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Lines out the door

How does a brand like Apple get their customers to camp out in the rain, cold or heat, out the front of their store, waiting to get their hands on the newest product they sell? The trick is they don’t. People do so themselves. It was 8pm on the night of July 29, 2010 - middle of winter in Sydney and it was COLD. A mate of mine and his girlfriend decided to be 3 of the crazy people that lined up out front of the Sydney Apple Store in the middle of Sydney’s CBD for the iPhone 4. We had people jeering us, drunks coming out of bars at 4am hurling abuse at us, being woken up by street sweepers and then eventually news cameras and microphones in our faces. We had reporters asking why the hell we’d just waited 12 hours in the cold for a phone. A MOBILE PHONE! We were 5th in line but we easily could have gotten one of these phones the next day by just walking into the store. However we did what we did just to be first - to be an early adopter. Because we believed in what Apple offered as something that would create change in our lives and we wanted to have that as soon as possible. I’m admittedly a total Apple fanboy but to have me camp out front of your store or wait in a long line for something, it doesn’t just click overnight. You’d have had to built up a positive and memorable experience over time, like Apple had done for me nearly 20 years before that night, when I first used an Apple computer at school at age 6. Customers don’t wait in line for an In & Out Burger, for an iPhone, for concert tickets, Yeezy sneakers or midnight screenings of new movies because we tell them to. They do it for themselves because up until that point you’ve already given them every reason to want to be a part of your brand experience as a result of all kinds of marketing efforts leading up to a launch. For them it shows loyalty, advocacy and appreciation in return. Why they camp out or stand in line however, is because the customer believes they will receive a greater experience that is of value to them, predicated on either scarcity or simply to just be first. That’s it.


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