A few years ago, when I first wrote this piece in the Costa Rican newspaper La Nación, Apple had just broken ground in an innovative way that had nothing to do with technology, a new device or a new machine. Rather, they’d decided to reinvent the in-store experience and bring to life an educational concept called “Today at Apple.”
Now, two years later, they’ve brought out “Today at Apple (at Home)” – an extension of its in-store creative sessions for those who are social distancing… don’t miss it!
My first Apple product was an IIc computer that I learned to use while we were living in Mexico City in 1984. I didn’t know who Steve Jobs was and I never –in a million years– thought that my affinity with this brand would last a whopping three decades (and definitely more!).
Apple’s success is down to creativity and innovation. How does this focused approach pays back? In August 2018, it became the first company in history to exceed trillion dollar value, while in August 2020, Apple’s share price briefly topped $467.77, making it the first US company with a market capitalization of $2 trillion.
These examples form the basis for my discussion into Apple’s brilliance. To begin with, I’d like to refer to the case for creativity, firstly in advertising and always in business.
“Leading brands and agencies have known for years that creativity delivers better results than ‘safe’ and rational advertising. It’s been exciting to see recent examples that confirm this idea, with hard evidence suggesting that being creative makes you more memorable and effective and ultimately leads to better results for your business.”
This is how Keith Weed, former CMO of Unilever, introduced New Zealander James Hurman’s “The Case for Creativity”. Hurman was previously Head of Planning at Colenso BBDO in Auckland.
Having won 20 lions at Cannes International Festival of Creativity and more than 50 other prizes for effectiveness, his book backs up what we’ve always said: that the more creative you are, the more effective you’ll be.
WARC Rankings (formerly known as Gunn Report) maintain that awarded creative advertising is up to seven times more effective than non-awarded advertising. After listening to a presentation about this by Emma Wilkie in 2011 in Buenos Aires, I wrote down in my blog the most important notes and noticed one core idea stood out: “In advertising, nothing is more expensive than going unnoticed.” And in business, nothing is riskier than not taking risks.
Without creativity, we wouldn’t have the iPhone or the iPad or iTunes or the MacBook I’m currently typing on. This is because creativity is the spark that ignites innovation.
Without innovation, we wouldn’t have electricity, Uber, nor the supply chains that have made Zara into a titan of industry. Without innovation, a company’s days are numbered and for that reason, creativity is essential. As such, we need to realise that comfort zones are dangerous places.
I explained this in another way in a December 2013 article written by El Financiero newspaper, within which I had received a special mention for Entrepreneur of the Year: “By making creativity a habit, it becomes a way of also converting success into tradition.”
I then added a simple yet powerful and widely acknowledged idea: “Success is the fruit of vision.”
And so, to sum up, by leveraging this constant stream of creativity and applying it so elegantly, Apple had once again been innovative. In 2018, however, it wasn’t about technology or a new gadget or device; instead, they’d reinvented the in-store experience and brought to life a concept called “Today at Apple.”
Everything that exists and was made by us, the people, can (and should) be improved. This includes things like retail, the church (see Openhouse), museums, university, traditions –or even a pencil! Anything can be reinvented. And improved!
We see examples of this new idea in practice – e.g. hardware stores, people working with software – and you only have to look at the winners of the Cannes International Festival of Creativity to witness it too.
Back in 2018, I was writing from London, having already experienced this new in-store Apple phenomenon for myself.
Using the Tube map on my iPhone, I planned my route and took the Underground from Vauxhall to Oxford Circus to reach the Apple store on Regent Street –keen to witness this creativity and innovation first hand.
Unsurprisingly, “Today at Apple” seemed to be an idea that was alive, organic and full of promise. It offered free education; it empowered consumers through knowledge sharing; it reinforced loyalty, affinity, identification and intimacy. Not to mention, it offered a thousand options for different courses, tutorials and online classes.
And now, with the world still in the grip of a pandemic, Apple have launched “Today at Apple (at Home)” – an extension of its in-store creative sessions to allow those that are social distancing and remaining at home to get the full benefit.
Anything can be reinvented with ideas that are new-fangled, fresh and vast – even things like the doctor’s office, the neighbourhood grocery store, the law firm, the school classroom, the bank branch, the mechanic’s garage, the apartment dining room and the trajectory of our lives. The aim is to make these things into experiences that we, the people, want to repeat.
I’ll leave you with this final thought on creativity and innovation: “the world belongs to those who are crazy enough to believe that they can change it” –Apple says. And that’s exactly what they end up doing.