Vizio’s new computers announced today at CES are beautiful and bringing some refreshing industrial design to the PC industry. But the company’s official introduction video includes a bizarre, forced appearance by Microsoft’s VP of Worldwide OEM Marketing, who strikes me as a totally clueless corporate bureaucrat. He blabbers on and on about nothing, speaking of “consumer entertainment scenarios”, “content”, “accessing entertainment that matters to us the most”, and “consumer electronics entertainment connected scenarios”. What the hell does that even mean? Why can’t Vizio just let their fantastically designed products speak for themselves?
Obsessively curating details in marketing materials, to make it easy for mere mortals to understand what is being offered to them, is such an important part of creating an awesome cohesive user experience. So many companies fail at this step, which is strange, because it’s literally the first point of contact in a relationship with a customer. Normal people don’t care that Vizio manufactured televisions before they made computers. Normal people don’t care that you can watch movies and “entertainment” on these computers – you can do that on any computer. What people really care about is that their computer works and that it fits within their personal style.
People stopped buying computers based on specifications and features years ago. All computers sold now are practically identical in functionality. Today, people are increasingly buying computers the same way they buy cars: to define themselves. That’s what Apple gets right. Apple has a defined soul, just like BMW, Mercedes, and Honda, which includes a stylistic experience that people want to make their own. When a PC company is marketing a computer, they’re not selling a computer – they’re selling an extension to someone’s soul.
PC manufacturers, like Vizio, can copy Apple’s focus on industrial design, but they can’t imitate Apple’s soul.