How to create iPhone-style hype for your brand

It’s not as hard as you may think.


The new iPhone launches today, Sept. 12. It’ll have a similar touchscreen to the other phones out there. And a similar camera, speaker, shape, design and storage capacity.

It’ll be a great phone, no doubt. But there are other great phones. The difference is, no one waits in line for four days without a bathroom to buy those phones.

What the heck does Apple’s iPhone 5 (or technically, iPhone 6, if you’re keeping score) have that no other phone does?

Answer: hype.

If the new iPhone 5 battery could be charged by the hype its release has created, the phone would never, ever run out of juice.

How do you get that same type of hype for your business or brand? It’s actually not as hard as you might think.

1. Restrict facts: Apple is a master at secrecy. I’ve heard from people who used to work there that the penalty for leaking classified information isn’t just being fired, it’s potentially giving back your salary and face possible legal proceedings. Employees sign a form acknowledging they know what will happen if they leak information. The lesson: The more you keep the facts to yourself and less you leak, the more you whet people’s appetite for what’s to come.

2. Flip the game: It’s no longer a “request,” it’s a “pass.” Ever hold a press conference? You request coverage, heck, you beg for it. Then you hold your breath for a week beforehand hoping someone will show up, and fall over yourself getting anyone in the door who you think can cover it. Flip that. You know how many people Apple requests come to their launch? None. You know how many people Apple offers “access passes” to? A select few. You’ve just made the boring “press conference” turn into the “must-be-at event of the year.”

3. Covet the best: You might want to give away 500 of your new thing-a-ma-bobs, with the logic that someone will have to write about it. Wrong. Give five away to the top influencers in your industry. There’s a reason the editor of Fishing Digest doesn’t get the new iPhone 5 but Gizmodo does. It’s all about knowing your audience and coveting the best of them.

4. Don’t stop: Finally, once it’s out there, that’s no time to slow down. That’s time to speed up. Go after those you didn’t invite and those who didn’t show up.

You can change the game to make the hype work for you. It takes practice, but it’s most certainly doable.

Peter Shankman is the founder of HARO and vice president and small business evangelist at Vocus. A version of this article first appeared on the Vocus blog.

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Topics: PR

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