Don't Let Your Cell Phone Sell Your Age

cell phones personal imageBy Gareth Parkin


About a month ago a mid-level executive I know in California asked my advice about getting a new cell phone. He said, "I don't really need or want a smart phone, I don't text or email from my phone. My old phone is dying though and they don't make this brand anymore, what would you recommend?" My answer surprised him; I said, "Do you realize what your phone is saying about you? It's something to think about."

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Walk into any café or company and you develop an instant perception about people's ages and income levels based upon their phones. As a promotional products company at GoPromotional, we are always interested in buying habits and marketing trends. Mobile phones are on the cutting edge of a changing marketplace. In our experience, this is what your smart phone is saying about you:

  • If you have an old small flip phone you are probably over 40.

  • If you have an older Blackberry you are probably over 40 and you had a good job at some point.

  • If you have an Android phone you are probably younger than 40. Same goes with an iPhone.

  • Cheaper Androids and Windows phones and you are probably even younger, between 20-25.

  • Touch screen phone users (Android and iPhone) earn good money (or they are just computer geeks).

Nielsen's research backs up what you will find in any US city. Android and Apple iPhone smart phone users are younger and they earn more money than people using other types of cell phones. This is something to think about when you are interested in personal branding. A cell phone doesn't make the man or woman but like many other small things it does say a lot about your age, income and technical sophistication. Whether you want to believe it or not, potential employers and coworkers also probably notice this either consciously or subconsciously.

As a side note, the executive I mentioned above ended up getting a new Android smart phone even though our conversation established that he really didn't need one. Last week he got his first promotion in 7 years, probably just a coincidence.


Gareth Parkin is the Managing Director at GoPromotional an international online marketing group that specializes in promotional business gifts and corporate merchandising. GoPromotional's team has more than 30 years worth of experience in corporate gifts, branding and international marketing and offers an enormous selection of quality promotional items at exceptional prices including: promotional mugs and cups, promotional keyrings, conference bags, promotional Green shopping bags, corporate promotional clothing and much more. At GoPromotional, "We turn your marketing visions into reality!"


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Editor

The Personal Branding Blog offers branding and career advice from Dan Schawbel and his team of experts. The blog helps professionals learn how to build a personal brand for their own career and job search success. It is an AdAge Power150 blog and has won many other awards, including "CareerBuilder.com's 6 Job Blogs You Should Be Reading," "FINS 5 Marketing Blogs For Your Career," "Intent.com's 2011 Career Blog," "MC Hammer's Top 10 Favorite Blogs," and has received recognition in Spain, Singapore and many other countries. The blog has been syndicated by Aol Jobs, Yahoo! Shine, Forbes, FoxBusiness.com, Reuters, Hoovers, BusinessInsider.com and many others.

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352 Comments

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Afi

People are watching .....

November 16 2011 at 3:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Desirai

I am not really up to date on phones.. I text and call but I don't get the internet or get GPS or stuff like that because I don't need it, and it costs too much.

November 14 2011 at 10:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LIBERTYFRAN

I love my triband Nokia cell 6170 which I purchased in 2005 for $350. It's just as functional as those latest phone craze & had no problem with it since my purchase. It's no longer available in stores or online. I use it anywhere overseas with no contracts or additional fees to pay. Having one of those latest phones doesn't determine the owner's salary or age. I know some people who spend their minimal salaries just for phones to show off. Having new models or styles of phones does not make one look rich or earning big bucks.

November 14 2011 at 6:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Daniel Staggers

I'm a tech-head. So much so, my toilet will massage you and you don't need toilet paper, when you walk away, it flushes itself. (no lie) I built my latest gaming computer and it's second to none. It barely idles playing the newest Call of Duty games.

But I draw the line on cell phones. I had my first one in 1988 and it was as big as a suit case. It had a function then and a cell phone still has a funtion for me now. In fact, the same function. Today's phones are merely a fashion statement.

What do they really say?

All a smart phone says about you is you are all about compromise. Especially a soft touch. This says you have a computer in your pocket, but not a very good one. It says you text, but if it wasn't for the smart word function, half of your keypresses would do nothing. It says you can get directions to get pizza at the same place you go all the time. It says you play worthless games when you should be doing something productive. It says you're easily distracted by all the apps you certainly must have. It says you have a cell phone, although it may take many keypresses to get it to act like one. It says you don't mind all your face grease all over the screen all the time. And finally, it makes a statement, a statement that says you are extremely self important. So self important that you have to have your face staring at this thing all day long because SO many people have to keep in touch with you; forget the fact that it doesn't do anything very well at all. You are of the type from history that used to carry a fake pager because it made you look important. Now really, what kind of statement is that to tell the world?

November 14 2011 at 6:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SandorSarika

For sure the younger people want everything that is new, etc. etc. I've always felt that cell phones were for necessity calls. What's the diff between calling or texting? I agree it's to make more money and all of us are falling for it.

November 14 2011 at 5:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
royalemary

don't want a phone.Just a way the government can keep track of you.

November 14 2011 at 5:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
La Rhonda

Clearly the person who wrote this and the people that conducted this stupid survey didn't take into account people financial situation. Just turned 30 and I have a small flip phone. If I had a job then yes I would have something better but since I can't afford one I get what I can afford. A prepaid phone that I only have to shell out 20 bucks every 3 months. People are way too materialistic now a days.

November 14 2011 at 5:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
simantue

Is this a ploy by phone manufacturers to get us to upgrade our phones so they make more money? If it ain't broke, don't fix it...

November 14 2011 at 5:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ipingthere4iam

What a crock o crap! D umb@ss iPhone is pointless. I make a lot of money, travel and nothing has changed that since before I even carried this social monkey in my purse. When I see all the unfortunate and regrettable blap people say on Twitter, Facebook etc I revel in the fact my nitTwit account went dormant 2 years ago and Id never have a NoticeMyFacePlease page. I pity those whose feel the need to hustle praise and attention from strangers. Face it, theres celebrity then theres the rest of us to pity celebrity and those who desperately try to mimic it.

November 14 2011 at 5:00 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
sonja7039

Here's some real career advice for faking out the snobs. Get a post office box in the RICHEST suburb close to your home. Put that P.O. Box address on your resumes, and don't use it for anything else. The cell phone is nonsense, you're not supposed to answer it during an interview anyway, so who is going to see it?

November 14 2011 at 4:46 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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