Fighting brand apathy

There is something about a mobile phone that polarises our bond of ownership. A close proximity to a device that harbours personal text messages, images of loved ones and birthday reminders spurs on even the most stoic of consumer to stand up and declare that their particular model of phone is the best on the market.

One thing that the mobile giants share is a lack of apathetic consumers. In the world of the smartphone market, apathy is dying and passion is winning.

But what about products that we have less of a bond with? A toothbrush or an ironing board can’t possibly hope to make us irrationally love or hate them. Can they?

Last year I took the plunge and bought my own home. My little piece of England demanded filling with all the trinkets and accessories that a home must have to operate as more than just a hovel for sleeping. Having just dropped every penny I owned on actually buying said house I enthusiastically went looking for the cheapest accoutrements I could lay my money-saving hands on.

And then I bought a Dyson. Far in excess on anything I had budgeted, the Dyson took hold of me and won me over with glossy photos and impassioned user reviews.

Prior to the purchase I became obsessed with owning it. The particular model I lusted after turned out to be in short supply (a department store clerk told me that the Japanese tsunami had destroyed a factory where the battery was made). I was frantic in my search for it. Nothing but buying it would satiate my consumer desire.

After a number of failed shopping excursions I finally came home clutching the vacuum cleaner I had so desperately desired.

Dyson have successfully made a domestic tool, that spends much of it’s life locked away under the stairs or in the laundry room, an object of lust. After living with my Dyson for the best part of a year, I’m a full brand convert (I’ve actually toyed with the idea of buying another for no other reason than just the joy of ownership). What’s most impressive is that I’m not a alone in this madness. Last year sales of Dyson’s bladeless fans – which are around 3 times more expensive than traditional equivalents – were up 150% in Japan.

One of the key factors we consider when working with brands is apathy. If you can instil a reaction in someone, you’re half-way to getting people to love what you do. Mundanity doesn’t come from products or services, it comes from the way they are talked about. As Simon Sinek recently put it “Passivity gets us one place: nowhere.”