Why irrational brand allegiance is perfectly rational
July 18, 2010
Every day, we are faced with an overwhelming number of decisions to make. We can’t possibly devote attention to every single one of them.
Most people have a few categories, which they are especially involved in. Some care a lot about the phone they buy, but couldn’t care less about the food in their fridge. Others are really involved in choosing clothes but when it comes to the car they drive, have little interest.
For categories we feel personally invested in, we make our decisions as maximisers. We find out as much information as possible and carefully weigh up each option to ensure that we make the best possible decision. In other categories, categories we don’t care as much about, we are satisficers. It’s not worth our time to examine every angle. In these cases, good is good enough.
This is where Brands come in. We rely on Brands as time saving heuristics. Brands offer us a rule of thumb – they may not guarantee us the absolute best solution every time, but they deliver enough of the time, for us to comfortably rely on them. And we can apply our surplus cognitive energy to the stuff we actually care about.
So for example, I know if I’m buying a TV, that I can expect certain product standards from Sony, without having to do a load of homework around picture quality and refresh rates.
These brands didn’t build up this valuable collateral overnight however. They consistently delivered high quality products, invested in their brand and earned this positive reputation over time.
The beauty of this investment however, is that once this brand equity is established, they can then reap the rewards of brand heuristics in decision making.
Which Apple are clearly doing now, as illustrated above, with their iPhone.
As a side note:
The guy who made this video works in Best Buy who weren’t too pleased with him insulting one of their preferred partners Apple, despite the fact that he never mentioned Best Buy in the video. They insisted he remove it and when he wouldn’t, fired him. He reports on his Youtube channel that they have now asked him back – the issue is still ongoing.
This video has over 5 million views on Youtube so far. If I was HTC, I’d very publicly offer him a job!