickering candles during a vigil on an iPad, or through literal Apples placed outside storefronts.

One of the many lessons we can take from Jobs is that when the market throws you lemons, sell apples. Rewrite the books on well-treated terms like “customer loyalty” by questioning the need for it. If your product is the best, let the idea take hold and see where the vision lands.

We’ll all study and try to emulate elements of what Steve Jobs accomplished for years to come. For now, it is with a heavy heart that we offer our goodbye, Steve, and our thanks for continuing to teach us all new ways to follow our vision.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Colin Shaw
Colin is an original pioneer of Customer Experience. LinkedIn has recognized Colin as one of the ‘World's Top 150 Business Influencers’ Colin is an official LinkedIn "Top Voice", with over 280,000 followers & 80,000 subscribed to his newsletter 'Why Customers Buy'. Colin's consulting company Beyond Philosophy, was recognized by the Financial Times as ‘one of the leading consultancies’. Colin is the co-host of the highly successful Intuitive Customer podcast, which is rated in the top 2% of podcasts.


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