Today, exactly 10 years ago, Apple introduced the iPhone. During his keynote presentation at Macworld Expo in San Francisco, the late Steve Jobs told the audience that:
Today, we’re introducing three revolutionary products.
The first one is a widescreen iPod with touch controls.
The second is a revolutionary mobile phone.
And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device.
So, three things: a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone, and a breakthrough Internet communications device.
An iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator.
An iPod, a phone… are you getting it?
These are not three separate devices. This is one device.
And we are calling it iPhone.
Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone.
For the thousands of people in the auditorium, as well as for the crowd of technology enthusiasts like me that followed the event via a live blog, this was certainly a wow! moment.
This was one of these points in time when you recognize that a product or service is a must have that might change your life. Something powerful enough to make one say: “Wow! I’ve never seen (or heard) something like this in my whole life.” Or, like Jobs had perfectly described this moment a few seconds earlier in his speech:
Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything. And Apple has been – well, first of all, one’s very fortunate if you get to work on just one of these in your career.
Apple’s been very fortunate. It’s been able to introduce a few of these into the world.
In 1984, we introduced the Macintosh. It didn’t just change Apple, it changed the whole computer industry.
In 2001, we introduced the first iPod, and… it didn’t just – it didn’t just change the way we all listen to music, it changed the entire music industry.
So, as a product marketer and a public speaker, what can you learn from the January 9th, 2007 iPhone announcement? besides that the iPhone was – and still is – a great disruptive product. Here are a few tips on how to turn a new product introduction into a memorable wow! moment:
- Try to reach an audience as big as possible (though make sure that they are your target customers.) Press releases and webinars are good communication means, but a live audience (as the Macworld one) will beat them as you can use the people’s enthusiasm to echo and amplify your message.
- Build up a tension and connect emotionally with your audience by telling a story, showing a video or playing some proper (not necessarily upbeat) music. Remember the brown envelope that Jobs pulled the MacBook Air from, or the Chariots of Fire theme that was played when Apple introduced the first generation Macintosh in 1984.
- Also a (preferably spectacular) product or feature demonstration can do wonders. The Macintosh also introduced itself in a digitized voice: “Hello, I’m Macintosh. It sure is great to get out of that bag…” Of course, always mind the demo devil and be ready to deal with unexpected failures – like the Wi-Fi failure that the Apple CEO had to deal with when demoing the iPhone 4.
- Use strong words like “reinvent”, “revolutionize”, or “disrupt” to pull on the audience’s hearts and minds. You can make reference to an earlier innovation of your company (as Jobs did to the Macintosh and the iPod,) or compare this moment with another major events in history (during a shareholder presentation, Steve Jobs compared the introduction of the Mac to the invention of the telephone.)
Sometimes a wow! moment just comes spontaneously (or even unexpectedly.) But if you want to make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to wow! your audience, then you’d better plan, script and rehearse your presentation well in advance.