Here’s a conversation that was going on on twitter the other night among PR practitioners. Read from bottom to top. Paull Young asked about the importance of teaching the new generation of PR pros (that would be you, PR students!) citizen journalism skills. Read and see for yourself what skills are important, and do your best to learn them.
So IT (inevitable tragedy) happened. I dropped my iPhone.
- pay $250 for a replacement unit (by mail or in an Apple store)
- pay $150-200 for some company to put in a replacement screen (which voids the Apple warranty)
- continue using it, although the glass is cracked, the beauty is gone, and my eyes tear up every time I look at it
- (no, the $5 DYI option is not an option)
I’ll pay $250 for the replacement unit. Although I know I’ll probably drop this one too, sooner or later (please, God, later!). So I investigated the possibility of buying some kind of insurance against accidental damage.
An AT&T store manager recommended Safeware, and other sources suggested checking with home/renter’s insurance companies. Geico doesn’t offer it, but apparently State Farm does. I called two State Farm agents and they both told me State Farm stopped writing this policy for the iPhone because they were losing money. A Safeware customer rep. told me Apple hasn’t released components for the iPhone, so no one can repair it – that’s why insurance is not available. I did find one company who offers iPhone extended warranty (just like Apple Care) and Accidental Damage Protection (ADP): SquareTrade. You can buy ADP only within the first 30 days of getting a brand new iphone. The rep. told me they’re also considering dropping iPhone coverage, because it doesn’t make financial sense.
I hate Apple.
But I love my iPhone.
So, does having a good/revolutionary product mean you can abuse your market? Dictate your own terms, set high prices, refuse insurance, make it difficult for other companies to insure your product, charge a fortune for a replacement unit when you know it will, sooner or later, break?!
What are the factors that make it possible for Apple to “abuse” customers and still keep them coming back?
- a good product. After having the iPhone for a few months, I can’t imagine living without it. It’s useful! It’s beautiful. I’m emotionally attached to it, to the pleasant experience of using it, and to the unique feeling of “cool!” (powerful branding, there). I know it’s silly, but I can’t help it. It’s gotten me at a level deeper than reason.
- targeting a high-end market. People who buy the iphone (most of them, anyway) can afford the $250 replacement cost. They won’t be happy about it, but it won’t break the bank.
Apple’s marketing strategy works – but is it good PR? Apple has the potential to define a new type of organization-public relationship: the (happily) abusive one! Can this type of relationship last, in the long run? Does it provide enough of a trust cushion to carry Apple through a major crisis, should one happen?
What do you think?
Is Apple’s marketing strategy somewhat abusive? What makes it work? What does it mean for PR and the long-term relationship with publics? How do you feel about your iPhone? How do you protect your iPhone? If it broke, would you pay $250 to replace it? If it broke again, would you pay $250 again?