“Think Different” and the unchanging principles of marketing

Apple’s “Think Different” campaign, launched in 1997, has become an icon in the history of marketing and advertising. This campaign was designed in a critical moment for Apple: the company was facing serious financial problems and Steve Jobs, one of the founders, just returned to lead the company and to save its fate.

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The “Think Different” campaign applied to Hotels and Restaurants

The first parallelism we may notice with the hospitality sector is that today we reached a turning point. We are moving from the Digital Revolution to a Revolution dictated by Artificial Intelligence that will change the way we see reality in a very short time.

The core message of the “Think Different” campaign was to celebrate diversity of thought, innovation and creativity. The message was that the people who “think different,” who challenge the status quo and dare to change the world, are the ones who actually do it in the end.

The second parallelism I want to emphasize is that only hotel and restaurant entrepreneurs and managers who move from a static mindset to a dynamic mindset will succeed in securing a future for their hotel or restaurant.
Apple’s “Think Different” campaign did not focus on the technical features of Apple’s products, but rather on the company’s philosophy and what set it apart from its competitors. Apple positioned itself as a company for those who saw the world differently, for the “crazies,” the “rebels,” the “agitators,” the “outsiders,” as the famous TV commercial declared.

The third parallelism is perhaps the most important: in a world where we tend to standardize everything, where everyone posts photos of their product (hotel rooms, spas, restaurant dishes, etc.), we need to think differently and go beyond the product, thanks to marketing.

The famous slogan “Think Different” was an invitation to think differently, not to settle for the status quo, to challenge conventions and constantly seek new ways of doing things.
It is an evergreen principle that we need to apply in the hospitality industry, as well, since it will enable the most enlightened Hotel and Restaurant managers and entrepreneurs to gain a competitive advantage over their competitors.

I am Giancarlo De Leonardo former hotelier and restaurateur. Together with a Caro Collega’s Digital Dream Team under-30 I apply the principles of digital marketing for Hotels and Restaurants. Below are the 5 lessons to be learned from Apple’s 1997 “Think Different” marketing campaign whose principles still apply today.

5 lessons from “Think Different” from which a Hotel or Restaurant can get inspiration

1. Introduction: the “Think Different” Campaign and its relevance in the current context of hospitality
Apple’s “Think Different” campaign, launched by Steve Jobs in 1997, marked a decisive turning point in the world of marketing because it addressed principles and values that are always relevant today. It was not simply about promoting a product, but celebrating an idea – diversity of thought, creativity, innovation. This message not only lifted Apple out of decline, but it also resonated with future generations and remains relevant today.
Today, in an increasingly digitized and competitive world, the “Think Different” approach can be critical for the hotel and restaurant industry.

This article will explore the key points of this campaign and how they can be applied in today’s context.

2. The “Think Different” Vision: relevance to Hotel and Restaurant.
The “Think Different” philosophy represents vision and innovation. This translates into offering unique, personalized experiences that will amaze the customer.
Hotels and restaurants can adopt this philosophy to differentiate themselves from competitors and attract a wider audience.

For example, instead of simply offering an overnight stay or a meal, they can create a complete experience, taking care of every detail, from interior design to customer service, from the menu to extra activities. The customer is not just buying a service, but a unique experience that reflects the hotel or restaurant’s creativity and innovation.

3. The Role of Technology in “Think Different” for Hotels and Restaurants.
Technological innovation has been at the heart of Apple’s “Think Different” philosophy.
Similarly, hotels and restaurants can leverage new technologies to improve service and the customer experience. This can include the use of reservation apps, the integration of digital services for in-room entertainment, or the implementation of contactless payment systems in restaurants all the way to A.I. intended to have a disruptive impact before, during, and after the start of each experience.

In addition, the use of big data and Artificial Intelligence itself can help personalize offerings by analyzing customer preferences and behaviors.
This makes it possible to create an experience tailored to each customer, increasing their satisfaction and likelihood of return.

4. “Think Different” Communication: Digital Marketing in the Hotel and Restaurant Industry.

The “Think Different” campaign is known for its powerful and emotional communication. This approach can also be applied to the hotel and restaurant sector.
At the digital marketing level, this means creating content that tells a story, emotionally engages the customer, and highlights one’s uniqueness. Because customers do not buy products, they buy relationships and stories.

Using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) techniques to ensure online visibility is critical, but equally important is the use of Social Media to connect with audiences, share stories, and receive feedback.

5. “Think Different” and Sustainability: A New Approach for Hotel and Catering.

Another lesson from the “Think Different” philosophy is the need to look ahead, to anticipate future trends. Today, one such trend is definitely sustainability. We need to reverse the trend and think about leaving a better world than the one we found.
Hotels and restaurants that adopt sustainable practices are not only helping to protect the environment but are also attracting a customer base that is increasingly attentive to these issues. This may include using renewable energy, adopting a zero-mile menu, or reducing plastic and waste.

Conclusion: how “Think Different” may revolutionize the Hotel and Restaurants sectors

In the age of digitization and innovation, the “Think Different” philosophy can inspire the hotel and restaurant industry to reinvent itself. Whether it’s creating unique experiences, leveraging new technologies, communicating in engaging ways, or adopting sustainable practices, “Think Different” can make a difference.

Again, Steve Jobs’ message still resonates today: it’s not just about selling a product, it’s about creating an experience, inspiring, innovating. And in an increasingly competitive world, “thinking differently” can be the key to standing out and succeeding.

Article written by Giancarlo De Leonardo, former Hotelier and Restaurateur and now founder of carocollega.com