Fans of World of Warcraft know the date of the next release, fans of Harry Potter know when the next movie will be out, so does the fans of Twilight, fans of Muse know when their concert is and I feel that most marketo-geeks throughtout the world know when the next Apple Keynotes will be out and even probably the time.
Setting a date, make an appointment with your audience has proven its efficiency in all sorts of media and services :
- Every day at 20h, you get the news on national TV.
- Every sunday, you have a big family movie on TF1.
- Every monday, the release of your favorite magazine.
- Every week, new content on Ted.com.
- Every year, you would get a new Harry Potter book.
- Every Friday, a new Dr House episode.
- Every Friday, it's fish day among some religions.
- Every Wednesday, you get a new cartoon from Kenazart.
Setting the date is particularly good to gain the loyalty of your audience. The expectancy of the new episode, release, will give them time to talk among each other and the witnesses of their talks will... hear about the product and probably check it out on its next issue.
The power of series comes from two rules of human natures:
1) Humans are habit oriented creatures, they are as a group not very keen on trying new things if they are not sure it's going to be enjoyable. They will, in majority, order the same thing in a restaurant, not willing to risk on not enjoying their dinner.
The series have this power. Ones you enjoyed caracters or a teamwork, having a new episode out is probably going to be as enjoyable as the first one.
2) What makes them more willing to try something new? If they hear 3 of the people talk about it and mention what they liked about it. Viral messages take a bit of time to run through communities as they occur during those unformal talks usually at dinner parties or while having coffee. Series and seasons are great for that as they give time for the viral messages to spread.
Well Steve Jobs and his witfull team are just exploting those rules of nature.
Twice a year, you get the big Apple show with the official release on Apple new products. The "secret" is a big thing at Apple, apart for the occasionnal leeks that nurture the community... speculating, talking, giving their point of view...sometimes even creating their own mockup of the next product. Their own version of ads.
Community created ad for the iSlate, on the day of the Apple Keynote
(On January 27th, it counted 34 000 odds views.)
Here a little Google Trends of the keywords "iPad, iSlate, Apple Keynotes".
The effect in the team of this biannual deadline
Whenever your team gets that kind of BIG deadlines, failing or not meeting the deadlines are just not an option. That can really drive your productivity forward.
Other companies would use the attention of big tradeshows to release their new product, which is already pretty good. Apple, just doesn't, they don't share the attention. :-)
Apple, like novels, is about making it a puzzle
To conclude, I would say that it seems to me that Apple, like big best-sellers, uses another aspect of human nature, the lingering power of unanswered questions. But that one deserved a whole post. Soon.