Google Glass isn’t even out yet and it already has plenty of haters. A bar in Seattle has preemptively banned them. Gawker has decreed you’re an asshole if you wear them. Technology Review is asking if a product ever caused this kind of backlash before hitting the market.
In other words, the Google has its work cut out for it to get people to wear these things.
Other than a couple of (cool) videos, the Glass marketing strategy has mostly consisted of Google’s Sergey Brin wearing them everywhere. But what can the company do between now and launch to prepare people for this product? I put the question to Edward Boches, BU advertising professor and Chief Innovation Officer at Mullen.
How big is the adoption hurdle for a product like Glass compared to, say, the launch of the iPad?
I think there are two ways to look at Glass. The first is that Glass, when worn, will be visible and public. Not unlike the iPod when it first launched. The moment you saw people with white (white was the key) buds and wires dangling from their ears, you knew it was the iPod and nothing else. Glass will work the same way. If someone is wearing them, people will notice. So right there is the beginning of the buzz, the acceptance and the possible desire.
As a product it may not be as naturally intuitive as the iPad. After all, we are used to reading, searching, and moving things around with our hands and fingers, and also used to looking at content on a screen. Glass will take a little getting used to. Just because it’s an additional field of vision. But it may be so cool and useful that you’ll want to get comfortable with it.
How much of that increased burden falls to the marketing of the product vs. the UI/UX, pricing, etc?
It doesn’t seem as if Google has to do too much marketing at the moment. Is there a blog or news outlet that hasn’t tripped all over itself to write a story or sample the product? Allegedly the list of brands that have applied to be case studies, submitting ideas for what they would do with them is long enough it will take months to respond to them. That will add to the aura.
Pricing will not be a problem. It may not get wide spread adoption at the initial $1,500.00 but in all likelihood that price will come down, supposedly to the vicinity of a smartphone.
In all likelihood it will be the apps and functionality created by developers (or early adopters) that will make this more and more useful. Financial data for traders. Incredibly useful information for tourists. Access to help and service while shopping. The ability to follow someone else’s feed. A celebrity for example. Facial recognition for those of us with fading memories. Or better yet the ability to store “spatiograms” that capture a person, his social profile, and forever after identify in any subsequent encounter. And dozens of others that will emerge as we play and invent with it.
There will be something akin to a network effect.The more applications get developed or uses identified, the more people will see value in Glass. The greater the perceived value the more people will want it. The more people are seen wearing it, the more prevalent it will become.
Right now, Google’s strategy seems to be 1) super cool Glass videos and 2) Sergey just wearing them all of the time. What else do you think the company should do? How would you approach marketing Glass if given that task?
I am guessing they are already identifying the right brands and developers to partner with. I would find others to do the marketing for me by creating and demonstrating brilliant reasons to wear Glass.
One open question seems to be what the norms should be around Glass and similar products, i.e. is it rude to wear them while I talk to you, are they acceptable in the office, etc. etc. Does Google have the ability to shape how those norms get set in its marketing?
Irrelevant. Do you know anyone left who doesn’t look at their phone while talking to you? In some ways this will be less rude. Easier to glance to and from the upper right corner of your glasses and back to the person than it is to look down at your phone.
I do wonder about the perception on the part of a user that he or she can multi-task. Yes, it might be way better for cooking than having to keep touching an iPad with flour or butter on your fingers. But not so sure about driving or cycling. Golf maybe. If it can give you precise yardages.
Some have suggested Glass is a reason Google should open stores like Apple or Microsoft. Google has denied this being necessary. Do you think it’d be smart as a marketing tactic to let people walk into stores and try on Glass?
I would guess that once the prescription versions are out then they will have built in distribution via optometrists. Apple sells lots of hardware products that are beautiful to see and touch and there is an experience in the store that is very Apple brand. Anything is possible, but not sure it’s a necessity.
There are obviously two sides to Glass. One is simply that this is the coolest thing ever and I can finally wear the Internet and have instant hands free access to anything and everything. OK Glass, what’s on the menu? OK Glass, how far to the nearest drug store? OK glass make me a shopping list for eggplant parmigiana. On the other hand are the detractors who worry about yet another way to stick advertising in front of us. After all, Google isn’t in the eyeglass business, it’s in the business of monetizing eyeballs. But as a fan of Google I find most of what they do to offer a fair value exchange. They know a lot about me already. But I’m in the camp that it’s all about delivering a more relevant experience.
My Google Glass is on order. OK Glass, take me on the next digital journey.