A couple of years ago I was working with Telia, (the second-largest mobile phone operator in Norway) and I was asked to hold a keynote about product development. Up for the challenge, I immediately started working on a storyline.
During that time, I was convinced that as long as the product is good, you don’t need to tell the story about how or why you made it. As long as it is solving a real-world problem you don’t need to understand marketing; the product will sell itself.
It reminds me of one of the great quotes by Edwin Land,
“Marketing is what you do when your product is no good.”
Edwin Land was Steve Jobs’s childhood hero and the founder of Polaroid. I included his quote in my keynote to directly address all the companies that spend billions of dollars in marketing, while at the same time neglect their products.
But, as I later realized, it isn’t about not doing marketing. Apple does a lot of marketing, and Steve Jobs was probably one of the greatest marketers of all time. This is in fact an integral part of Apple’s success. So why is it that some marketing makes sense and some marketing sucks? I think I finally have the answer: When your product is good you need to talk about it. When it isn’t, you need to fix it.
Last year I left the corporate world and joined the real estate company R8 as Chief Digital Officer. The task ahead was perfectly stated by our CEO:
“It’s time we created some new prop-tech to better satisfy our tenants and users!”
After researching we came up with a concept that later would become Orbit. We saw an opportunity to solve two important problems:
This became our mission. Simple. Bold.
It is understandable and powerful to us but needs to be explained when presented to others. The question is how we can tell a story about prop-tech that includes everything we want to say. Orbit isn’t just another app. It’s a radical new business model and platform that for the first time in real estate puts the users in the center of attention. Is a set of exciting partnerships and heavy integrations, including a breakthrough payment infrastructure. It’s a new physical identity, it’s a new metal card, it’s a new marketplace for service providers.
Orbit is rethinking the office, making it possible for teams to work from anywhere, for companies to save money, and for landlords to make more money. All while reducing emissions. (Did you know that real estate accounts for 1/3 of all CO2 emissions!?). This is not about starting a new business. We are about to start a movement. We believe that’s the best business.
After reflecting on how we should market Orbit we agreed on some basic rules:
And this is how it’s gonna be…
Btw, the headline quote is from Subroto Bagchi.