What does it take to be considered a top tech brand these days? Is it a state-of-the-art campus a la Google, is it the promise of drone-deliveries like Amazon, or is it an affiliation with a Space Mission to Mars program like Tesla (and Amazon)?
In a year of big technology feats, it’s easy to forget one of the biggest indicators of a brand’s impact: whether a product is in consumer homes. At the end of the day, all these feats, while undoubtedly cool, still can’t beat widespread consumer adoption.
The holidays are a great time to examine trends in consumer technology and product adoption. Last year we ran a post on the Top Tech gifts and Tech Brands of 2016. This year we revisit this theme, looking at major consumer tech trends of this year and how the top recommended gifts are marketed on Instagram.
Once again we take a look at the Washington Post top tech gifts for the holiday:
There are familiar overtures to last year’s list such as smart speakers and the smart phone, as well as new recommendations like a DSLR camera. From the list we took a look at the Amazon Echo, the Bose QuietComfort headphones, the Sonos Play, the Nikon D5000, and the Roku Player. Below is an combined Scraawl Brand Monitoring Report on each of these tech companies.
Let’s dive in.
Apple: iPhone 8
Any Apple product is bound to make a splash. Just take a look at the interest around Apple’s smart home speaker, which despite not being functional during its demo, still had people talking.
Out of all of Apple’s products, however, none is more loved than the iPhone. Looking on Instagram, we see that the Apple Instagram account is not running a holiday marketing campaign around the new iPhone 8, per se. Instead, the Insta account is focused on photos from its #shotonaniphone campaign, a community hashtag of photos taken from the Apple user base.
It’s smart play for numerous reasons. One, it’s inspiring and aspirational to look at amazing photographs shot on the very phone in your hand, and two, it’s general enough that it promotes all of Apple’s phone products, and not just the iPhone 8. It works especially well for Instagram because it harkens back to what Instagram once was, a visual platform for artists and photographers.
By filtering the above report to just posts from @Apple, we see that their social media posting relies less on holiday good cheer but more on this idea of an artistic community. Not only are there posts from all over the world (43 locations in Top Places) but also the Tops words show “community” and “people.” Not a holiday campaign, but effective for the whole year around.
Sonos PLAY:5 vs. Amazon: Echo
2017 was a battle of the smart Speakers. But of all the smart speakers available in the market now, The Washington Post gift guide mentions just two, the Amazon Echo and the Sonos Play 5 as the top choices.
For the Amazon Echo, we have a full in-depth article coming soon so stay tuned. For the Sonos, we took a look at the brand on Instagram to see if they were marketing the Sonos Play 5 for the holiday season.
In the above post, we see an example of holiday social media and influencer marketing. Reposting from lifestyle blogger @howdoesshe we see a non-denominational holiday setting for the Sonos Play. The product looks at home in the blogger’s home, helping to make the Sonos Play look like a chic and useful present for the family.
Bose QuietComfort 25
One brand that has done a great job in turning up the holiday charm is Bose. Unlike Apple, Bose has fully embraced the holiday spirit on their Instagram brand account.
Unfortunately, the Quiet 25 headphones recommended by the Washington Post are nowhere to be seen in the recent posts from @Bose. It looks like the latest generation of the QuietComfort the 35’s dominate the feed. In fact in the top hashtags for Bose, there is no #QC25 for over 300 posts, just #QC35.
One thing to keep in mind for brands during the holidays is that the occasional promotion of older items can help them sell finish that older stock and offer a good deal for their customers. They may not be the newest thing on the block, but they’re still a great value.
Roku Streaming Stick+
The Roku has also embraced two things that evoke the holidays, holiday decorations and babies/family. Interestingly, despite their holiday posting, the most influential hashtags have been more about cats and dogs, #ilovemycat and #dogofinstagram.
It goes to show that certain Instagram trends are perennial, such as loveable images of dogs and cats, and may be even more effective than seasonal holiday posting.
At the higher end of the prices on the gift list lies the Nikon D500 . The Instagram account for Nikon is more likely to appeal to the photographer connoisseur. With each image, they include a caption chocked-full of camera specs and facts.
The brand on Instagram is mostly agnostic to the seasonality of the holidays. Though they did have one post about using Nikon cameras to shoot holiday portraits their brand voice is more informative than entertaining. Those who follow Nikon on Insta are technical and interested in honing their photography skill. Therefore there posts are more serious, focusing on providing value, and less festive.
Social Marketing for the Holidays and Beyond
For the social marketing of tech products, you’ll notice that the more established brands such as Nikon and Apple chose to be mostly holiday-less in their postings. There are some concerns that by the time Christmas rolls around, most consumers are already sick of the holidays. This is partly due to the increase of “holiday creep,” where as soon as Thanksgiving is over (if not sooner), shops suddenly start blasting Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is you.”
Don’t get us wrong, it’s a great song and we love the holidays. But the most important takeaway from the brands above is that when establishing your brand or product on social media it helps to partake in trending hashtags and seasonal topics. On the other hand if your brand is already established, instead of appealing broadly, it’s important to hone in on what transforms your consumers into loyal brand followers. In Apple’s case, it was the sense that Apple was cutting edge, global, and inspiring through the #shotontheiphone campaign. For Nikon, it was about giving value to their community of consumers that range from the budding amateur to the top-of-the-field professional.
What we see here are the two approaches to social media, using social media to help raise awareness of a product and using social media as an extension of a brand’s legacy. As brands on social platforms mature, they’ll find that in order to really stand out isn’t about what trending hashtag to use. Instead they’ll have to search what is at the heart of their brand identity.
To check out last year’s report, follow the link below: