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Brand Advocacy


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#1 of 66 OFFLINE   RobCar

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Posted February 26 2003 - 04:17 AM

I've been reading this board for several months, and there's one definite constant that I've noticed. It seems like there are a bunch of people who have bought a certain brand of receiver and have then become rabid advocates of that brand, sometimes to the exclusion of rational or constructive discussion.

For example, there's one guy who I'm convinced is getting commissions from Denon ... [edited to remove details that might point toward specific member or members].

He's entitled to his opinion, of course, but I've read his story so many times it's starting to sound like a broken record. But more important, this kind of advocacy often comes from left field -- e.g., in response to a post where someone's asking about Sony or Pioneer. Which just doesn't seem constructive.

When I first encountered this kind of "enthusiasm," I bought into it pretty hard. I thought, "well, these guys are such advocates, these units must really be something." But the effect is has is that my expectations become so high that when I go into the store to audition a brand, I'm almost sure to be disappointed. I'm then left wondering if these people are also in some way disappointed and feel the need to win over new converts to make themselves feel better.

Is this just a reality of these kinds of boards? Are people just trying to make themselves feel better about the $1k they plunked down?

#2 of 66 OFFLINE   chung_sotheby

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Posted February 26 2003 - 04:29 AM

Quote:
For example, there's one guy who I'm convinced is getting commissions from Denon. Regardless of the topic, he'll chime in and go on for 1000 words about how he bought a Yamaha, but then returned it for a 3803 and how it sounds "MUCH" better. And in turn, he seems to get offended if anyone has a negative opinion of Denon.

I believe that posters like that are called fanatics, with whom rationale and discussion take a back seat to blind faith. Besides, I and many others tend not to take these posters' opinions seriously

Quote:
Is this just a reality of these kinds of boards? Are people just trying to make themselves feel better about the $1k they plunked down?

For the most part, yes, this is completely true. I remember at Harmonic Discord when Michael Barnes, the founder and owner of Norh, had a great post about "pride of ownership," and how sometimes people get offended and defensive when they feel like their purchase is not as reliable/economical/practical(take your pick) as they once thought, and can only affirm their purchase by either consistently bragging about their gear or attacking others. But on the other hand, I think that the mods at hometheaterforum have done a pretty good job of weeding out the types of posters who have an agenda instead of an opinion, if that makes any sense.

#3 of 66 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted February 26 2003 - 05:17 AM

Pretty good hit of the nail square on the head. People like to feel good about what they've bought or the team that they support. To do that some will sing the praises of their preference while others will sneer down the other stuff and others will do both. Sometimes the information is useful. For example, many buyers simply don't know what to look for or what's avaialable. In some ways, reading polarized views might help to educate the person. However people can be very scared in jumping into the unknown and seek the comfort of other satisfied buyers. Kind of like reading posts where someone writes, "How come no one talks about Jamo?" or "What do you think about Brand X". We all make buying decisions differently weighing a multitude of factors and taking a certain amount of risk in hoping that certain aspects are minimized and others maximized. Styling may take a front seat for some, for others availability of local service may rank high on the priority list. I recall one person who got on the Monster cable bashing wagon. Turned out, that he'd probably damaged the cable some way and was probably initially looking to vent some anger. When it was pointed out that Monster had a life time warranty, the person found that they could return the cable and lo and behold got a new one with no hassle. Next post sang the praises.
Yes, people can be fiercely brand loyal. How else to explain the popularity of something like British roadsters that leaked oil in one's driveway or the Chevy Vega that won Motor Trend's car of the year yet was found to have this slight problem with having been built without steel sleeves in the cylinders?

#4 of 66 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted February 26 2003 - 05:32 AM

This is an interesting topic, one I'd like to see discussed calmly. But, please, let's try not to point fingers at individual members.

As for brand loyalty, it could simply be a case of having good experience with a specific marque. (When I was growing up, there were people who bought nothing but Fords and others who wouldn't be caught dead in anything but a Chevy.)

Some brands have certain characteristics unique to or characteristic of them (Toshiba's televisions, for example, are noted for their generally accurate color decoding).

Denon, from the beginning of its appearance in the U.S. market, has endeavored to impart a high-end ambiance in products aimed at what was once called the "mid-fi" market. Better build quality helped foster that impression.

It's a great brand. But so are Kenwood, Sony, Pioneer, H-K, etc., etc.

Other brands have carefully cultivated an exclusive following. McIntosh, for example. While still others have made a big splash for offering tremendous value along with high performance (Outlaw comes to mind).

Ultimately, it boils down to human nature. Partisanship.

#5 of 66 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted February 26 2003 - 05:43 AM

I think you're largely right Jack. My father to this day would never consider buying a Buick or using Getty gas. My son was heavily into the thought of buying a Japanese car (Fast and the Furious) until he was given permission to drive the '87 Mustang. The venue that a product is sold in has so much to do with its perception. I believe it was Walmart that got a load of Klipsch speakers (closeouts) and that raised a serious ruckus amongst the community. Just think what would happen if Denon was bought by a company with a relatively low opinion such as Daewoo?

#6 of 66 OFFLINE   David Judah

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Posted February 26 2003 - 06:04 AM

The reality is most enthusiasts who are not in the CE industry in one way or another don't have alot of hands-on experience with alot of different brands, so they do their homework on the web by looking at specs and checking the Forums to narrow it down to a few models, maybe go down to the local electronics store and listen to a few, and then make their purchase.

Naturally, that fosters some of the attitude you mention. Most people just don't have the time to check out all the details of all the different brands and become familiar with them, so they make a purchase and become the "expert" on their model and brand.

Unfortunately, some take it one step further and instead of just speaking about what they know, they exhalt their brand and dismiss others even though they have no experience with other brands(outside of maybe a few improperly done demos at an electronics store).

If someone posts something outrageous, usually someone will call them on it, and more often than not they'll disappear from that thread, since they can't back up what they wrote. Some keep popping up like you've noticed though, and while it's irritating, they've lost their credibility, so people stop paying attention to them.

It's the downside to the openess we all enjoy on the WWW, but I hope it won't stop you from participating here. The good far outwieghs the bad.

DJ
Lecktor: Then how did you catch me?
Graham: You had disadvantages.
Lecktor: What disadvantages?
Graham: You're insane.

#7 of 66 OFFLINE   Scott Oliver

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Posted February 26 2003 - 12:05 PM

Also don't forget the existence of shills. As Rob wondered whether this guy was getting paid for his enthusiasm or not, there are people out there who are in someway linked to a certain brand, whether through them being a dealer, an employee, or owner, or just receiving benefits for giving good plugs on the net.

Pointed out a shill to the moderators just the other day. Thankfully that one was obvious, but in an anonymous internet world it is almost always not so.

(Note: I am not saying anything about the poster Rob is alluding to, actually have no idea which particular thread he is referring too.)

#8 of 66 OFFLINE   Chas_T

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Posted February 26 2003 - 01:07 PM

Quote:
It's the downside to the openess we all enjoy on the WWW, but I hope it won't stop you from participating here. The good far outwieghs the bad.


Agree with this comment 100%. I think after a bit of time, you get a feel for people on HTF and the other open forum web sites. You learn who makes good sense and read the balance of the posts with a tie your camel and trust in god attitude.

There are certain people who post on this forum whose experience and ability to convey those thoughts about audio I value and respect. When they post I make an effort to read their words no matter what the topic. That is the good that outweighs the bad.

In the end, I always have a philosophy. Prove it to myself. Do the work to make the purchase. Research, listen and demo, demo, demo.

#9 of 66 OFFLINE   Camp

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Posted February 26 2003 - 02:22 PM

Excellent thread.

I've never quite understood why some people become so fanatical about a brand of socks, soda, amps or whatever. It's as if they're so unable to think for themselves that they find some comfort in "believing" in one particular brand. Odd that people like this are eligible to vote. Posted Image

Perhaps some of these folks will read this thread and recognize a bit of this in themselves.

#10 of 66 OFFLINE   Evan S

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Posted February 26 2003 - 04:13 PM

There is a guy I work with who has about 4-5 Cokes a day. Not Diet Cokes, but Cokes. He doesn't drink Coffee or Tea, or any other softdrink...just Coke. When I asked him if he has ever had a Pepsi, he said yeah, once. Hated it. I asked him when the last time was that he had any other soda other than Coke...he said about 5 years ago. Unbelievable.

I love Sam Adams, but I can just as soon have a Newcastle, Bass or Guiness. Variety is the spice of life I say!

At least that's how I rationalize it whenever upgraditis sets in!!!!

searching for that elusive, "perfect" sound.

#11 of 66 OFFLINE   Douglas_H

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Posted February 26 2003 - 05:01 PM

RobCar,
People with the MO you describe are called "fanboys".
They'll twist or hijack any thread to espouse their "truth".
Another variation is the "Single Theorist" i.e.,
"you can only rightfully judge XYZ buy doing a double blind lindy test conducted by eunuchs", etc.
Another popular twist is the "Best" poster, "The Phlogistun
combo pre/pro 8-track is the best. I auditioned the one you bought and found it decidedly inferior in all aspects.(sniff!)"
Try to be patient, they eventually go away. The internet is one big anonymous place and any gomer can get an ISP.
In my experience, thoughtful posters will qualify with a
IMO or IMHO and will try to offer advice that helps you
make an informed decision.

But then again, that's just my opinion Posted Image

#12 of 66 OFFLINE   Greg Kolinski

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Posted February 26 2003 - 11:50 PM

Posted Image ALL so TRUE!!! I just try to avoid such threads when they degrade to the typical"internet argument"You can NEVER convince the "fanatic" type people that there could possibly be componants /companys that are equal to the stuff they have.I come to these board to get info and be entertained,not to argue with closed minded peoplePosted Image ,I get to do that crap all day longPosted Image Sure I like and recomend the componants I have bought,but also realize there are companys that make pieces just as good AND better.
The more I learn about this stuff ,the dumber I get

#13 of 66 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted February 27 2003 - 05:45 AM

When a thread bogs down into brand-specific partisanship and free-for-all insults, just contact an admin and the problem will be fixed.

Sure, there are people here who are fiercely loyal to certain manufacturers. And, like all large message boards that get a certain measure of media exposure, HTF is subject to the occasional, clandestine industry shill. (This seems to happen more often in the Software section, though. You know, someone new signs up, has all of ten posts or so, yet is able to offer the complete lowdown on a DVD that's rumored to be in production.)

Discerning readers can sift through the flotsam to get the information or help they're seeking.

By the way, Toshiba blows all other HDTVs away and can even improve one's sex life.

#14 of 66 OFFLINE   RobCar

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Posted February 27 2003 - 05:59 AM

Thanks for all the interesting comments, everyone! I've learned a few new words (e.g., "fanboy") and have definitely gained a new perspective.

I think one of the most applicable characterizations, which a couple of you mentioned, is partisanship: The brand loyalty can take on an edge that I used to see at some news forums, where pro-Bush and anti-Bush people would spend days yelling at each other, but w/o adding any substance. I've gave up on those forums a long time ago. I won't give up on these, though. The balanced and informative info here far outnumbers and outweighs the partisanship.

#15 of 66 OFFLINE   NickSP

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Posted February 27 2003 - 06:31 AM

Why pick on one guy because he is so fanatical about Denon? I mean you can always ignore this one or couple of guys trying to be fanatical about one particular brand. In all honesty, I thought many on this forum were fanatical about Outlaw products and that is quite difficult to ignore IMHO!!
Too much power is never an overkill!

#16 of 66 OFFLINE   JackS

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Posted February 27 2003 - 07:34 AM

You mean after a year or more, you guys still don't know yet that every product I bought and every decision I made was perfect for the price paid? Jeez, I guess I'll have to learn to be a little more forceful.

#17 of 66 OFFLINE   Philip Hamm

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Posted February 27 2003 - 10:43 AM

Great thread!

The whole Pride of Ownership idea is human nature. The only way try to rise above it is to be aware of it.

But don't you dare write anything negative about the Outlaw 950 (greatest prepro on the market) or so help me....... Posted Image

I have had bad experiences with Sony gear so in general I try to avoid it. Though one of my latest purchases last year was a Sony SACD deck (I got a price I couldn't refuse).

I advocate Pioneer gear, because I feel that they have done more than any other company in the long run with regards to furthering the cause of home theater. Their longtime championing of the LaserDisc format is a big reason that we have DVD as it stands today. So I often lean towards Pioneer for that reason.

But I like all my stuff from Harmon/Kardon, Pioneer, Sony, Denon, Philips, Mirage, Wharfedale, KLH, RCA, JVC, Magnavox, Technics, Panasonic, Sherwood Newcastle, B&W, Outlaw, Powermax, and any other manufacturer that's in my home that I forgot.
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#18 of 66 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted February 27 2003 - 11:02 AM

reminds me a bit of the movie Dave, where Kevin Kline said something like, "You want to spend X millions of dollars so americans can feel good about buying something or other?"

#19 of 66 OFFLINE   Steve_Ma

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Posted February 27 2003 - 12:30 PM

When I first got into this hobby, I remember how much darn work went into informing everyone that my equipment was the best my budget (and anything remotely close to it) had to offer. Heck it sounded better than systems costing almost twice as much.

Time and experience have tempered my "enthusiasm." I now would much rather contribute on more technical topics like bass mgt, speaker response curves, and etc.

Now that I have more experience and a more objective "bass-line" (bad pun intended), I just assume most people can find a system for less money that sounds better. Especially if they are blessed with a good room and tolerant significant other... Oh what I could accomplish with bass traps and a better sub....lol. Now, if I can just stop getting sucked into the old “tower vs bookshelf” debate from time to time…

Great thread!
--Steve

#20 of 66 OFFLINE   Robb Roy

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Posted February 27 2003 - 12:34 PM

A lot of what's being discussed here is referred to as cognitive dissonance. I'm not talking about the dishonest folks, but the people who honestly believe a certain brand/product is *the* way to go.

In a nutshell (a very small one) cognitive dissonance goes as such: I made a decision. I did this either because I was wrong (and therefore possibly stupid, won't be selected for mating, etc.) or because I was right. Generally, we convince ourselves of the latter sentiment.

Obviously we've seen many examples on these threads. Some others are: People look at advertisements of the cars they purchase more *after* buying them than before. Ever noticed how fiercely loyal fraternity members are? Look at the hazing that goes on in so many of them -- either you have to be an idiot to do those things or the fraternity is really worth all that and you were one of the special people to recognize its value.

Most (I hope?) people will, over time, be able to step back and rationally evaluate their decisions.

2 more cents on the pile...

-Robb

Edit: I just used fraternities as an example of how cognitive dissonance works. If you are a loyal greek system member, please do not make me eat goldfish, assault some poor college student, drink two cases of cheap beer with a garbage bag around my neck, etc.





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