Brands Are The New Religions

Thou shalt not worship false iPhones

As I was fiddling with my iPhone today, I started thinking about how some of the rabid Apple fans I knew spoke about Apple and its related iProducts with almost-religious fervour in almost-religious terms. I mean, though I don’t consider myself a “rabid” Apple fan, but even I am guilty of this: I talk about my recent purchase of the iPhone4 and subsequent adoption its technology in religious terms! I frequently mention to my friends about how I’m now a “convert” and have “seen the light”… and I even go around proselytizing – telling everyone about the “Good News” that I’ve found in the iPhone!

And then,  I stumble upon this article over at Fast Company that talks about how a university study reveals that the Apple Logo Is an Agnostic’s Crucifix, Star of David! The study by Duke University reveals that:

The brand name logo on a laptop or a shirt pocket may do the same thing for some people that a pendant of a crucifix or Star of David does for others.

Gavan Fitzsimons, professor of marketing and psychology at Duke says, “Brands are a signal of self-worth. We’re signaling to others that we care about ourselves and that we feel good about ourselves and that we matter in this world. It’s more than ‘I’m hip or cool’…I’m a worthwhile person, and I matter, and you should respect me and think that I’m a good person, because I’ve got the D&G on my glasses.”

Interestingly, the study finds that those who consider themselves “religious” are less likely to find their self-worth from brands. In fact, this impacts how brand strategies ought to be developed:  if you knew that your target customers were largely more religious, that would probably suggest the store brand path would be easier. If you knew that your customers were largely not at all religious, that suggests that you might want to focus more toward building a national brand.


Fast Company article here.

Duke University study findings here.

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