Sunday, October 12, 2008

Why do we go back to the brands that kick us in the nuts?

This months Icon magazine features an interview with Paul Bennett, IDEO's Chief Director. 

Bennett explains that sometimes we have to be let down by a brand not once, but a couple of times before we consider leaving it. 

And he is right.

I had been a faithful PC user since I was 10 years old. I stood by all the PC's I've had through countless viruses, sluggish performance, regular program crashing and the infinite use of Ctrl+Alt+Delete. Why? Because thats what I learned to live with.

But after 12 years of being slowed down by my trusty steeds, my eyes were opened up to another operating system which couldn't catch a virus, performed excellently all the time, rarely crashed and indeed didn't have a Ctrl+Alt+Delete function; because it didn't require it.

Mac OS X.

The same principle of loyalty applies to my choice of mobile phone handset and network provider. 

Although my first Sony Ericsson handset had to be sent away for repair twice in 12 months, come the end of my contract, I decided I wanted another one. And now I look back and think why I was frustrated when my second handset had similar problems and had to be sent away for repair. Orange did little to help on both occasions, only supplying me with an old replacement handset until my broken Sony Ericsson came back. 

And then there was Orange's reception quality, which has gradually worsened over the past 2 years. Yet I still didn't complain.

Until the iPhone was born. 

Arguably the best piece of industrial and interaction design in cell phones mated with the UK's best network provider O2 (with the best signal coverage); the iPhone is the answer to all my problems.

So today I bought one.

Sometimes we don't realize that certain a product or service is a liability. We might think a broken cell phone is merely a temporary burden; you don't get a poor reception everywhere; and a slow computer may only take a bit of patience. But it is when our eyes are opened up to how much better things can be that we begin to wonder why we actually settled for inferior goods in the first place.

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