Apple began as a computer company. They made easy to use, elegantly-designed desktop and laptop models. They had incredibly passionate brand evangelists. They had an operating system that almost everyone recognized as superior. But in spite of all this, they never managed to get more than a very small percentage of market share.
So they changed their business model. They invented a new kind of portable music device. And they decided to get into the music business – because of the opportunity created by iPod sales. They sold over 250M of them, and they made a fortune on iTunes sales. But they didn’t stop there. Next up was a smart phone so advanced it took competitors years to catch up. And even the newest Android phones have trouble keeping up with the iPhone 4.
The point is, Apple could have always been a small, well-run, successful computer company. But instead they chose to move into other product and business lines. And as a result, Apple is now worth about $200 billion, and Microsoft is just behind that, at $197 billion.
In my own company, we decided in 2008 that there was more potential in social media marketing than in traditional advertising. So we decided to learn everything we possibly could about best practices in the social arena. We spent hundreds of hours Facebook, Twitter and other sites studying what works best, and what falls short. It’s an ongoing education, and we also learn something valuable with each new project.
We tell our clients – you have to give your brand evangelists what they want. Even if that isn’t exactly what you’re offering today. It worked for Apple, and it will work for your company, too. Innovation is the key to leaping right over your competitors. No matter how big they may appear right now.