Blog | 13 September 2013

Beware cheap imitations: how Steve Jobs inspires great content marketing

Steve Jobs designed inspiring products. We should invest time, energy, expertise and passion in creating content marketing.

Photo Credit: Henri Lamy

Do you remember going on holiday in the UK with your parents when you were a child? Maybe to Cornwall or perhaps the Yorkshire Dales? Camping or maybe a holiday home?

If there was one thing you could be sure of, it wasn’t the British weather, the ubiquitous box of travel sweets or sharing the back seat with your irritating sibling for seven hrs. It was that at some point the car would break down. Then cars did break down and the AA wasn’t an insurance company. It was a vehicle recovery service, and boy was it needed.

Fast forward 25 years or so and cars do seem to sort of work. Generally speaking they don’t rust, break down, or fall apart for no reason. Even the cheapest can do 100 mph and 100,000 miles on the clock doesn’t automatically signal a death trap
or automatic scrapping.

Just good enough

Most products these days do their job pretty well. And that’s the problem. We live in a world where consumables and services perform to an acceptable standard. This means there’s little to choose between them, so brand value and price fight it out on the high street.

So much of what we encounter is developed with the emphasis on efficiency and utility. But just because something can be done doesn’t necessarily make it attractive to do.

In some ways, we can apply this thinking to the rise and rise of interest, from both consumers and marketers, in content. Nowadays everyone is a content marketer, brands are content producers, and content just keeps falling from the proverbial sky like it’s being made by crack squads of content angels.

The innovation of Apple

I recently saw the film ‘Jobs’ starring Ashton Kutcher. As a film it’s OK but arguably didn’t do the man justice. He re-invented our relationship with technology. Not by making it faster, bigger, or stronger but by making it fun.

He realised that if products and services are designed so that they inspire joy and emotional involvement, people will desire them again.So this is what he did. Take a good look at the iPod, the AppleMac, the iPad. Remind you of anything?

Apple’s designers were briefed with making products that were good enough to eat. They took their inspiration from confectionery.

The Appleification of great content

So let us be reminded of that when it comes to content. We should aim to invest time, energy, expertise and passion in creating content that will truly engage the consumer and deliver for brands. Let us not refer to content as a commodity in abundance that can be plucked from the sky by anyone. It has a cost and it has a value.

In a world of imitations, anything short of this is destined to fail.

Alex Marks
Alex Marks
Strategy Consultant

Alex supports the strategic development of River's business and acts as an experienced marketing partner for our client teams. He is a regular commentator, writer and conference speaker on a wide variety of digital,  marketing,  and content strategy issues.