This was all set off by an example of the class's discussion leader; He was show casing two sets of different speakers. One set was small, grey, and from where I was sitting cheap looking(we'll call this set A). The other set was tall, sleek black with a luminate blue light indicating power, and looked pretty baller (set B). He then played some instrumental piece through both, set B had terrible musical quality while set A had phenomenal musical quality. He then identified the brands of both speakers, set A was some quality speaker line that I can't recall the name of, while set B was some generic line. At this point I was thinking about a keyboard thread that I had seen on TL.net about which ones to buy, and that most of them looked like shit in my eyes (grey, looked straight out of the 90's), but I thought that they must be quality just because someone with a high post count had recommended them.
In the example of the keyboard, I had completely disregarded the look in favor of a trusted recommendation and assumed functionality, both of which the producer had no real control over (besides making a competent product of course). The company spent no money at all in marketing towards me, yet I still bought and recommended their product. In fact, they saved money not putting fancy lights or a sleek paint job on the keyboard, and still charged me a hefty $200 for their product. Why is this possible? I think it's because the keyboard has an image of prestige in my mind because of both its high cost and because a TLer recommended it. To be honest, they could have shipped me a piece of garbage 1990 keyboard and I would have been screwed out of $200.
So back to the discussion leader's demonstration. He asked the class, without giving us pricing for either sets, which set people would rather buy. The class was split about 70% to 30%, the 70% wanting to buy set B and the 30% wanting to buy set A. People wanting to buy set B gave an interesting response, they said that they would rather buy the inferior sounding set because of the look. They argued that if they didn't play music while they had guests over, that they would impress more than set A. People arguing for set A obviously argued that their set had superior sound output, and that the prestige of the brand would impress guests more then a flashy paint job and blue light. The discussion leader then gave prices for both sets, set A costs $300 and set B costs $30. Nobody changed their mind, big surprise.
So how then should Razer/Steel Series advertise to us as a community? Well, there are a few of us on TL.net that buy gear based solely on functionality (to get the maximum amount out of our keyboards), while others discriminate by price, macro controls, and looks. Almost all of us, however, are effected by recommendations given by people we look up to in the community. For example, if Artosis, Tasteless, Day9, and Idra all recommended a keyboard I would probably buy it. I trust all of their opinions, because I look up to their skills. However, if Razer pays them all to speak favorably about their product, I could care less about what they have to say. I would see Razer's money and marketing executives speaking favorably about their products, not my friends. This is why I think sponsorship for products is silly, forcing players to use your gear makes them worse off unless they explicitly want to use it.
Look at the new line of Razer SC2 gear coming out. I'm not going to buy it. Why? I mean I like the look of it, I think apm technology is pretty nifty too. I also like other Razer products, I own a Deathadder and a Razer mouse pad. I'm branded to them, in terms of mouses. But I think this new line of gear is stupid, I don't want it. It looks childish, and I don't want people looking at it when they come into my room. I also don't want to wear it to a lan. It's TOO pretentious..
So what, thats one sale lost for them I guess..
What do you guys think? How should they promote their products, and what should they change?