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Apple has undoubtedly changed the face of the tech world, and the company has cultivated a loyal following while contending against its rivals. But they’re about to put their brand positioning to the test as they introduce their newest product since the Apple Watch: the HomePod, due to release in December 2017.

The new Apple HomePod poses a challenge to other voice-controlled speakers currently on the market, like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, despite their similar functions including spatial awareness, advanced sound technology, voice recognition, and mobile apps.

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All it takes is Apple’s brand positioning and loyal cult following to set their new products apart from the competition.

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The force of Apple’s brand—arguably the supreme manufacturer of 21st century technology—significantly strengthens the appeal of the HomePod.

The HomePod’s ultimate goal (to “reinvent home music” as a “breakthrough speaker”) only bolsters Apple’s authoritative positioning, a powerful stance on the project of combining the right blend of smart speakers and good music—something that, according to Phil Schiller in a recent presentation, has not been achieved yet.

Not until the HomePod. Or is this true? By virtue of originating directly from Apple, the HomePod may seem to have certain advantages. But do all consumers believe this?

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According to Schiller, Apple’s signature A8 chip also allows the HomePod to have the “biggest brain” in any speaker. However, even with the hype—the HomePods’s reception among potential customers has been lukewarm.

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Our prediction? HomePod will be a success—but not due to its claims of breakthrough technology and features. The brand awareness of the Apple name and customer loyalty will be the true reasons behind its success.

What do you think?

Source: https://www.apple.com/homepod/

The advertising world figured out long ago that consumers are hungry for media, and with that insatiable demand comes expectation for instant gratification. People want their media yesterday, especially music.

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Though music streaming platforms have spiked in popularity, they remain an untapped market for advertisers … aside from the usual digital ads.

Users of the free options are familiar (and maybe annoyed) with advertisements interrupting their favorite tunes. The platforms have provided ways around that, and many users think paying a small monthly fee is worth it to not have to listen to ads.

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It’s time to get more creative when it comes to targeting audio audiences.

Luckily, there is no shortage of users still choosing their free, ad-filled options. Between Spotify, Google Play, Apple Music or Amazon Unlimited, there are a plethora of platforms for consumers to choose from and for advertisers to pitch their products. Currently, 45 million people use the free Spotify service monthly.

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Today, digital audio ads are more popular than ads on AM/FM, which makes it the perfect platform to reach audiences across multiple devices­!

Companies like Coca-Cola offered listeners 30 minutes of ad-free music if they watch their video.

Reebok created their own Spotify playlist called “Reebok FitList” which marketed their brand without many consumers even being aware.

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Following Coca-Cola and Reebok’s lead can be beneficial for a wide range of industries, with the use of incentives and discreet placement.

Targeting consumers by interrupting their music streaming is not the way to capture hearts for your brand. Don’t be afraid get creative with how you tap into the audio audience!

This past week, Google founder Larry Page announced that Google is now Alphabet. The news was a surprise to the general public and generated robust confusion. I mean, really now – what is Alphabet? Is Google disappearing? And most important, what does this mean for my web browsing?!

Understanding Alphabet begins with a quick trip down memory lane, to 2004 when Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google’s founders, wrote Google’s IPO letter. In it, they quoted Warren Buffett, attributed much of the letter’s inspiration to his annual reports, and penned sections on “Long Term Focus,” “Risk vs. Reward in the Long Run,” and “Making the World a Better Place.”

Fast-forward to 2015.

Think of how Google has grown and transformed: it’s a search engine and browser; owner of Android, YouTube, Nest, Google Fiber, and Gmail; and pursues projects like self-driving cars and anti-ageing technology (Calico). These projects and companies, however, have become too diverse to keep within the Google box.

Alphabet is a holding company – the tool shed if you will – in which Google now resides as one of many precise, zealous machines. Different projects that started at Google are now so big, they will have autonomy as their own companies, with their own CEOs, and separate, distinct goals… but all companies will remain associated under Alphabet.

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As far as branding, however, Alphabet is receiving mixed reviews. “Google,” as a name, is gold: it’s a word, but not a word; it’s fun, yet serious. And “Alphabet” seems to appropriately convey the concept of creation and language. However, the images of children’s building blocks on the Alphabet webpage can’t help but conjure up thoughts of drooling, non-verbal infants who, while cute, are just not who we’d want associated with a great technological and business endeavor.

Overall, Alphabet is something to be excited about. Journalists and industry experts are comparing Google’s evolution to those of AT&T, Berkshire Hathaway, GE, and Bell Labs, each of which instills great hope and awe in what innovations will come.

Here, for your reference, we’ve compiled a quick hit list of some FAQs about Alphabet:

  • Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page are still at the helm with Alphabet, maintaining control of their initial vision
  • Yes, the Google search engine and Gmail will remain as they are
  • No, Alphabet is not a new search engine
  • No, there will not be an Alphabet OS/mobile phone

featured image source: uk.businessinsider.com