Jae Shin, VP of Samsung’s Knox mobile security group, says that once upon a time people were moved by branding. Now, he says, they know better.
Logic isn’t all that, at least as far as real humans are concerned.
It’s one of the great frustrations of the engineering community that real humans don’t think like engineers. Which means, just occasionally, that they reject wonderfully engineered objects for those that look pretty. Or even those that are instinctively understandable.
However, one Samsung exec believes people have changed. He thinks they’re coming over to the other side. Yes, the dark side where only engineers dare to roam.
Jae Shin, VP of Samsung’s Knox mobile security group, thinks that people are now possessed of something he called “know-how.”
This, if my reading of his thoughts from Computing are correct, involves seeing past the frippery and into the heart of a product’s sheer engineering genius.
Shin was speaking at his company’s Business Discovery Day in London and declared: “Consumers are a lot smarter these days and there’s a lot of information available to them.”
The problem with information is that it’s often as digestible as a live snail. It doesn’t quite suit our instant and superficial cravings.
However, with a possible iWatch coming from Apple, Shin described his impression like this: “I think in the beginning maybe it was just about branding, but I think now consumers have the know-how and the resources to make a smart decision.”
So does this mean that in the beginning consumers were stupid and bought Apple — and now that they’re more savvy, they’re buying Samsung?
Shin insisted to Computing that Apple devices aren’t the only thing generating excitement these days. This he put down to people not being so concerned about the brand, but the merits of the actual product.
This seems a marginally odd posture, given that much of Samsung’s success — certainly in the US — is down to some excellent brand advertising.
These were ads that made Apple buyers look sheep-like, thoughtless, and old. Indeed, Apple’s Phil Schiller was so worried about Samsung’s ads that he fell out with his own ad agency.
The Samsung brand quickly became not only one that you could be seen with, but one you could actively support and even crow about.
Shin, though, prefers to put it in much more prosaic terms: “At Samsung, we provide a lot of technical support and SDKs to developers so that they actually create innovation solutions and applications and user experiences that provide what the consumer wants: transparent technology. They want to be able to use it for a purpose they’re going to benefit from.”
Is looking cool a purpose? It certainly is.
Many would argue that Apple has long been the best at making its technology so transparent that the merest rookie can pick up an Apple product, love how it looks, and find it remarkably understandable.
The fact that the entrails of the product might not be the most up-to-date as far as an engineer is concerned matters not at all.
One way Apple helped itself was by always having a clear emotional leaning toward simplicity. Simplicity in design and in communication.
From this, Apple gained the kind of trust that most brands in the world crave.
It may well be that future generations will be so technologically clever, so dripping in know-how, that they’ll think just like your average large-brained engineer.
I fancy, though, that human obstinacy and fickleness still has a few years to run.
So if a brand doesn’t move a human’s feelings, it’s so much harder for the product to even get a human’s attention.
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