Apple Vs. the Evening News: Lesson in Re-Defining a Category


There’s a ‘shock & awe’ quote for you.  I use it frequently in client meetings and presentations because it puts the importance of both into a light that many just don’t consider.

Every company markets to one extent or another; but not every company is innovating.

Innovation, especially for legacy organizations, isn’t easy.  Competition on a worldwide scale brings the perpetual better mousetrap. Those that don’t keep up lose market share and eventually go by the wayside.

Not News Directors; “Funeral Directors”

Take the network news shows.  I was amused by a former newsman’s remarks about the decline of network news, and the rise of cable. “News Directors should instead be called, Funeral Directors,” he said, explaining that the viewership decline was due to the fact that the shows continue to broadcast the same thing: the same format, the same programming, that they did three decades ago. 

“They’re no longer relevant.  They’re not managing ideas — they’re not even coming up with any.”

Contrast the networks’ dilemma with the top tech firms – all continually re-defining their categories in one way or another.  With Google’s sudden rise and massive success being first to market with internet search ads (one of many possible examples), Microsoft, Apple and others race to re-define their own services.

Apple – always positioned with that edgy difference – perhaps best exemplifies successful re-definition with the Mac®, the iPod®, the iPhone®, and now, the iPad®.

Apple is admired on many levels.  But what makes it a true bellwether is how masterfully it embodies, and proves, Drucker’s sage words.

 More on Re-Defining Your Product or Service to come in Part 3 of this Series