retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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Hi, Kevin Coupe here and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.

It is an article of faith here on MNB that the majority of retailers will find success and develop customer loyalty with the products and services that are unique to them, not with the products and services that everybody else carries, or that you can get anywhere.

That's all you need, but it certainly is an important component ... and I would probably say that it is an important rule in 21st century retailing.

(By the way, I know of a pretty good book on the subject called Retail Rules! 52 Ways To Achieve Retail Success. Just sayin'...)

It isn't just retailers that are doing this. It also is HBO, with programming like "Game of Thrones" and "Last Week Tonight" with John Oliver. Or Netflix, with "House of Cards." And Amazon, with "Bosch." The list goes on and on, as companies look to work the differences, not the similarities.

Now, the New York Times reports, Apple is getting into the game.

But it isn't with a full slate of TV or movie productions, as some might've thought. Rather, they're testing the waters with a non-scripted series that will focus on the app economy.

There is speculation that this could turn into a giant promotion for Apple's app store, but I think that would be both shortsighted and counter-productive. Used correctly, such a show could entice people, educate people, and enlarge their appreciation for how apps are changing the ways in which people live and communicate in fundamental ways. Just using such a show to sell stuff would be a waste ... and my general impression of Apple is that they're smarter than that.

That said, any show about the app economy would be necessity reflect and reinforce Apple's view of the world, and that's an important lesson ... because when any company looks to develop proprietary products and services, they should play to a company's strengths and be strategically focused and of tactical value.

You can't just throw spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks.

Apple, typically, won't discuss specifics, such as financing, title, timeline, storylines, episode length or how people will watch the show. But I think it makes sense to watch what they do, for both content and context, because it is likely to provide some pretty good lessons in what in other venues would be called private label.

By the way ... keep in mind that Apple could've just thrown money at this problem and done what everybody else is doing. But they're not ... even though this is a lot harder way to go.

But it's like one of the lessons from A League Of Their Own ... it is the hard that makes it worth doing.

And yes, that's a lesson from a movie. I happen to know a pretty good book on that subject, too ... called The Big Picture: Essential Business Lessons from the Movies. (This isn't just me engaging in admittedly shameless self-promotion. It is also me exploiting that I think makes me different.)

That's what's on my mind this Thursday morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.

KC's View: