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Your mission (should you choose to accept it): Organize my scrap book

January 12th, 2009

The annual MacWorld Conference & Expo, otherwise known as the show that gave us our first glimpses of iTunes, the iMac and the iPhone, kicked off this week in San Francisco with the “oohs” and “ahhs” that have become as standard among the audience as cyber-girlfriends and pocket protectors.

This year’s new cool idea: Faces, a feature of the iLife suite that will find and organize photos via face recognition software. Yes, face recognition software. Like the kind you only see on television, in the movies and if you’ve got def con clearance with the CIA. It actually scouts through photo galleries, matches up a face and picks up every photo with specific traits. Another feature announced: Places, a feature that goes through photos and organizes them by where they’ve been taken. According to CNN, this ridiculous thing actually uses “an interactive world map with GPS geotagging that will pinpoint the location of every photo users take, as long as they have a GPS chip in their camera or iPhone.”

I consider myself a quasi-technophile, but I have to admit when I first saw these concepts, I thought they’re so amazing they’re almost scary. But then I mentioned them to a few people who, much to my disappointment, weren’t nearly as blown away. Each person almost seemed to expect this type of what-will-they-think-of-next ingenuity; a few may have even been a little underwhelmed.

With expectations at an all-time high and consumer confidence at an all-time low, it’s getting tougher and tougher to impress today’s consumers. What’s more, the word “innovation” has been falsely claimed so often, it’s just about reached cliché status. So what’s an innovator to do?

Simple. You can’t just build a better mousetrap; you need to redefine mousetraps in a way the public’s never imagined….Or at least you’ve got to make them think you have.

Enter the power of positioning. Examples like Apple are evidence that the right positioning is more critical than ever. Forget new features and upgrades — the public wants a whole new category serving a whole new function for a whole new set of needs. Think about it: when’s the last time “new and improved” made a splash in the public?

Regardless of how strong your product is or the value your service brings, these days, only by pushing the limits of creative positioning can companies truly differentiate themselves and their products. So that said, break conventional wisdom, exceed expectations and carve out a niche consumers really need…and use positioning to do it.

Posted Under: Innovation & Technology
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