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A Lesson for Marketers in the Demise of Flash

Posted By: SGK February 21, 2012

A recent Forbes guest column by a SAP executive on the demise of Flash as a programming platform made us think of the important decisions marketers make every day. The column points out that one pundit in 2007 branded the iPhone “a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks.”

At that time, observers were frustrated or skeptical of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ decision not to employ Flash as a development language for the iPhone, forcing developers to use Apple’s xCode. Flash was the dominant language then, and Jobs’ decision seemed dangerously stubborn.

But it was wise. As the column points out, xCode means its hard to design a bad-looking app (esthetics are core to Apple’s brand) and that Apple retains a business interest in every iPhone app that reaches the consumer. Today, Flash is on its way out.

Jobs and Apple saw into the future better than many others in the industry, but this foresight stemmed from something else: an understanding of what their brand stood for and what principles (such as control over platforms and assets) were the foundation of those brand values. If it had gone with Flash, Apple would have undervalued itself. With every decision a brand marketer makes today, these questions must be asked: Am I undervaluing my brand? Is it worth it in the long run?