Apple’s second-generation iPhone 3G is set to hit the market Friday to the by now customary camping lines and fanfare, and, more importantly, high sales expectations.
And while it’s fun to partake in all of the speculation and hand-wringing over specific features (iPhone App store, enterprise IT compatibility, battery-life), the truly important underlying dynamics can often get lost in the fray.
One such factor: The ingenious marketing employed by Steve Jobs and Co.
And it’s here that "The Magician", or more specifically, "The Magician" archetype comes into play:
As I first heard this pointed out by Rich Schefren and Jay Abraham in one of their "Maven Marketing" teleconference calls from earlier this year:
Steve Job’s is perfectly, and, we must assume, somewhat deliberately positioned as a "Wizard of Oz"-like character in the consumer electronics space, the magician who disappears behind the curtains and reappears with new, ever-more-amazing wonders of technology.
While I had studied archetype branding myself for a while, I must admit that I had never heard the Steve Jobs/Magician analogy used up to that point. And when the unveiling of the new iPhone 3G occurred June 9, Rich and Jay’s brief remark snapped right back into focus for me.
Here he was, Steve Jobs, "The Magician" on the stage of the WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference).
Mind you there is a vast amount of orchestration going into this feat. From Apple design philosophies (their "clean" design could be seen to evoke "grail"-like associations!), to purposefully withholding detailed product information until the timed announcements at Mac conferences, to Steve’s own stage-craft in triumphantly unveiling the new gadget of the day.
Everything has to be just right to fully support the archetype. But in doing so, whether consciously or unconsciously, Apple and Steve Jobs are occupying a very valuable space in the minds of a fickle public. And "The Magician" image serves both an extremely useful guide-post (does this next action fit our archetype branding?), as well as a uniquely powerful marketing device in this respect.
It is a brand quite literally burnt deep into the neural networks of consumers world-wide, in a way that even the valuable Apple brand never will be:
Nothing sticks better in the mind than these largely unconscious, archetypal patterns, the original building-blocks of the human mind. At that level, you don’t have to explain very much at all. It’s simply understood, and universally so (archetypes hold true across all cultural contexts).
Many marketers and small business owners ignore this fact each and every day at their own peril, "leaving" the proverbial "piles of money on the table."