Technical Details vs Compelling Philosophies
Have you ever been caught up in a debate about Apple vs Android/PC?
It’s always a mess of terribly constructed arguments.
I’ve never seen it end with someone saying “Wow, you’ve changed my mind with your flawless logic and ridicule of my preferences. I’m off to change brands right now!”
No single feature will make an Apple fan convert to an Android.
No single aesthetic will make a PC fan switch sides to Apple.
That’s because we’re not talking about features and aesthetics, it’s about the philosophy behind technology.
One side says: Technology should fit seamlessly within our lives
The other says: Technology should offer us high performance and flexibility.
Both of them are good points, but they’re speaking different languages.
For Android users, the language is about freedom, customisation, value for money, and not being taken advantage of by some smug giant.
These are people who want to understand how their technology works, and find ways to make them even better.
For Apple customers, the language is about simplicity, elegance, minimalism and reliability.
They don’t know what sort of processor drives their device, nor do they want to.
These are people who care about how their technology makes them feel, and in general, how little frustration it brings them.
Let’s be clear, people switch all the time.
Except the reason is never because of a “technical argument”.
Instead they see someone with the other brand’s device, and are quietly surprised.
They gradually feel their assumptions are wrong, and that their old view of the other brand is no longer relevant.
PCs and Android phones are much better than they used to be.
Apple products are no longer that different from other manufacturers.
Both brands learned a lot of lessons from their rivals, collaborated on components and stole from each other’s strengths.
I don’t think many people choose their devices casually.
Technology is such a big part of our lives, so we put a lot of thought into it.
I also don’t think we make rational decisions.
Instead, we have a gut feeling about which brands we like, and use data to provide supporting arguments.
That’s why when someone comes out with opposing data, they might win an argument and not change our gut feeling.
If I’m on the way to buy a MacBook Air, and you offer me a HP laptop that weighs 100g less, has a longer battery life, a similar appearance and costs $200 less…
I’m still going to buy the MacBook.
If I’m a loyal Android user, there’s nothing you can show me about Apple that will make me switch.
I’d have had years of resenting their superior attitude and inferior technology.
There’s a disdain deep within me, which is best summarised by Moss from The IT Crowd:
There’s a lot we can learn from the stalemate.
1. When people are loyal to a brand beyond reason, don’t bother trying to reason with them.
2. If we want to persuade someone, we need to understand and speak their language.
3. People hate to change, because change brings discomfort, uncertainty and having to admit you were wrong.
If you wanted to convert someone away from Apple, I’d start like this;
Ask them what they like about the device.
It might be the screen resolution, battery life, shape, camera, etc.
Then ask them:
“If there was an alternative that had better versions of all those features and was cheaper, would you buy it?”
Right there, you’ll see how people actually behave.
They'll essentially admit what's driving them - technology or philosophy.
It’s not about specifications, it’s about choosing which team we like being on.
When you’re creating a social enterprise, keep in mind that your customers generally don’t care about specifications, they want to be on a cool team.
They’ll want to feel like they’re a good person.
They’ll want to be the one who introduces your brand to their friends.
They’ll post about you on social media.
They’ll read all your emails.
Once you've got them, then they'll try your new products and services.
Are you focused on being technically superior to the competition?
Or building a brand with a compelling philosophy?