As you can see in the above picture, after what is years of trying, some Beats headphones have finally made it into the DJWORX machine. And to think all it took was planting a team member (thanks Drew!) inside the heart of the Beats empire to make this finally happen. But for whatever reason (most probably the level of abuse metered out by yours truly), the old Beats headphones simply didn’t make it into the old worxlab for review. I call it fear. But now they’re here, and it’s inspired some interesting thoughts about brand perception.
Beats, from a DJ perspective, have a credibility rating hovering around the zero mark. In the eyes of the cash-strapped masses, they’re those really expensive but crappy plastic lifestyle cans that are given out like sweets to media hungry VIPs as if that somehow gives them any credibility. From a general public perception, this has worked incredibly well for them — even global media outlets like the BBC ran stories from the Olympics about athletes wearing them on the way out to compete.
But that isn’t credibility. Granted, Beats are aspirational for the masses, but pros are suspicious and sceptical. So no matter how amazing these new Beats might be from a professional perspective, the human instinct is to dismiss them out of hand. Entirely understandable of course, given the low esteem that producers and DJs hold other Beats headphones in. And this is the problem that Beats are facing – brand perception.
DJ Tech is another company suffering in the same way. Their brand perception is low but in a different way — they make no bones about being a budget brand, but a string of badly conceived products pitched them in the joke category. They have realised this and have made moves to move into credibility. They can wipe the slate clean and reinvent themselves and their product, which is a luxury that Beats just don’t have.
So Beats have to break the established perception with what they already have. Endorsement from the Guettas and Skrillexes of this world won’t work — DJs love to hate those guys no matter what they do or say. But what about when a site like DJWORX that has an established record for on-point reviews offers a positive opinion? Are people so entrenched in their perceptions that they’ll simply refuse to believe that Beats could actually put out a set of pro headphones worthy of their attention?
I’m going to put the Beats Pros and Mixrs through the same process as every other headphone I’ve covered, and report back honestly. And in the short time I’ve had them (literally hours), I’m pretty convinced that they’ll get a great review. I’ve looked at enough headphones to know pretty quickly. And I’m in the virgin position of not forming an opinion of Beats because I never had the old ones.
But the question is this — do you think that you can read a positive review of pro Beats headphones and actually respect it? Or will you always dismiss them without ever having handled a pair of Pros or Mixrs? I guess the bigger question is this — do you find yourself so entrenched in your brand opinions that you refuse to believe anything that veers away from your perceptions?