I’m a Mac. My friend Chris is a PC. I love my Apple products. Chris loves his PC branded products.
Recently Chris has become an ardent fan of Samsung’s smart phones and tablets. While we agree that both Apple and Samsung are strong brands, the merits of our favourite brand’s products have recently been the basis of a high-spirited debate.
Be it resolved that Apple’s iPhone and iPad are better than Samsung’s smart phone and tablet products.
I am for this. Chris is against. Who’s right? Paradoxically, we both are.
“This paradox stems from the word ‘best’: best for whom, and at what?”
Chris is a “Techie.” He works in technology and has a computer science degree. He’s a serious, no-nonsense, kind of guy. His perspective of Apple products is filtered through his “I am a PC” lens. Because Apple products don’t allow for the customization and adaptation he requires he doesn’t believe they deliver the compelling value he seeks. His view of Apple products is that they are not for “techies” like him.
For Chris, Samsung products are “best”:
- The technology is powerful and fits his needs
- The interface is user-friendly and customizable
- The operating system permits adaptation and, in his view, is sufficiently seamless and secure
- The product-line design is visually appealing and provides choice in product form and size
For me, Apple products offer exactly the right level of performance and emotional appeal. I am not a “Techie”. My Apple products are my technology “power suit”. They are easy to use, look great, and project the right image for every occasion.
For me, Apple products are best:
- The technology is powerful and fits my needs
- The interface is easy-to-use and intuitive
- The operating system is proprietary, seamless, and secure across the product line (Including iTunes)
- The product-line design is visually stunning and tactilely pleasing
Can Chris and I find common ground?
The answer is most likely no, or at least, not until we realize the inherent paradox in the meaning of the word “best”: best for whom, and at what?
Samsung is a strong brand. It makes the “best” products for people like Chris—products capable of delivering the benefits he is seeking given his needs as a “techie”. They just don’t do it for me.
Apple is a strong brand. It makes the “best” products for people like me—products capable of delivering the benefits I am seeking given my “non-techie” needs. They just don’t do it for Chris.
Chris and I will continue to playfully debate the merits of our favourite brand’s products. But, neither of us will ever win.
That’s because in broad product-markets customers do not have homogenous needs and do not desire the same benefits. It’s only within more narrow submarkets that you can find customers who have more homogenous needs and who desire comparable benefits.
I’m a Mac and Chris is a PC. And we’re both right.
 Kapferer, Jean-Noel, Chapter 2, “Strategic implications of branding” The New Strategic Brand Management: Advanced Insights and Strategic Thinking 5th Edition, London, United Kingdom: Kogan Paige Limited, 2012. Print.
Chris – This is for you 🙂