It is a term used as a throwing weapon on many occasions, and in the popular jargon (you won’t find it in the Royal Academy or in any dictionary) it is understood as someone who loves a brand irrationally and defends it with a sword and cloak above all things. This client-devote profile does not listen to reason when someone criticizes his colors and does not hesitate to mercilessly attack his rivals.
We are using the terms ‘attack’ and ‘defence’ deliberately, since in this phenomenon, confrontations are experienced as a form of war in which positions must be defended to the death. And all this would not make much sense if there were not a critical ingredient: feelings. In this confrontation, neither those who face each other win nor lose, but the real winners find themselves in the background feeding this struggle.
Turning consumers into fans
So is this a ploy organized by the brands to build customer loyalty by blood and fire? Xavier Oliver, professor of marketing at IESE Business School, has no doubts about the matter: ” turning consumers into fans ” is one of the great aspirations of the main brands, which also do everything possible to achieve it . And there are clear economic motivations behind it.
“Brands actually do what boyfriends do: try to please their partners,” he explains. Manufacturers do the same thing: they try to show that they care about you and make you feel special so that later they create unbreakable emotional ties. The professor draws a parallel with the world of football: “if you’re a team player, you’ll always be one”, and although in the world of telephony these boundaries are not so strong, breaking ties with brands is complex.
A ‘fanaticism’ that erases reason?
We understand the issue from an economic point of view: establishing exit barriers for a client is highly profitable for the brand, or what is the same, to build loyalty. But can the consumer really make an irrational purchase because of this phenomenon? We fear that it can: the ancestral belonging to groups that end up bending the reason comes into play. Human beings tend to bond emotionally with groups and have always done so as a matter of survival.
Lifehacker explains it well: you join a group and almost without realizing it, you start to enhance the positive of it, and in the same way, minimize the negative . This behaviour explains why some iPhone or Android followers prioritise the defence of their platform at all costs, despite the fact that in some aspects it is inferior.
One joins a group and almost without realizing it, begins to enhance the positive aspects of it, and in the same way, minimize the negative aspects
Is it possible not to be a ‘fanboy’? If we manage to dodge the siren songs of the manufacturers and remain cold to their intentions of touching our emotional side, we will have won a battle, but not the war. The brands play another trick, almost definitive: the costs of change . Doing some quick numbers, you realize that you have invested a lot of money in applications and accessories for your mobile. Why change at this point? Change is frightening and irrationality comes into play: we will start to see our mobile phone in a better light… even if it is inferior.