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Friday, 28 November 2014

Invite-only campaigns - a new way to build aspiration

Have you seen the winding queues on the sidewalks outside Apple Stores, when they are about to release a new iPhone? Television crews cover them, people live tweet about them, there are scuffles (sometimes) and it all adds up to immense free PR for Apple, and leaves an indelible impression in our minds of how aspirational it is to own the latest iPhone.

But the hitherto aspirational Apple brand now faces competition from some unlikely (and hitherto unheard of) brands. Xiaomi. OnePlus. Inexpensive to cheap, Chinese and with limited market share - are you wondering how they can be any match for the iconic Apple brand?

Aspiration is not attached only to a price, but also to accessibility. Do you still see people scrambling around for a Google Inbox invite? It's free, but only a few people in the know signed up early and got it, and now they are the lucky ones who can help their friends. A similar frenzy was created a few years ago when Google launched Google Plus. Only select geeks and tech journalists got a chance to use the platform initially while the rest of the public waited eagerly to get an invite.

'Invite only' is not a new concept - fashion and luxury brands have used it to the hilt. In the online space, it has worked amongst passionate communities of geeks - gamers, beta testers, audiophiles etc. What's interesting is to see it working on a mass scale.

Amazon has chosen to launch the coveted OnePlus One through this route in India. Amazon and OnePlus will be seeding 1,000 invites across the internet, and users will need to get hold of one in order to purchase the device. One avenue that is already open is subscribing to OnePlus’ newsletter. Once the invites go out (by December 2), customers will have 48 hours to complete the purchase. Buyers will also get invitations to give away to friends. There's even a video that has been created to add to the hype.

Young people are clued in, and the excitement around being one of the chosen ones seems to match, if not exceed, a free iPhone giveaway.

While not exactly the same, Flipkart's auctions for Xiaomi with limited sales window worked in a similar way, whipping up excitement and unprecedented activity levels. 

Sure, the phones have great specs at half the price or less compared to big brands. But so do Asus, Micromax, Karbonn and Lenovo - and these are known names, who have invested in brand building. Aspiration is not created by specs, and not just by a high price - it is created by possessing what others covet and cannot have. Some brands have cracked this to their advantage, and this could re-shape the branding strategies that we see in the mobile market.

Source : Android Authority