2 major lessons Apple has just taught us about loyalty

Another 6 months – another set of Apple tech announcements and pending products. Bigger phones, better software and a Watch (which I will probably speak about soon enough around what this could mean to personal gamification!).

They also gave every iTunes user a gift.

How awesome is that! Well, as it turns out not very. Apple pushed the new U2 album into everyone’s iTunes account forgetting a couple of really important things about people.

  1. They like to have a choice.
  2. They like to have things that are relevant to them.

As nice as they thought they were being, they were actually breaking the trust of their customers – pushing content on them without asking if it was ok first.

Just because it is free, does not mean it has relevance to everyone.  Say 30% of iTunes users are U2 fans. They probably leapt for joy, a free gift that was relevant to them. That leaves 70% who don’t like U2 – what free and relevant gift do they get?

What made them think that every iTunes customer on earth would want a U2 album? Music is a really personal and private thing. It carries with it huge emotion. Apple has always been really good at understanding this type of thing. Steve Jobs won hearts rather than minds when he dropped the iPhone on the world.

The backlash has been so sudden and unexpected by Apple, they have had to release a tool to remove the U2 album from your account!

The lessons around loyalty here are simple. If you want to give things to people make sure that it is their choice if they accept it and that it is relevant to them. That may mean offering more than one thing. You will never please everyone, but at least leave them slightly disappointed that they could not make the most of the free gift, rather than actively angry at what has happened! You can’t take their loyalty for granted, they are only loyal as long as you provide them what they want!

As a gamifier, you have to consider Autonomy in every system you create and you have to remember, not everyone likes what you like!

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