Apple products have successfully addressed consumers’ needs. Learn about Apple’s other secrets to success here, in this examination of the bandwagon effect on Apple products.
By Gary Everrett
From the moment Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone on Jan. 9, 2007, the brand’s unprecedented rise has continued to this day. Every year, the pioneer tech company releases a wide range of products, including the iPod, iPad, and iWatch. A refurbished MacBook Pro M1 is also highly popular among Apple users.
But what is the secret behind Apple products’ enormous growth in sales? Why does Apple remain one of the most sought-after smartphones? What does it take to be considered a luxury brand and touted by celebrities, influencers, and other important personas?
Dissecting the Apple Brand
The shtick that has worked for Apple since the beginning is not only pioneering the newfound soft-touch technology but also being at the forefront of producing premium quality mobile phones. Moreover, Apple’s marketing techniques have allowed the brand to connect with consumers.
Neurological connectivity is achieved when a retailer, brand, or service elicits a strong psychological and emotional response in the consumer. The response operates on a subconscious level in a way that is not easily understood or recognized by the consumer.
Various research studies in the field of neuroscience have discovered that when people have an elevated experience, their brains release many chemicals. Dopamine has received a lot of attention because it causes feelings of euphoria, self-satisfaction, and well-being, but it can also lead to addiction.
Consumer connectivity is more than just the physical or practical connection of products or services to consumers. Although this is a starting point, the mind connection or neurological connectivity is far more important.
Simply put, a brand or store has a neurological connection with its customers if they approach the store visit as they would a visit to a good friend’s home. Because they know they’re in for a fun and enjoyable experience, they look forward to the trip.
Because of its holistic approach, Jobs’ consumer mind-connecting process has created the most loyal customers of any brand. People would camp at Apple stores the night before the company releases its newest product to be first in line when the store opens the next day.
Apple users are also the company’s brand ambassadors, responding to articles and comments made by those who aren’t exactly Apple fans.
As such, it can be quite easy for Apple users to influence others to make the switch to Apple, known as the bandwagon effect.
What is the Bandwagon Effect?
The bandwagon effect is a psychological phenomenon in which people do something because others are doing it, regardless of their own beliefs, which they may ignore or override. It’s a form of herd mentality, where people tend to align their beliefs and behaviors with those of a group.
But not everyone is easily influenced by groupthink.
Some individualistic people are more discerning and pickier when choosing a particular brand, opting to use their own opinion of a product rather than be swayed by other people’s rants, raves, and reviews.
To attract the lone wolves of the consumer world, one of Apple’s strategies is to focus on functionality and quality.
Here are some things people look for when choosing their next phone, with Apple ready to offer a solution to consumers’ problems.
An important factor influencing our relationship with a product is its useability or functionality. Apple has long established in the minds of its consumers that their phones have great quality. So much so that even if other competitors released models with upgraded technology or even greater quality, its consumers would forego functionality and patiently wait for Apple’s next release.
This is influenced by factors such as the product’s overall good first impression and the level of service provided both before and after the purchase. That results in the overall level of trust placed in both the product and the company.
Because Apple’s credibility is already established in the mind of its customers, even if there are newer models offered by competitors, Apple’s loyal consumers understand that Apple will release a more improved version of the previous iteration.
The reason we buy a particular product is to express our self-identity. We purchase products with an aesthetic appeal because it contributes to our sense of self.
Apple has done an excellent job of creating a brand that allows customers to identify with those who “think differently.” Even though Apple is now a market leader and purchasing an iPhone is the equivalent of purchasing a PC during Apple’s “Think different” advertising campaign, owning an Apple can be associated with a person’s sense of self.
Once you understand how Apple works, which is different from other brands, you will be surprised by how easy it is to use. Therefore, long-time Apple users find it difficult to use any other phone apart from Apple.
Another driver of the Apple bandwagon effect is its perceived value, which many associate with good quality. Apple products are known to be more expensive than its competitors, which is why it is associated with luxury brands. Since time immemorial, a hefty price tag has been associated with good quality, as more hard work has been put into it.
Its tech specialists are called Apple doctors, and Apple shops are rebranded as Apple clinics. This is not a random choice. Besides an excellent marketing strategy that increases the value of an Apple product than any other normal smartphone, it all boils down to Apple’s desire to get out from the norm and establish a brand identity of accessibility.
You can find an Apple store pretty much anywhere, and its level of customer service is always lauded by its customers.
The Psychology Behind Apple Fans
The reputation of Apple’s loyal supporters is as famous – or infamous – depending on who you ask, as Apple’s products themselves. As such, these fans are referred to as “iSheep.” iSheep fans start waiting in line for hours to avail the latest creation of Apple as soon as it’s released.
Suppose they’re not standing in line to buy the new version of the iPhone. In that case, you may find these fans sleuthing the internet for articles related to Apple to affirm their beliefs on how this product is far superior to anything offered on the market. A study says 78% of Apple users could not imagine using any other phone product besides an iPhone.
While brand loyalty is common in the business world, Apple fans take things to the next level. In one way or another, iSheep followers have the Apple company and its products firmly embedded in their system. In the context of business, companies that grasp the human mind and its implications on customer behavior capitalize on these currents.
However, people don’t just buy Apple products for their quality; many reasons influence people’s decision to patronize a particular product. Here are possible explanations of why Apple fans are so devoted to the brand.
One of the key reasons people choose to buy a particular product is self-identity. People prefer products with a classic aesthetic appeal because it helps build their innate sense of self. Apple has seamlessly established a brand that allows its customers to identify with a community of “free-thinkers” who share the same perception.
While Apple is already an industry leader in the technology space, purchasing an iPhone harkens back to buying a PC in the products’ infancy. Yet, Apple’s launch of the “Think Different” campaigns has led to a fanbase that takes a person’s sense of self seriously.
Much like self-identity, social identity helps individuals define themselves through the groups they join. Once a person establishes a group they belong to, their so-called “in-groups” positively influence their perception of the group members.
Being part of groups is essential to being human; it reinforces the idea that it’s better to go in a pack to ensure survival as a species. That way of thinking is vital in everything we do and the “brand groups” people identify with.
Whether we like it or not, there are consequences to belonging to an in-group. For one, it dictates the members’ attitude towards people who are not a part of their circle or what is called “out-groups.” In-group folks with a one-track mind of thinking may fail to see the shortcomings of their group and view attacks on their circle as personal attacks on the individual, damaging their self-esteem.
This “tribalism” mentality is often the catalyst for arguments between Apple users and people who use other products like Android. Yet tribalism is vital in maintaining Apple’s brand.
In Apple’s early days, patronizing the product equated to being the “underdog” or an “us vs. them” mentality. This feeling still resonates with Apple fans despite the company reaching massive heights; the feeling still lingers of being a part of a group whose shared beliefs are rather exclusive to the tribe.
Apple drastically altered how people shop—visiting an Apple store evokes emotions of being in a club, creating an environment that doesn’t feel like a store but rather a venue. Customers are encouraged to use the products and stay for as long as they like, vigorously promoting The Endowment Effect. This philosophy entails the constant need to own something, making the individual value it more.
Apple has systematically conducted its business by employing step psychology that encourages consumers to tinker around with their products long enough to feel like they own the product, leading to people buying more products.
Social proof or peer pressure describes the constant need to follow what everyone else is doing, such as iSheep waiting in long lines outside an Apple store. Seeing people using Apple products or hearing from close confidants how better the new iPhone is can influence customers’ perception of the brand. If you’re the type of consumer who wants to get in on market trends, you might find yourself sharing this thought process and buying the item to socially conform.
When consumers think of Apple, they immediately think of quality products. While the notion of paying more for a product ensures better quality, people not well-versed in technology will find it difficult to definitively know if Apple products perform better than less costly alternatives. This method is why the price image strategy of Apple works so well.
With an absorbent amount of influence, Apple dictates the price to its retailers, going as far as ensuring their products are rarely ever discounted. This is why there is rarely a retailer who will try to push back on these terms, as Apple does not allow such arrangements. Price image is why Apple products never go on sale, and no matter where you buy, the price remains the same.
Emotion in Brand Loyalty
Apple is a prime example of a company capitalizing on brand loyalty to connect with its consumers to start a movement they believe. It employs creative and engaging brand campaigns their consumers can resonate with. People responsible for these campaigns know that having a strong emotional connection with their audience is vital to the success of these strategies. The emotional connection that has cultivated brand loyalty among Apple fans is also what allows the company to price its products substantially higher than its competitors.
Final Thoughts on The Bandwagon Effect on Apple Products
Many consumers have long been on the Apple bandwagon. The long lines that form outside an Apple store before the release of a new product speak for themselves. Consumers have come to associate the Apple brand with quality, innovation, universality, and fun, establishing the Apple logo as a social status symbol, as well.
About the Author
Gary Everrett is a Tech Geek who is a writer by passion. Mostly he writes about topics revolving around the latest gadget and technology. In his free time, he likes to read sci-fi novels and play golf.