Legendary newsman, Walter Cronkite, once noted, "Everything is being compressed into tiny tablets." And that was 33 years before Apple announced it has sold 3 million iPad Minis during its introductory weekend. That was a new product launch record for them, which is saying a lot when you talk about Apple.
The new iPad Mini is a 7.9-inch, 10.88 ounce, .28" thick version of the iconic Apple tablet, with Wi-Fi connection, all for a base price of $329. Apple promises that they'll be offering tablets able to connect to mobile data networks over the next month or so.
We've been measuring the "Tablet" category since its inception. OK, true. That's only a couple of years. But in "tech-time," it's eons. And over that period there's been a lot of companies trying for their share of the burgeoning sector.
But, as it's a rapidly changing category, it's worth re-visiting what drives loyalty in the category. Here are the driver values and the questions – articulated and unarticulated, emotional and rational – that get asked about the current offerings:
- Brand Value (Is this an innovative brand I'm proud to be seen with?)
- Advanced Design (Does this brand set the bar for the category and does it provide intuitive, organic connections for me?)
- Features (Does it have everything I want and does it provide me with more than I thought was possible?)
- Hardware/Software (Does the brand support more apps and is it the most advanced system available?)
Whose brand best resonates with these values? Which brand best answers the questions? Here's how actual customers (in our Customer Loyalty Engagement Index) rated their tablets. Full disclosure demands that we tell you, given the timing of our survey, no one who actually owns an iPad Mini participated. So models have been aggregated under a single brand, with rankings looking like this:
- Barnes & Noble
The assessment approach we took fused the emotional and rational category attributes with product benefits and values, and then identified the category-specific purchase drivers and the expectation levels consumers held for the Ideal product. Then, if you measure any brand against those drivers, you'll see that brands that best meet expectations always see higher levels of loyalty than those that don't. Not sometimes. Always. And because loyalty correlates extremely highly with positive consumer behavior it also – axiomatically – correlates with sales and profits. As of yesterday there was a 2-week backorder for the iPad Mini.
BTW, back then Mr. Cronkite said "tablet," he was talking about an actual pill, something that might actually come in handy. Because brands that are able to better meet customer expectations are bound to cause real headaches for the competition.