We Can’t All Be Right: Smartphones and Brand Loyalty
by A Real Person on July 15, 2010
Here’s a fun experiment: find someone using an iPhone, tell them that the Evo is better, and see how much time they spend telling you how wrong you are. For an even better time, find an Evo user and tell them the iPhone is better. Hoo boy do they get angry.
It’s an interesting thing, brand loyalty. Whether you prefer Coke over Pepsi or you’re a Dapper Dan man (dammit), many of us simply won’t accept the competition’s product despite the fact that at least half the time it’s the same thing, and the other half of the time it’s slightly better. Uh, and the third half of the time it’s slightly worse. Fractions were never my forte.
Yet it seems that no brand loyalties are fiercer than with smartphones and their operating systems. The video above demonstrates the (slightly exaggerated) experiences of a Best Buy employee selling phones. Even though he misses the mark on some of the comparisons (4g speeds on the Evo are maybe 20-30% faster, not “three times” faster), the Evo does currently outperform the iPhone 4 in a lot of areas, yet customers want what they want. Even with antenna issues.
I’m not saying it’s only iPhone users who are guilty of brand loyalty (or blindness). Blackberry users love their Blackberrys. Droid users love their Droids. I even know some Palm Pre users who stand up for their phones like abused spouses.
Personally, I think we just like what we have, because it’s what we know. For the longest time I wouldn’t touch Macs because I always had PCs and I knew they were better. But there came a point where I needed a built-in camera and some better multimedia software (you know, for my webcam stripper career), so I finally caved and bought a Macbook. I’ve been a Mac user ever since.
Joel Johnson took an interesting approach to the subject in an article on Gizmodo with the Durden-esque title “You Are Not Your Phone”. It’s mostly about Apple’s handling of the antenna issues, but he also reminds us to separate ourselves from brands, and individual products from brands. Here’s my favorite bit:
“It’s facile to attempt to criticize a company’s entire product line, but that’s what the childish attempt to do every single dreary day on the internet. Apple sucks! Microsoft rules! That’s the discourse that keeps fanboy bonfires flaming, too distracted by the entertaining heat to realize they’re burning up their own collective power.
Things are things. Companies make things. Some things perfect. Some things not so perfect.”
And yet, some of us take it so personally when someone insults our phone. And we love (especially iPhone and Android users) to tell everyone how ours is far superior. Sure, we love what we have. But we can’t all be right.
Anyway, I’d love to hear your thoughts on why we’re so obsessed with defending our brand. Or why you think your phone is better than anything ever. C’mon, you know you wanna.