What makes us as consumers choose one brand over another? Is it the price? Is it the software? Or does it simply come down to our own preference? It is fair to say that we have, in today's society, become inundated with choices. The question is therefore; when it comes to technology, and more specifically 'essential technology', what makes a consumer choose one product over another?
Essential technology can be defined as something that you are unable to function without on a regular basis; a perfect example of which is a phone. Whether a trying to make a call, accessing a website, or sending an email - we have today become reliant on smartphones to get us from A to B.
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that brands are valuable assets but what makes them desirable? Time has suggested that it is a balance of what we as 'consumers' desire and what we as 'businesses' find the easiest to use. We have seen more recently that the difference between the two has become blurred, with the distinction between the two becoming less defined.
Bring your own device (BYOD), the idea that an employee can choose to use his or her own device at work has accelerated the need to make technology desirable. With Apple and Microsoft competing for the win, product and the way it is marketed has changed like never before: Apple's Apple vs PC adverts evoked a humorous response to the superiority of Apple by directly mocking the PC. This clever choice of marketing methods steered consumers and businesses alike towards the Apple product.
Alongside software, applications are now being designed specifically with both the consumer and business in mind. Twitter and Skype are perfect examples in the business world; their simplicity and consumer-style usability has resulted in huge penetration into the business market, whilst at the same time achieving a huge consumer uptake as well. As market leaders within their respective fields, both technologies enable businesses to complete their day-to-day tasks simply and efficiently, with the look and feel of a consumer technology. Twitter in particular has infiltrated both markets in quick succession. With the likes of ASOS using the Twitter for their customer services: ASOS_HereToHelp offers consumers the chance to chat with ASOS live, has demonstrated the flexibility of social media to businesses. With over 2m followers, their personable approach works quickly and effectively to solve any problems the consumers may be having.
The reputation of a brand must also be considered when choosing one technology over another. A brand's reputation has been built and consistently manipulated over time in order to properly reflect the values of their consumers. Like so many of us, the name of the brand and what it associates with, is a significant factor within the decision making process. Apple is known for its innovative, hi-tech premium products, and their prices reflect these values. Choosing to supply a workforce with the latest iPhones could be seen as supplying employees with the same values - who doesn't want to be innovative and of high quality?
Of course there are a multitude of other key points such as psychological and emotional factors that must be considered when addressing this topic. However in this instance, why someone chooses one essential technology over another is down to the product itself. Consumers demand the same quality reflected in their business lives as they have in their home. There is no longer a definitive difference between B2C (business to consumer) and B2B (business to business) in the workplace anymore. Consumers want B2B technologies that look and feel like B2C.