A business partner and myself were talking about smart phones yesterday. Our Blackberry’s have seen better days and they’re beginning to drop calls, lose emails and the quality of the phone calls has also been declining.
“I want to buy a better smart phone,” he said, “and I considered an iPhone.” And then he stopped and looked at me sheepishly.
“But what?” I asked.
“But I just don’t want to give my money to Steve Jobs ,” he finished. “I know it’s crazy, he doesn’t need my cash, but there’s something about that guy I don’t like.”
We talked more and my friend said that Apple’s founder presented himself as “too smart for the rest of us” and “more cocky than confident.” Sure, the iPhone has great business applications, and would help him view websites, update social media and do everything else you wanted – I heard that the phone can also cook dinner.
But it kept coming back to Steve Jobs.
“That’s why I’m buying a Droid,” he said. “Just like an iPhone, but that guy doesn’t get my money.”
“But the corporate overlords at Google and Verizon do,” I said.
“Yeah, but I don’t know who they are, so I don’t care as much.”
There it is. The Apple brand and Steve Jobs personality are so closely aligned (and why shouldn’t they be?) that my friend decided to give someone else the business. Someone he admitted to not even knowing.
Brand recognition and power are two of the Holy Grails of any business or individual. Money, time and loads of effort are brought forth to create a brand, nurture it, and grow it to where people immediately recognize it, and equate it with a service or product. When a personality, or person, becomes associated with a brand great events can occur.
But in the case of my friend, Apple and Steve Jobs it was the direct opposite.