‘You are the Controller‘ says Kinect, the new gaming experience from Microsoft. Kinect beats its nearest rivals Sony Playstation and Nintendo Wii on the concept of playing games with a handheld motion controller. While PS3 requires you to play games with its ‘Move’ and Wii with Wiimote (or Wii Remote), Kinect doesn’t require any external motion controllers.
Why am I so excited about Kinect that I have started this blog post with it? I am not so much of a gaming freak to compare and contrast the quality of the games, nor am I interested in analyzing the top three ‘players’ from a business view in this market segment. I am really excited by Kinect’s promise of giving the control to YOU, the user. Well, in this post, I wish to review a few of the successful products out there in the market, analyzing why and how they thrived in the world of me-too products and those offering not so pleasant usage experiences.
YOU are the focus
Not just Microsoft or Kinect, but nowadays there are quite a few companies and products which are trying to lure you. They come in different shapes, sizes, colors, industries and domains. In this post, I will touch upon a few of them that have made a mark and succeeded in keeping their products, services and brands You-focused.
They make YOU (the users) omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent
Vodafone repositioned itself by giving “Power to YOU“. With the advent of innovation in the Telecom industry, jumping from 2G to 3G to 3.5G has been a breeze. Faster downloads, better connectivity and more things to do such as streaming videos etc., offered by the advanced technologies such as 3G provide a fillip to the users’ experience. Now, you can work faster, easier and better accessing your mails on the go, watching Cricket and Football matches when and where you want, watching the previews of latest movie releases.
They make you super-hero
Sample this, Yahoo which struggled to get it right for the most part of the initial releases of its products, for once changed its positioning and perhaps along with it, a few of its products design too. Along comes an enhanced and delightful Yahoo mail and Yahoo’s portal. There was a sea change in the way users now interact with Yahoo’s products and no guessing why all this happened. Yes, Yahoo realized and believe strongly that “YOU are the new master of the digital universe.”
They make you happy
Canon, with its continual innovation in the imaging products has been “Delighting YOU always“. If you look at the innovation that happened in the cameras and phtotography areas over the last few decades, you will agree with Canon. There were the days when you had to go to a certain photographer to get yourselves shot and wait for days to see the output. When on the first glimpse of your photo you felt really happy and pleased. You were delighted then. And what are you doing now? Clicking away hundreds and thousands of photographs, all by yourself with that tiny camera fitting in the pocket of your jacket.
Who is YOU
You are the typical office goer, a home maker, a young student aspiring to be a champion, a tech-savvy banker,a professor, an engineer working an oil rig… in short, you are a user, consumer, customer, stakeholder. As a user/consumer, you use the product and enjoy the experience offered before, during and after the usage. As a customer, you buy the product and so are an easy target for the manufacturers and marketers, who have been striving to grab your attention. As a stakeholder in the product, you are either directly or indirectly influencing the customers or the consumers in using the product. So, its only logical for these product vendors to go after YOU.
Take the (Yo)U- Turn
As an organization which offers products and services, you need to note that this is the age of consumers and they dictate the ways companies operate, whether they are large, medium, small. From companies selling computers to schools teaching primary students, there had been a rise in the awareness of Global awareness and local impact. They realized that their true fortunes lie not just in knowing about their users, and understanding them, but in treating, pleading and pleasing them. Its not the features, nor the technology that would help them get to their objectives of surviving the dog-eat-dog markets and making profits. It is the experience and delight brought out by the organization, brand, product or service, that makes the maximum impact on your customers, users and stakeholders.
What should the organizations do
To be successful in your industry segment, follow the leaders in your own or other industries. Google, Apple and Facebook did hinged their entire product strategy on the User-experience factor. YouTube , for instance, changed the way people create, consume and share the video content online. With the ability to upload videos of any (pre-defined) format and length and sharing the content, YouTube gave a new definition to user-generated content. It gave the users an easy and quick way of viewing,uploading, downloading, sharing, embedding videos anywhere. YOU got the power to “Broadcast Yourself“!
As a product manufacturer and marketer or a service provider, you also need to re-orient the ways in which your products or services have been designed, developed and delivered. Think about the major focus areas which have been in your product strategy and re-define them to suit the need of the hour. Onida, a reputed Indian manufacturer and marketer of white-goods realized this earlier than others in their segment. Over the years, white goods (a.k.a. consumer durables) have become commodities and it had become extremely tough to maintain the market shares one enjoyed a few decades back. Onida re-positioned itself knowing fully well that consumers are the king and they should be the central focus of their product design. This had been evident in the recent launches of their products such as Microwave and Refrigerator which are easier-to-use and offer greater experience to the users. These products had been well received by the users because they were “Designed with YOU in mind“!
To conclude, I suggest this is the time to know that YOU are the most powerful entity in the universe. Relish the lavish praises, attention and luxuries being offered to you to the extent that you can choose the type of bank account that suits your choice and requirements. You can decide the talk plan to fit your wallet, the holiday to suit your family, budget and lifestyle and even you can decide how you wish the end the climax of a movie! You are the guest, for which most of the companies are going beyond their briefing to offer their service. So, sit back, relax and enjoy the privileges. No wonder, Time Magazine fittingly named the Person of the year, 2006 as ‘YOU’. Rock on!