According to University of Illinois researchers, consumer psychology is changing and fanboys and fangirls don’t perceive their beloved brand as a relationship – some may consider it an extension of themselves.
A study in which they first assessed the level of their study volunteers’ attachment to a brand and then showed the participants critical statements about the company, shows that.
Those who were most attached to the brand reported lower self-esteem than those who were less attached. So this means that some people, the authors claim, start to incorporate their love for Apple or Xbox into their own identity.
The idea has been backed by a recent paper by the Journal of Consumer Research which argues that people feel ashamed and insecure when a company betrayal is discovered, much like what would happen when trust is broken in an interpersonal relationship, precisely because of the fact that their self-concept has been tied up with their products.
Although the story is being tied up with the recent Volkswagen scandal, it equally applies to Apple fanboys or those very weird creatures, AMD fanboys. The point is that when you write a news story which points out how bad a product is (Apple), or that the company is suffering (AMD), you are not insulting the brand but the people who declare themselves as fanboys.
Apparently they have invested more than just too much money in the product. Insulting the product creates an emotional response as if you were attacking them.
The interesting thing about this psychological state is that it is replaceable. While many people might feel that their friends are trapped within the Apple cult it is untrue. Another study found that when people find suitable substitutes for products they loved, their loyalty for their once favourites quickly dwindled, within a matter of days.