Apple’s iPhone 12 Event Hashtag Was Trending and Apple Hadn’t Even Announced It Yet

Want to know how just how highly people are anticipating the next version of the iPhone? This morning, the #Appleevent hashtag was trending on Twitter, despite the fact that Apple hadn’t announced any such event. A few astute observers noticed that a custom hashtag, with a blue Apple logo, has been created for use through September 28.

In the amount of time it took to write this column, Apple did eventually announce its annual iPhone event would happen on September 15 at 10 a.m. PDT. Still, before that happened, there were more than 35,000 tweets with the hashtag, most of which are speculating about when the event will be announced.

Look,  Apple events tend to draw a lot of attention. Typically, the beginning of September is when we see iPhone launches. Despite the fact that Apple has already said it expects the iPhone 12 to be delayed by a few weeks, this event is expected to garner even more attention than usual because of the likelihood that we’ll finally see 5G on an iPhone.

Imagine, for a moment, being so influential that you could drive the conversation around your brand without having to even say a word. If there was ever any doubt that Apple’s brand commands that type of influence, I think now we can agree it does.

Before you think, “Yeah, but that’s Apple,” I think there’s actually a valuable lesson here for every brand. Apple isn’t the world’s most valuable company by accident. It got there by creating products and services that users love, and more important, by creating experiences.

Here’s what I mean. When you buy an iPhone, you aren’t simply buying a piece of metal and glass and silicon. You aren’t even buying software or apps. You’re buying an experience. You’re buying the experience of carrying it in your pocket, of sending messages to your friends, and of capturing (and sharing) the important moments of your life. Yes, there are other devices that can do all of that, but the iPhone does it in a way that “just works.” 

That’s the reason people love Apple–the experience. And, Apple’s events are, in many ways, the most public of those experiences. Even at a time when launch events have become virtual by necessity, people get excited about Apple’s events in a way they don’t for Samsung, or Google, or Microsoft. 

It isn’t that those companies aren’t making good products, and it isn’t that they aren’t able to spend money to produce events, but no one was nearly this excited over the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 launch event last week. I guess it’s possible that’s because the name is too long for a hashtag, but I think there’s more to it than that.

The good news is you don’t have to be Apple to build the same kind of loyalty to your brand. You can create experiences for your customers that foster the same kind of loyalty, even if it doesn’t mean you’ll trend on Twitter in anticipation of your next product launch. I doubt that was even Apple’s goal (though if it was some sort of planned campaign, it’s even more brilliant). 

Instead, I suspect it’s simply the natural result of a company with an intense focus on the user experience. And that is absolutely something every business can do. 

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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