The irrational consumer

screenshot_15Why do marketers continue to try and talk to consumers like they are rational people?  That’s a question that we need to think about as consumers take out their anger on some brands while other brands, who screw up, are given a pass.

This week, Apple sold over 10 million iPhones, but consumers who purchased the new iPhones are dealing with a lot of problems with buggy software to smartphones that bend.  In addition, Apple released an update yesterday for their iOS 8 only to pull it a couple of hours later, after users reported they weren’t able to make calls after installing the update.  Yet there are still lines outside Apple stores for the new iPhones and there is very little consumer anger with Apple.


Then there is poor McDonalds.  They launch some sponsored Tweets and are crucified via social media backlash for their food and service.  How can one brand treat consumers like they don’t need them and still  maintain its brand equity while another continues to do what they have always done and be held to a higher standard?

The answer is that consumers, for the most part, are not rational when it comes to brands they really like.  Apple is not a marketing company, they are a product, company and consumers would rather not wait for new Apple gadgets because they see them as a crucial part of their online lives. Apple has always had a history of releasing products with bugs.  Remember antenna gate and yellow iMac screens?  Apple denied both until they finally were forced to correct the problems.  But recent research indicates that Apple may be loosing its “cool” with consumers.

Apple has been the outsider brand meant for techies  and the hip, but as they become mainstream and the top PC and smartphone brand more consumers could switch to underdog brands like Samsung.  Consumers love underdog brands that go against the mainstream establishment, but big established brands like McDonalds are quick to get held to a higher standard because people see them as a mass marker burger place with less emphasis on individual consumers.


There are those who believe that Apple has jumped the shark.  An argument can be made that the new iPhones are long overdue and are simply a copy of what other smartphone brands have been doing for years.  I’m an Apple customer and to tell you the truth I’m getting really tired of buggy software and products that cost a premium.

Apple had better watch what they do because Steve is no longer around to share his rock star status with the brand and consumers are working too damn hard and long to lay down good money for buggy products.


About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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