By: Robert Brunner and Stewart Emory, FT Press (2009).
If you know anyone in love with an iPhone, you may understand the feelings that Brunner and Emery describe. According to them, this fierce devotion extends past the product to the company, and enables Apple to charge higher prices and be forgiven for any mistakes.
Does this apply to companies that don’t make the latest must-have gadget? Only if you concentrate on designing the customer experience as carefully as Apple has designed the entire experience of an iPhone purchase: the meticulous product design, the anticipation, the storytelling, the retail stores full of techies to answer questions, the exquisite packaging, the intuitive interface, the geniuses who do the set up, the follow-up emails, and the easy (and often free) downloading of thousands of apps you never realized you wanted.
If, and only if, you create a company that is focused on creating better-than-expected customer experiences, you can reap the benefits. That means top-down permission to play, no cutting corners, no incremental changes substituting for innovation (think Razr phones), quick prototyping, and even quicker response to the market (think GM).
While the recommendations are easier to apply to a product-focused company, they will apply to services. If you’re in charge of a small company that needs to innovate, or in charge of design and need to sell your ideas company-wide, this would be a good book to use.
I’d give it an 8.5 on the LL innovation meter—not a lot of new insight, but a persuasive argument.