Today following trends seems to have a negative tone to it. If you went out and openly said that you follow trends faithfully people wouldn’t react positively. Of course they wouldn’t call you a sheep in your face but they’d think you can’t make up your own mind and just do what everyone else is doing. This is common in this day and age. People want to live their way and wish to be different and stand out from the masses. Then why is it that trends govern our behavior as customers? Why do brands have such an impact on purchases?
There are many brands competing with each other today. Need proof? Take one step in a major city. Chances are that you’ll see ads for many different brands; McDonald’s, H&M, Elisa, the list goes on. There is fierce competition between these brands, each and every one wants to be better known and be more positively recognized than someone else. What are they fighting for? The leaders spot in their markets of course. Why is this competition important? Before answering I’d like you to list how many different brands of cell phones do your friends use? In Finland the answer is probably three: Nokia, Samsung and Apple.
Now how many cell phone manufacturers are there? Dozens at least. And that is good competition compared to for example the operating system on your computer. Almost everyone uses Windows on their computers, only Apple’s computers use their own operating system. Windows has such a strong presence that they could do almost anything they wanted. They could make huge anti-consumer policies and squeeze as much money out of their customers as possible and people would struggle to learn how to use a new operating system on their computer. Of course they won’t go to extremes but they can still get away with small actions. Loyal followers of the brand might not mind or even notice these. For these brands market dominance is worth fighting for.
Apple’s brand has grown big. I think the reason for that is that they managed to make their products wanted, trendy. At first the colorful iPod was introduced to the masses. People had all kinds of music players. Most made their decision based on price. Apple offered a machine that emphasized design and style while others competed in sound quality. Apple made their product look good and unique. People appreciated uniqueness more than sound quality and extra features and bought the iPod. Others started to take note and started to appreciate the player’s design more than features. This is what Apple offered, so many people bought their product. Soon, almost everyone had an iPod instead of some Sony’s USB music player, even if the iPod had fewer features. People started to like the design and style of Apple’s products in general and soon they saw a bit of themselves in them. This is why they are so loyal to Apple. They wouldn’t even consider trading the style that they have been using for such a long time for more features. But when Apple brings out a new version of the product the old one is abandoned and most want to have the new one. Now if someone is seen using the old version he is considered out of touch with the current times. Soon everyone will have the next version of the same product, which is not that different after all.
Microsoft enters the ring
Even if we dislike following trends, one can notice that most people do it nevertheless. Furthermore, they may not even acknowledge it themselves. Why do we do it, then? It is a combination of peer pressure and marketing of brands with a touch of human nature.