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Friday, May 25, 2012

Brand and the suspension of disbelief

I have been thinking about brands and their impact on us.  I am an Apple fan.  My first ever computer was an Apple... well actually my first ever computer was a ZX Spectrum but you know what I mean.  Then, when I bought a laptop for work in the 90's I defected to Microsoft.  I stayed with Windows until the lunacy of waiting 5 minutes for your computer to start only to crash every hour or so drove me back to Mac.

I loved (and still love) my Mac mini.  I love my MacBook Pro.  But the full conversion, when last year I ditched my Blackberry and bought an iPhone 4 was a step too far.  My smart phone fails to meet even the most cursory definition of a 'phone' let alone being 'smart'.  I have looked in chat rooms on the internet and have learned about the 'death grip', I have switched off unnecessary applications, I have bought a case...  On average my "phone" drops 60% of calls at some point and fails to get through on 3 out of 4 dial attempts and the battery lasts for about 2/3rds of a day.  It is quite simply not a phone.  It is useless.

And yet I persist with it.  My 'love' for Apple has thus far enabled me to overlook the abject failure of the dreadful device.  My belief triumphs over the reality and keeps me going.  This belief exists simply as a result of the branding genius that is Apple.  The emotional commitment to a product that makes me feel special and ignore the set backs.

I wonder if instilling self-belief in children has a parallel with this.  The motto we devised for the Elliot Foundation is, "where children believe they can because teachers know they can".  If we can create a personal brand in children where this is strong enough to allow them to overlook the setbacks of life and keep going then we create better life chances for young people.

Having written down my half formed thought, I have a sneaking feeling that this is actually blindingly obvious...

Oh well.

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