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5 things entrepreneurs can learn from Apple launch events

Apple is probably one of the most secretive companies in the world, while simultaneously being one of its most popular brands. Its events are also the most glamorous and certainly the most talked-about. What can startups learn from this?

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Ever since the introduction of the iPhone back in 2007, tech companies have turned their launch events into rock concerts. What Eddie Murphy did for stand-up comedy, Apple did for Silicon Valley.

Whether your startup is pitching an idea to a group of Dragons or launching a new product, there are definitely a few golden nuggets of wisdom we can take from Apple’s keynotes.

Ooze confidence and be prepared

It’s said that former CEO Steve Jobs used to practice his presentation weeks before the event. He knew what he was talking about, and his bravado and confidence made him believable. So much so, that he managed to recruit an army of devoted followers, all rallied behind a freaking phone.

His aura, if you will, motivated people to the point of no return. That applied as much to his team of engineers as it did his customers. So strong was Jobs’ charismatic ability to inspire ambition in his employees and customers that it inspired its own term: the Reality Distortion Field.

It’s said that in many cases investors invest in the people who pitch the ideas, not the product itself. The ability to make other people believe that your vision is doable is golden. People going ape is priceless. I mean, look at this guy:

Capitalism at its best
Create media cliffhangers

Apple loves building up hype for its events. It never gives away too many specifics. It just sends out a time and place, and people show up foaming at the mouth, wallets ready, fists pumping the air.

An invitation by Apple in 2012.
Even if your startup doesn’t introduce the next iPhone, creating hype is good. Before your product or site launches, prompt people to sign up for a newsletter or follow you on Twitter. Don’t spam them, but keep them interested, informed and best of all, keep them guessing.

You don’t have to be first to market, you just have to be good at marketing

If we look at some of the iPhone 6’s features, people raved about the fact that it has NFC (Near Field Communication)  Apple definitely played the part even though so many Android devices have had the technology for years now.

Many successful tech companies today didn’t necessarily invent new products. Instead, they borrowed heavily from the many others that came before them, with a few added tricks up their sleeves. They knew the right people, understood the market, and so forth. Ultimately, they knew how to execute their ideas well.

Speak about your audience, not the product

People (read your prospective customers) are more important than whatever it is you’re launching. You could be introducing orange mittens for bunnies or a hotdog — make it relevant for the audience, and they’ll love it. If you can convince someone how you’re satisfying their need, you’ve won.

Look at how Apple introduces its products. The promo ads with all the pretty people living in luxury put more focus on lifestyle than the actual product features. Eventually Cook calls out the technical lead who then runs through all the specs and boring bits, but that’s not what Apple is about. “It’s really about the experience,” the current Apple CEO always reminds us.

Your audience isn’t all techies or gadgeteers, so don’t limit yourself to just them. Dumb it down a bit. Give everyday examples, speak about your vision and philosophy and make sure people understand what you’re talking about.

Throw a freakin’ party

Everyone likes a good party. And boy, does Apple know how to throw a good party! Instead of a dreary press release, an invite to a physical venue usually stirs up expectation. It makes the invitee feel special.

While the Cupertino-based giant’s taste in music isn’t always on the dot, it definitely makes an effort highlighting its dedication to the industry with live performances from the likes of the Foo Fighters and U2.

It gives Apple a bit more personality that speaks to a wider, more commercial target market than the geeks.

Image via USA Today.

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