Yesterday I purchased a Blue Snowball Snowflake USB microphone. I was going to use it to record some voice-overs for an upcoming Empire Avenue overview video, but as you can guess by my use of the word ‘was’ in this sentence, it didn’t happen.
You see, the mic was bad. DOA. Toast.
This was a new mic, in a sealed box, not a reconditioned one (don’t get me started on my experience with reconditioned Apple and Microsoft hardware).
Maybe it was a driver issue, but I doubt that. I tested it on two different hardware platforms with 3 different OS versions. Heck, my Guitar Hero USB mic was recognized by these systems so this ‘quasi-pro’ mic should have been easily. No, it was a bad unit from the factory. Which is where my problem begins.
In the 21st century, I have the expectation that when I buy something it should work. Modern manufacturing methods and quality assurance processes have kept me safe from many many dud hardware items over the years. Until now, it seems.
Sure, some things don’t always work as well as you expect, or need a lot of setup and configuring to get them to work optimally, but I do at least, expect something on the unit to work.
And when it doesn’t at least partially work out of the box, it instantly alters my perception of the brand. In this case, I was seriously disappointed. And, since I purposely bought this item for an immediate use, the brand let me down — Blue’s microphone couldn’t fulfill the brand promise at all.
My expectation, based on marketing material and online reviews, led me to believe that this mic was the solution best matched to my need. I needed a good mic. I needed it yesterday. And I needed it to work.
Not only that, but the failure in brand promise forced me to find another way to solve my immediate problem — laying down the voice-over track.
Failure in the brand promise actually caused me more work. Now I’m disappointed and frustrated.
So the mic didn’t work. You may say; Get over it and get on with things. Well, it’s not that simple. You see, the next time I look at a Blue product, any Blue product, I’ll be thinking ‘Hey, that one mic didn’t work out of the box, will this thing?’
That one bad experience, because of an unfulfilled brand promise, has cause me to change my initial position of brand trust — that this item will work out of the box — to one of doubt; this item ‘may’ work out of the box. In my mind, the brand is tainted.
But is it permanently tainted? Frankly, in my case, I’m not sure what would cause me to reconsider my thinking about Blue mics, perhaps a good experience with another mic? I don’t want to spend money and take another chance.
How ’bout reading more positive reviews and buzz? Perhaps, but I’d come at them skeptically.
So what’s the answer? How would Blue rebuild my trust in their brand — having been burned in this instance? I can’t think of one off the top of my head…can you?