Leveraging the Halo effect

The Halo effect is a powerful new paradigm that enables consumers to consume more of your product and/or services. It appears to be a theme that is generated by one product and replicated onto another. A seamless connection in the minds of the consumer. Tim Cook COO of Apple talked about that in the last earnings call. How big is this in today’s world for organizations – pretty big. Let’s look at some recent examples

Apple’s Halo effect is centered around the user experience- seamless connections from the earliest hard drive based ipod to the iphone, ipad and the latest ‘instant on’ Macbook Air. Consumers buy any one product and then add another to their collection

Google from it’s ease of use based search to AdSense, Analytics, News, Finance and Mail apart from others- it appears to be driven by ‘white spaces’ oriented simplicity, lack of clutter and clear focus on getting functionality for users done.

Disney- Where you may start with a park or with a movie but migrate to the other in no time, adding on to other consumer based products, TV shows and DVD’s. This Halo is based on the family and fun connection from the 2 big ears of the most famous mouse of all time.

So what are some of the common elements that contribute to generating this Halo

1) Great products & services

2) Great word of mouth speak- fans galore

3) Each product leverages the other in some small way from design to distribution

4) Each product or service can hold its own in its market in terms of revenues and gross margins

Can companies leverage a Halo strategy to do more? Yes it appears that the benefits are huge in the above examples

1) A seamless ability to transcend industries inspite of a lack of original capability- Of course one can argue that talent, innovation and discipline is still required, but the pull by halo struck consumers gives a significant boost to top line growth

2) Echoes the product branding strategy well. In fact this is something that I’m more curious about. ie how does the Halo effect build on branding as we know it. Is it the beginning of next generation Branding ?

3) The ability to market globally. There is something in the Halo that makes it agnostic to cultural, language and geographical boundaries. Perhaps humans have this ability to understand hidden messages beyond the ones that they are fed to by advertisers across different media forms.

Of course this seems to be a new phenomenon, and maybe it’s just great products. But still I cannot imagine what can happen if legions of companies can leverage this strategy. Perhaps it will be restricted to only those top few that really understand the consumer through sound research and analysis.

Think of companies that have done a patchy job at this -Sony comes to mind with it’s earliest radios and walkmans, more recently getting some more wind out of its flat screeen Televsions and Playstations. Think of those that had the opportunity but are not really generating enough Halo- Microsoft with Windows, Xboxes and recent Kinect. It’s more of an individual product functionality at play there.

At this point there are other questions

a) Is the Halo effect by accident or design?

b) Is the Halo effect leaning more to products than services?

c) What are the issues that prevent an organization from adopting the Halo effect?

One thing is clear. The Halo is here to stay but it remains to be seen how many companies can truly understand and leverage this across their product management and branding strategies.