Contrasts in lifestyle
approach

In the high tech industry I’d say that Apple better than any other company can sell products and services using the concept of lifestyle.



Published: Sat 5 Jun 2010, 11:43 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 3:52 AM

Let’s start by a brief look at Acer, the number two computer manufacturer worldwide in overall computer sales and number one in portable computers. Acer’s explicit strategy is taking the latest technology available in the market and bringing it to consumers in various products as quickly as possible. The Taiwanese company is known for putting together hardware and less so for software and lifestyle.

But when Acer announced their Clear.fi “home cloud” solution in Beijing recently, they took another step toward being a lifestyle company rather than the assembler of hardware components they’re known to be. This should mean an apparent switch in their strategy.

In contrast to this, Apple has for the last 10 years or so now occupied the technology lifestyle space. They introduced the first iPod in 2001 and haven’t looked back since. Wanting to control the “user experience”, Apple provides a complete solution to customers, be it iPod, iPhone, Mac or, most recently, iPad. They also seem very reluctant to make any compromises in delivering their vision of what the consumer experience should be like.

I would argue that this unwillingness to compromise in the design of their products and execution of their strategies is one major reason behind Apple’s success.

So what’s different about selling a product as a lifestyle solution rather than a bunch of components put together?

For starters a consumer buying a lifestyle item is less likely to be interested in the specifications of the product, the “speeds and feeds” if you like. They’re interested in how it fits in to their daily life, makes aspects of that life better, faster, easier, more enjoyable, etc. To then focus on the components inside and how good you are at putting those components together in a computer, for example, is not really going to work. This is something Dell seems to have caught on to in recent years.

In lifestyle it’s coolness that matters and Acer is many things but cool. If Apple was launching something similar to Clear.fi, and they already have some components of the same functionality, they would probably mention some “speeds and feeds” but they would receive much less attention. Instead, Apple would focus on how this thing fits in to your life, what value it would add, and, last but not least, how cool it is.

Although I think it’s exciting that Acer is moving in to lifestyle territory I also think they’re in for a tough challenge. When they’re just about to take the number one spot as the world’s leading computer company they’re switching gears. I suspect that what got them to the position they’re at in the market is not what will keep them there, at least not with an increased focus on lifestyle.

(Magnus Nystedt is Managing Editor of Shufflegazine.com, Tech Lifestyle Magazine based in Dubai. With an aim to educate, inform and entertain consumers, he reports on what’s happening in the world of tech, gadgets and gaming with a local and regional perspective. Follow him on Twitter as @mnystedt.)


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