Human beings, by nature, fear change. We tend to cling to the familiar. People can develop a strong preference for certain things just because they are familiar to them. Generally speaking, the more someone is exposed to something, the more pleasing that thing will become to them.
This theory is especially true in the world of technology. Today, electronics companies have fans that would put the British Invasion of the 1960s to shame and this loyal following can be counted upon to buy up anything and everything their company of choice releases. If consumers had an iPhone 4, chances are they will be in line for an iPhone 5. If they have the Blackberry Torch, it is reasonable to assume they’re on the waiting list for one of the new BlackBerry 10x phones.
But why? Why do people crave the familiarity of the known over the possible advantage of the unknown? There could be something better out there but consumers would never know it.
Hip by Association
Watching Alicia Keys introduce the new BlackBerry or Beyoncé dance on the screen of her new Sprint phone is meant to make some consumers think, “Wow, if I buy this phone I’m going to be able to sing and dance like a rock star!” Just like back in high school, some people think if they hang with the cool kids, they will be cool, too.
So many smartphones are incompatible with other brands that changing phones can be a hassle. Transferring files and switching to a new OS isn’t worth it for most and marketing companies go a long way to point this out. Companies stress how simple it is to transfer information from one like-branded phone to the next. However, if phone users want a change, they should be ready for the possibility that they may lose all their contacts, music and apps. It could trigger a smartphone apocalypse; so why chance it?
In Your Face!
Companies that spend the most on marketing have a better chance of getting and keeping a customer’s business. “Nobody Cell Phone Company” may make the world’s perfect smartphone, but if they aren’t competing dollar for marketing dollar with Android, chances are consumers aren’t going to buy the product. Samsung spends more money on marketing than any other company and this has allowed the company to channel enough branding power to increase the sales of any product they want to lend their name to, whether it’s the Galaxy S3, a laptop, or a washing machine. Companies use money to lure customers in and keep them loyal.
Our predictable buying habits could have negative long-term effects on our future choices. Last year, Samsung and Apple dominated 69% of the market, a seven percent increase from the previous year. Consumers are weakening the competition by not branching out and pretty soon there won’t be many branches available to them. Good thing we’re all creatures of habit.