Five Ways Apple’s Still the Master of the Product Keynote

We are incredibly pleased to announce that this is our very first guest post – and it comes to us from one of our favorite companies – Big Fish Presentation. More specifically, it comes to us from Kenny Nguyen. Kenny is the CEO/Founder of Big Fish Presentations, a creative agency specializing in creating experiences for clients’ audiences through presentation design, copy, training, and live/animated video production.  He can be reached at Kenny_@_bigfishpresentations.com or on twitter at @bigfishkenny.

Kenny Nguyen Public Speaker Expert

Kenny during his TEDxLSU talk on “The Art of Saying No”

 

I love watching Apple Keynotes. As a person who dedicates his life to helping people deliver experiences via presentations at Big Fish Presentations, I’d be a big liar if I said Steve Jobs wasn’t one of my biggest presentation inspirations (one of my biggest regrets to this day is not viewing Jobs present live and experiencing his infamous “reality distortion field” of making the impossible possible).

With his passing, I felt the Apple exec presentation team had a huge torch to pick up. Was it possible that Apple would lose its famous creative product keynote spirit? After a couple years of so-so product announcements, it wasn’t until this week’s Apple conference where I felt they really shined again.

The event pre-fanfare was crazy, stars were presenting, and they followed through on revealing the newest addition in their line of products – the Apple Watch (for more info on this, see a recent SlideShare we made here).

Feeling inspired after the event, I wrote down five presentation takeaways on Apple’s product keynote to share with our clients. And while we all can’t do presentations on the scale of Apple, I’ve managed to include tips that anyone can apply, even in the smallest presentations.

(Note: For those that would rather watch the entire presentation in its entirety, check out the entire Keynote here.)

 

Apple builds suspense like no other.

Building the experience prior to the event is one of Apple’s greatest presentation strengths. Above is their invite for the conference. Now that’s certainly intriguing. Before the event, there was almost a certainty in the press that Apple was going to release information on the Apple Watch.

Apple clearly has known that there’s been huge speculation about the device, and that people were dying to see it. By knowing what the audience expects, they can strategically market their relations with the press and invitations.

Takeaways:  You can promote your presentation through your website, social media channels, and any news outlets that can reach out to interested attendees. Think of your presentation like a campaign and market little bits of your content to influential individuals who will attend your presentation. It also never hurts to speak to your event coordinator about how they plan to promote the speakers and determine if there are joint marketing opportunities available to you.

 

Apple is the master of the reveal.

Tim Cook waited near the end of the day to finally reveal the Apple Watch. He began the reveal by quoting Jobs’ famous “One more thing” quote bringing the anticipation of the audience to an all-time high.

When Cook gave his little shtick that the audience are about to see the next category of product Apple will revolutionize, he revealed the Apple Watch with a beautiful product video, which can be seen below.


After the video, Cook walked out on stage with the Apple Watch strapped on his wrist, ready to share with the audience the excitement and innovation they’ve been trying to hide for years.

Takeaways: When you’re hyping up something, reveal it in an awesome and personal way. If you’re talking about a product, do something clever like bringing the product with you and demo it. Don’t reveal the solution immediately at the beginning of the presentation, as you want to make sure you can maintain the energy of the entire room. Revealing a groundbreaking product early can make the rest of the products you reveal not seem as notable.  All your solutions deserve their own unique airtime.

 

Apple makes the complicated simplistic.

Apple knows their audience on an extremely personal level (hopefully not too personal). They cleverly hit on all the tech specs and why they matter to the audience using video and live demos.  You can see all the videos Apple showed during its keynote here.

As with most of their products, they marketed the benefits of the Apple Watch to people all across the spectrum. From high tech, design, to lifestyle sticklers, each was specially targeted to feel like everything was catered to their needs. Heck, Apple even released three editions of the Apple Watch: Watch, Sport, and Edition (more info here).

Takeaways: When revealing your solution, think of your target market. If it’s multiple different sectors, make sure each gets their own airtime. What Apple did well to make the Apple Watch valuable to top-targeted markets was explain to each sector why Apple choose to innovate in that specific watch sector whether in everyday life, sports or luxury. They explained how each design and feature would lead to a benefit in that person’s everyday life. They successfully explained how the Apple Watch works from the tech savvy to their grandparents.

 

Apple shares the stage.

Apple doesn’t mind sharing the stage with the frequent cameos of famous individuals involved in their product reveals. Near the end of the event, U2 came out and gave a concert to get the audience moving. After the performance, Tim Cook and U2 had a scripted discussion on how awesome it would be for U2 to have their next album released on iTunes.

Lo and behold, available right at the moment, a new U2 album was available free on iTunes.  What a convenient gift from Apple to all its customers watching, while also promoting U2 and iTunes. This was a unique way to involve all those that couldn’t attend the Apple event to join in on the fun.

Takeaways: Obviously, Apple and U2 didn’t do the deal while on stage. Apple strategically plans each of its reveals with the most fanfare. In the past, Apple has featured many guest speakers to demo their products while onstage. This gets attention for the speaker and attention for Apple’s products. Don’t be afraid to copy this example and share the stage. Bringing client testimonials or key partners to your presentations can raise the credibility of your product and service.

 

Apple knows what the audience wants to see.

Since Apple knows their audience, not only did they know how to build up suspense for the Apple Watch, but also delivered on past expectations with the reveal of Apple Pay and iPhone 6/6+. While this builds an enormous amount of pressure for each following Apple conference, these presenters know exactly how to create demand. There are still rumors about Apple developing a TV, and you can be sure that they know that’s another thing the audience is dying to see.

Takeaways:  Know your audience, because it’s one of the most fundamental rules any presenter should know. Know what the people want to hear, and if you believe you can deliver, deliver well.

The anticipation and fanfare of Apple’s keynotes did not end with Steve Jobs’ passing. While they may have lost their single greatest icon and presenter, they still maintain the creativity and mindset to make their entire customer segments care. As long as their customers still get the “why this makes my life better” takeaway in each keynote, they’ll still be the leaders of the product presentation. I look forward to seeing how they can top this last reveal.

 

What do you think? Do you think Apple has lost its presentation touch or are they still THE prime presentation examples?

Let us know in the comments below, or check our website, blog, and Twitter to see more of our work and ramblings.

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