I just bought a smartphone by HTC. It's called the Desire HD. Fantastic phone, it has a big (some say too big) 4.3 inch screen with Google Android operating system, voice navigation and all sorts of paraphernalia. When it's in your pocket and someone calls you, it automatically vibrates. I did my homework, and on paper it was fantastic, better on almost every count than the alternative I was looking at: the iPhone 4.
While phone hunting, I found it amazing how even tech review sites like techcrunch.com are dazzled by anything that comes out of the Apple factory. Those flawless reviews and the general hype surrounding the iPhone even made me doubt my choice, in spite of the HTC being a newer phone. It had the iPhone's number (pun intended) on almost every count. Yet my own good judgment and logic was being bypassed by the bright halo around the iPhone. "Surely it must be the best if it's this popular(?)" I said to myself. And ashamedly, I also thought about the guaranteed approval I would receive from friends and peers with an iPhone in my hand.
As a brand, HTC is not as cool as Apple. When you have an Apple product you belong to a select tribe and earn instant cool points. Their products have a unique look and cost more than competitors - they are not made for the everyman. Owning an Apple is as much about status as it is about functionality. Either you are in the tribe or you are not.
Then two of my clients Tim and Russell - both true geeks with every latest gadget (including the iPad) - complimented my HTC and told me that I didn't go wrong with my choice. They took the time to play around with it and I could see they sincerely appreciated the great product HTC have made. Strange, suddenly I felt better about my choice and saw the iPhone 4 for what it was: still good, but no longer the best.
But that's the power of being a "cool" company. Companies like Apple have already won people over before they can even launch a product. The public will salivate as soon as a launch date for the iPhone 5, 6 and 7 are announced. A big reason you buy something from the house of Apple is because it earns guaranteed approval. Apple make great stuff, don't get me wrong, but their brand, hype and religious following makes them really tough to compete against...and resist.