Global Marketing

5 Apple Watch Launch Secrets Hidden In Plain Sight

It’s often said that “success leaves tracks.”  So, as Apple launches a new wearable device, what marketing tracks are being left by one of the world’s most successful companies?

1). Cultivate Exclusivity and Excitement
Apple Watch is initially being offered in just nine countries: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the UK, and the US. With orders going live on April 10, the watch “sold out” within a few hours. In fact, initial estimates show that on the first day of availability, approximately 1 million people placed an order, putting the watch on track to be the company’s biggest new product release ever. So, did Apple somehow miscalculate global demand? That seems unlikely.

Instead, having a dramatically quick “sell out” is simply part of their launch plan. In just one day, Apple created both a perceived sense of pent-up global demand as well as a perceived sense of scarcity. Everyone who already ordered a watch now feels like they are part of an exclusive club, increasing the likelihood that they will give positive word-of-mouth testimonials once it arrives. Everyone who didn’t order one yet now feels like they are missing out and need to catch up- ASAP!

2). Create Simple, Consistent Messaging
While often lauded for its clean and simple design aesthetic, Apple’s minimalist marketing style has the added benefit of dramatically simplifying global launch. With a consistent logo and brand identity, the Apple Watch landing pages around the world share the same phone example and a just a few words of text. Although even the simplest of English phrases, such as “Watch the TV Ad,” need to be translated with care across cultures, Apple’s translation task has been made exponentially simpler by using the bare minimum of text and bold graphical elements.













3). Build on Prior Success

It’s difficult to overstate the market momentum of Apple’s overall franchise. According to Slice Intelligence, 72 percent of initial U.S. Apple Watch buyers had purchased an Apple product in the past two years, and 21 percent of them pre-ordered an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus just months ago. In other words, if nothing else, Apple has created an incredibly lucrative upgrade for iPhone 6 owners around the world. These repeat sales figures are not a coincidence. Apple has created a brand loyalty that is second to none, and it continues to serve its core base of customers with laser-like focus.

To put things in perspective, this sales data shows the time it took previous new Apple category products to reach 1 million in sales:









4). Craft a White Glove Experience

As you might have heard, there are three types of Apple Watches – Watch Sport, Watch, and Watch Edition, with prices ranging from a low of $349 for a Sport version, all the way to the gold-plated Watch Edition that lists for $17,000. (Mashable has an excellent comparison chart if you’re in the market!)  Apple Watch Edition customers will not only get to wear a truly exquisite-looking luxury device, but they will also receive a special in-store shopping experience, a leather charging box, and two years of direct customer support.

Apple has not released estimates of how many of the high-end Edition watches it plans on selling. However, from a marketing perspective, it doesn’t really matter how many are actually sold because the halo effect they provide is incredibly powerful. Think about it: if some people are paying more than $10,000 for the Apple Edition, then paying $349 or $599 or even $1,000 seems like a bargain. Also, even though most customers will not get to experience the new white glove service first hand – most Apple fans have probably read about and fantasized about that level of service. Don’t be surprised if Apple stores start selling varying levels of a “luxury membership experience” across its entire line of products.












5). Model Brand Love

It might seem obvious, but if your own internal team and top leadership are not enthusiastically embracing the brand at launch time, then it will be an uphill battle to get your customers excited. Steve Jobs was a master at conveying his enthusiasm for various Apple products – many (if not all) of which were “insanely great!” according to Jobs. Tim Cook has picked up this approach, and his enthusiasm for the new Apple Watch is undeniable. In a recent CNBC interview, Cook explained that his favorite model is the stainless steel Apple Watch with the white fluoroelastomer band. “I love it. I exercise in it and wear it most of the day… I’ve got a couple other bands, too, because I also like to change them out. But I’m wearing this one the most, so I’d highly recommend it.”  Notice how Cook is not only enthusiastically embracing the new product, but also modeling how people will want to try additional bands, use it for exercise, etc. Essentially, Cook is teaching the Apple fan base how to love the new watch as much as he does.


There are many reasons while Apple Watch might fail, especially because it’s hard to gauge whether or not consumers around the world will truly embrace a wearable device on their wrist to the degree they have embraced earbuds on their head or iPhones in their pockets. As they say – time will tell!

That being said, Apple Watch will not fail due to lack of marketing impact because these five approaches have been combined to create an incredibly successfully product launch that marketers from all industries would be wise to track:

1). Cultivate Exclusivity and Excitement
2). Create Simple, Consistent Messaging
3). Build On Prior Success
4). Craft A White Glove Experience
5). Model Brand Love

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Jim Walker

Jim Walker

Jim Walker is Director, Marketing Strategy at Cadient, a Cognizant Company. Jim provides innovative marketing insights for a wide range of clients, as well as leading Cadient’s content marketing strategy. He is particularly interested in helping brand teams effectively leverage their digital content. He can be reached at
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