Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"The Beautiful Mistake" - an unintentional lesson in tribe creation

A few months ago, you may have come across the story of this guy in the UK who purchased an iPhone, only to find it preloaded with some photos of a girl on the iPhone production line. They apparently were testing the camera and forgot to delete them.

This generated a huge buzz. It was called "the Beautiful Mistake". Forums of people started looking for more info on the story or wondering what happened to the subject of the photos (Fired? Actually no, just given a few days off...).

Is this unintentional community connection or tribe creation? Or was it unintentional community/tribe discovery - where people had an interest and just needed the right environment to connect to each other.

There must be something to this. A colleague of mine, Martin Delaney, was talking about this story and how it is similar to Dole's move to connect consumers to their organic products. The company included a three digit code on its fruit/product labels and allowed consumers to go online and track back to the farm that the fruit came from.

Building stories, or fueling up the community of consumers, is a powerful tool but rarely executed well, or perhaps, intentionally.

Do you think there is any long term value in the "Beautiful Mistake" for Apple as a strategy?