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Be a game changer like Keurig and the iPad

April 4th, 2010 · 13 Comments · Branding, Strategy

Keurig_drewmclellan Every once in awhile, someone comes along and instead of just adding to the existing industry or category — they literally change it.

In fact, they change the entire game.  They re-invent the way we think.  They create a want or need where we hadn't even imagined one to be.  They spark spin off products and offerings — from their own company or others.

Let's look at a of couple game changers and see what makes them so revolutionary. 

Keurig's Coffee Maker:  This amazing little device has completely shaken up the in home/office coffee making experience.  Let's look at the problems it solves:

  • I make a pot of coffee but have to keep reheating it throughout the day so I can have a hot cup when I want it
  • I make a pot of coffee but almost always end of throwing away most of it
  • I want to enjoy a variety of coffee flavors but I don't want to buy a full bag or can of each flavor
  • Sometimes I want hot tea or hot chocolate and can't make either in my coffee maker

Now… this little device has not only answered all of those concerns but it's also launched all kinds of new products (K-cups, display holders for the cups, a carrying case for traveling with your keurig coffee maker, water filters, etc. )

Ipad_drewmclellan Apple's iPad:  Like about half a million other people, I spent a fair amount of time this weekend playing with my new iPad.  I'm not going blather on about the coolness factor (although it is incredibly cool) but instead let's look at how this product is going to change our worlds.

The iPad is a computer, for all intents and purposes. And it's going to change the fundamentals of how we expect to interact with our computers from this point forward.

  • Kiss your mouse goodbye.  We're all going to want to be able to just intuitively touch our screen and move files, re-size photos, click on items and scroll through multiple pages.
  • Want to see that PDF in landscape mode?  Prefer to look at that photo vertically?  Just grab your "computer" and turn it and watch what's on your screen rotate to accommodate you.
  • Want all of your entertainment completely mobile, with high resolution, great sound and full functionality?  Now you can carry your movies (buy or rent), music, books and games.  With lightening fast speed and impressive graphic capabilities — you're all set.

The iPad has been out for less than 48 hours and the accessories are already starting to fly off the shelves.  Cases, keyboards, cords that connect cameras, screen protectors etc.  I can't even imagine the apps that will  be developed in the next few weeks and months.

Companies like Netflix, Amazon and many others are already re-tooling their offerings for the iPad, just like they did for the iPod.

But what about us?  Of course…this needs to loop back around to you and me.  Our companies aren't Apple.  We probably don't have a huge development team working in the lab.  So how can we be game changers?

If you look at the lists generated by the two game changers above, you'll see some common themes.

  • Both identified "annoyances" that everyone else dismissed as being "just the way it is"
  • Both looked at shifts in our daily life patterns and recognized a before non-existent opportunity
  • Both took time to observe and hear "I wish I could…" wants and figured out how to make them so convenient that they quickly became needs

What if you surveyed your best customers and asked these questions:

  • What are the three most annoying aspects of selling your house? (substitute your business appropriately)
  • Complete this sentence: When it comes to selling my house, I wish I could…. (again, substitute accordingly)

While you're waiting for their answers, ask yourself how your customers' lives have changed in the past 5 years.  What do they do differently?  What doesn't they do anymore?  What are they doing now that they never used to do?

Take your thoughts….and combine them with your survey results. I'm betting in the jumble of truths are some ideas worth pursuing.  Ideas that could be your game changer!

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13 Comments so far ↓

  • Dennis

    Drew
    I am not a fan of Apple or the iPad. I don’t think it is a game changer. I think if you read Gavin’s post about ‘none percenters’ along with Jeff Jarvis’s post today about how the iPad is basically anti-internet (on a philosophical) level – then I am thinking that it will be more harm than good that comes out of it. Apple has always liked the idea of proprietary systems way to much for my liking and to my mind a modern incarnation of the bad old Microsoft.

    In fact, I consider Apple to be a prime example of NOT being marketing orientated – in the Ted Levitt sense of the word.

    The only problem of course is that you can’t argue with success.
    To which I say: for now.

  • Dennis

    Sorry – I forgot to add that I agree with the sentiment of your post; and I even agree with the examples. It is just that game changer (IMHO) should have a positive effect.

  • Drew McLellan

    hey Dennis,

    Thanks for starting the conversation. I agree with you on one point — Apple’s proprietary system is exclusionary. Which seems out of character a bit.

    But…I do think this will literally change how many people access both the web and their e-mail. I read Gavin’s post but I didn’t hear him saying negative things. I heard him saying it is time we stop chasing our own tails and reach out beyond the 1% and the iPad will do that. He even used his parents as an example.

    Check out this review and let me know what you think. link to techcrunch.com

    Drew

  • a tube

    The iPad is awesome but I don’t like the decision to ignore flash. There are lots of legal movie/tv sources in the web that all use flash. For example Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show”. They regularly add new episodes to their website, I wish I could watch them on my iPad :/

  • Scott Townsend

    OK…I’m going to do it. I’m going to ask the questions and get ready for some “hold on to your seat” answers.

  • Kamy Larkin (formerly Herbst)

    Love the Keurig system…
    Did you see other companies are now creating similar brewing machines?

    Not much known about the Ipad, gonna have to check it out.

    Blog topic, LOVE it! Gonna ask the questions too…
    Good luck.

  • Aaron

    I think my problem with the Keurig is the amount of waste it creates. Before this “innovation” coffee making produced biodegradable grounds and a small amount of paper. Now we can expect our landfills to be full of millions of plastic K-cups. I actually think the Keurig is a huge step BACK, or at least a step in the wrong direction. I don’t know if this view comes across as “crunchy” to your readers, but how can this terrible wasteful design of Keurig be seen as beneficial?
    PS Keurig coffee also tastes like dried dirt, IMHO.

  • Donald Cunningham

    Drew,

    great post. I agree with you 100%.

    I feel that there is too much focus today on the product, which leads to tunnel vision and a focus on making a better product than competitors. But better is a losing strategy; someone is always going to be able to make a better product at a better price. Instead of focusing on being better than your competition, you should concentrate on being different; consistently challenging the industry’s underlying assumptions.

    I wrote about this in greater details in one of my posts: link to marketingstylee.wordpress.com

  • Andy

    I’ve tried desperately to be ambivalent about the iPad, but the more I hear people talk (or blog) about it, the more I want one.

    Great device, or social proof in action?

  • home made sex

    Thanks for such a great post and the review, I am totally impressed! Keep stuff like this coming.

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    s awesome but I don’t like the decision to ignore flash. There are lots of legal movie/tv sources in the web that all use flash. For example

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    I do think this will literally change how many people access both the web and their e-mail. I read Gavin’s post but I didn’t hear him saying negative things. I heard him saying it is time we stop chasing our own tails and reach out beyond the 1% and the iPad will do that. He even used his parents as an example.

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