About Apple’s unfair manufacturing in China: a branding issue
Since few days ago, some media were commenting on the story that Apple Inc, manufactures most of their products in China under conditions that are by all means abusive to workers. Although I don’t endorse such a practice, I got surprised all this fuss is made towards Apple, being that technology companies of all sorts, not only American but from other industrialized countries follow the same scheme to cut costs and maximize profit.
For what I have seen, read, heard, and been informed about, a paradigm of our business world for the last two decades, a most pressing need, has been to maximize shareholder value.
This, if we start taking notches up results in taking production offshore, massive layoff in industrial countries, or exploiting workers in developing countries facilities to maximize profit. If you are involved in manufacturing, taking another couple of notches up results in a scenario were profit matters above all, and you may be abusive with the supply chain; if you are in the financial business, the result is putting national economies in the brink or collapse, and unleashing a crisis it will take years to overcome.
Fine, with that off my chest, CRANK Blog is a sales blog, so let’s look at the sales side(s) of this story so you find some value in it:
Let’s throw a new-old paradigm: Do you want to sell like a “natural”? Get rid of the idea of maximizing shareholder value at all cost, and start maximizing CUSTOMER VALUE, and SUPPLY CHAIN VALUE.
Sure this is optional, but keep in mind the concept of the cool.
Branding, same as sales, is conveying a specific set of values that result in spark of trust in the mind of our prospect. Apple’s success is about technology and great products, but the company branding is more about conveying a lifestyle, an identity mark, and specific values of creativity, independence, and so forth.
We like cool. We dislike uncool. Apple is cool, but What if instead of conveying creativity and simplicity and amazing design, the image of the company starts being associated with profit at all cost, exploitation, monopoly practices or other uncool stuff? How would profit and margins keep up if all of a sudden the gesture of popping out your i-pad, i-phone, MacBook or whatever, became an uncool thing to do? Remember that uncool travels ten times faster than cool.
So, do you want to sell like a natural? Include these easy steps in your strategy and sales practices:
(a) Be cool in maximizing customer value,
(b) Be cool in maximizing supply chain value,
(c) Let everybody know (i.e. brand it!!!)!!!
Business Developer: Forget about your canned presentations and your endless feature descriptions. Convey the cool, convey how other people became cool through your products or services. Invite those people to the sales cycle to say how cool it was to buy from you. So now you know, the goal of your next call, your next visit, your next sales presentation, is not to sell... Focus on conveying the cool, and then let them buy.