Jobs' Associative Pitch

Rarely the first, usually the best. That pretty much sums up how the world views a new Apple product. Of course, whilst the precise definition of that most subjective of words, ‘best’, can be hotly debated, the impact of their wares is widely lauded.

I caught their latest iPod upgrade event and raised an eyebrow at the accompanying launch of brand new Appleania. The first foray into social networking wrapped around music discovery, here’s how CEO Steve Jobs introduced it to the assembled adoring masses.

“One of the biggest things we focus on with iTunes is discovery.

There are more than 12 million songs to choose from, so how do you find new stuff?

So we’re launching Ping – it’s a social network that’s all about music.

It’s like Facebook and Twitter meets iTunes.

You can follow your favourite artists and friends and discover what music they like and are downloading.”

Five sentences. Line number four is the eye-opener.

When people pitch their new product to me, I am nearly always struck by how complex they make it sound. My lack of comprehension is compounded by the waffling. This races apace into garbled babble as they struggle to hammer home their point.

One key way to gain initial traction is to frame your new baby as the child of (at least) pair of already well-known and admired products. Jobs does this right here.

I’ve no idea how a Facebook-Twitter hybrid would look, much less why I’d need it meeting iTunes, yet the seed is successfully sown. It’s a short message social media music thingy.

Regardless of its direct appeal to me personally (low) and early adopter feedback (apparently also low) it admirably provides an open box for discussion. Further than the ‘lovechild’ approach, you can build on this by suggesting dominant forces. By way of quick made-up example, ‘two-parts Twitter one-part Myspace when it was cool, one-part your favourite iPhone App’.

I sometimes feel that ego gets in the way for many a rep. They think perhaps that by mentioning other products they diminish the impact of their own. Jobs clearly does not share this handicap. If he can get over it, then so can you.

Which products already out there, of high repute, market-shaping and game changing, is built on by what’s new in your bag? Cast your net even farther. Which companies are renowned for the attitude that your new product brings? Mix and match for hours of fun to conjure snappy, memorable new product associations.

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