How Do You Know When It’s the One?

Posted on September 5, 2012 by Angela Braun Mineo

I have Sept. 12 circled on my calendar. The day that could change my life. The day I might decide to say “yes” to a certain someone who is going to be there for me, for better or for worse, all the days of … a two-year phone contract.

When I heard that Apple might announce the specifics of the heavily shrouded iPhone 5 that day, my heart skipped a beat. I had been waiting impatiently to ditch my decrepit, not-so-smart phone, with its teeny screen and sad excuse for Internet access. The moment my painful two-year sentence was over, I bounded breathlessly into a Verizon store to check out my options. The rep took one look at my little slider and shamed me with, “Whoa, girl, you still have one of those?” as though it was the most ancient gadget on the planet.

And maybe it was. With mobile technology advancing at such an exponential pace, we have drastically changed the way we rely on smartphones to communicate, collaborate and navigate our lives—and it seems nearly impossible to keep up without one, especially as a marketer.

I found a very impressive suitor in the Samsung Galaxy S III but ultimately decided to resist its charms and wait for the truth behind the long list of rumored iPhone 5 advancements, lest I miss out on something remarkable by a mere few weeks (well played, Apple, well played). It certainly feels like a long wait, during which I’ve had time to reflect on what might ultimately push me one way or the other. Assuming the rivaling technologies are still fairly comparable, for many consumers in the same position as I am it might come down to that age-old consumer purchase influencer: emotion.

The first emotional trigger is the obvious one of whether you feel any qualms about buying Samsung smartphones after Apple’s legislative victory (sorry, none here!).

The second trigger is related but feeds more into the law of supply and demand. A second win for Apple—which would ban sales of the S III before the iPhone 5 launch, around Sept. 21—could backfire by irritating consumers just enough to buy a Galaxy before Apple could tell us what we can and cannot buy. Plus, the “Get it before it’s gone!” attitude might kick in (like that moment on Black Friday when you’re torn over whether to get that last doorbuster luggage set and you hastily throw it in your cart when a glassy-eyed housewife in pajamas starts pounding down the aisle toward you like a Hunger Games tribute).

The final emotional trigger might be more subtle, yet equally powerful, because what influences our gut more than the ads we see? When Apple came out with the iPhone 4S, its ads focused heavily on the new Siri voice command feature and how it helps us simplify our busy daily routine. But with the Galaxy S III now rivaling the capabilities of the (at least current) iPhone, how is it making sure everyone knows its technology challenges that of Apple’s? Apparently, by not focusing on it too much at all.

It seems that Samsung has taken notes from ads that not only appeal more to emotion but also cleverly acknowledge consumers’ oversaturation with technology overload. Google’s “Dear Sophie” ad campaign, for example, focuses less on techy jargon and more on how new advancements such as Google Chrome are here to support human connections and life’s milestone moments. Samsung’s own ads for the Galaxy S III feature the theme “Designed for Humans” and portray the phone as an extremely advanced yet streamlined gadget that “shares the warmth of nature” and becomes an unobtrusive part of our everyday environment, without overshadowing our human connections.

It’s a smart move, but who knows what type of clever advertising ploy Apple has up its sleeve, especially coming off its high-profile win against Samsung, and whether that will be enough to make me become an iPhone groupie. All I can say is that choosing a phone has never been so interesting. Whatever comes to pass between the technology titans in the next few weeks, I can’t wait to put my restless mind at ease once I recognize “the one.”


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