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How to Create the Apple Store Experience for Your Own Brand

photo-10-306x230After going on the road for a workshop or a presentation, I usually check out of the hotel and cab it to the airport, trying to make it home for some quality family time.

This Friday was a different story.  This time, the family drove down from Cleveland to Columbus so we could all spend the weekend together in CBUS.  It was a wonderful surprise.

As we strolled along together that evening at the Columbus Easton Town Center shops (which are excellent by the way), we stumbled upon the Apple Store. None of us had ever been into an Apple store before, so we simply couldn’t resist.

Honestly, we could have stayed in the Apple store the entire day. 

The Apple Store Experience

I had one of those “Dad” moments you’ll never forget when my oldest son, Joshua, tested out the iPhone Siri for the first time by asking, “Where is the closest LEGO store to my location?

After repeating his question, Siri produced a map and directions to the nearest LEGO store (just down the street by the way) in about two seconds.  Joshua’s laugh upon seeing/hearing the results was intoxicating…pure joy from a 10-year-old.

I didn’t know this until doing some research for this post, but the Apple store averages about $4,000 USD in sales per square foot per year. In comparison, Best Buy does about $900 and Tiffany stores take in $2,500 (which is great, but not Apple great).

So, why are Apple retail stores the most successful on the planet? There are a lot of reasons, but I believe it’s because I can experience the store on my own terms.  I can go in and play (yes, play) with all the Apple products.  I can listen to music with Dr. Dre headphones. I can play Angry Birds on an iPad. I can test out the speed of the Mac Air while scrolling through some how-to videos on the iPad sitting right next to it. No dirty looks.  No “excuse me sir, do you want to buy that”‘s. I can also choose not to talk to any of the employees in the store, and use the Apple Store App to research and buy on the spot with no human intervention.

In addition, Apple spares no expense in putting together an insanely great store experience. While many other retailers look for the most efficient materials, Apple (ala Steve Jobs) will not settle until everything (and I mean everything) is perfect (if you do not know what I mean, read this book).

Whatever the reasons are, the truth is that I can experience the Apple store in so many different ways.  There may not be another brand on the face of the earth where the experience is so personal to the buyer.

Creating the Apple Store Experience through Content Marketing

But we are not Apple.  Our products may not be as cool, or our C-level as visionary as Apple. We may not even have products that can be experienced at all.  How do you create a brand experience without that?

It is possible…with content marketing.

Customers and prospects can…

  • Experience your expertise by providing them with the most compelling information about your industry.
  • Experience your culture by allowing your employees to develop content freely within your organization.
  • Experience your attention to detail by investing in your content through amazing design and flawless execution.
  • Experience your passion through your blog posts.
  • Experience your credibility by writing the definitive book for your marketplace.
  • Experience your humanity by reading your comments on other people’s blog posts.
  • Experience your product or service by first experiencing your valuable, compelling and relevant content (in all its forms), and in the process simplifying the customer’s buying process.

Customers and prospects really can know you, love you, respect you, and refer you because of your publishing, not just your products or services.  The game has changed. And, although this road is extremely challenging, the payoff is huge.

Is there a better way?