3 mobile companies have just released their earnings for Q2 2008 over the past weekend. Having done one of my branding projects on Motorola, the recent releases did not surprise me.
Firstly, Motorola has been predicted to fall to 5th place behind LG and Ericson here. Ericson too has seen a fall in sales by a whooping 97% and has resorted to laying of 2000 of its staff to cut costs, read more about it here.
Mobile giants Nokia on the other hand has seen increasing sales despite the industry’s tough competition within the industry. Apple’s iPhone is still soaring in demand, even in places it has yet to be launched. (I know, I’m waiting for 1 too…)
Motorola’s sad story goes all the way back to its lost of appeal over its single dependency on its Razor, causing it to split its mobile division from the parent company. Ericson might be suffering cause of the iPhone and the fact that Samsung and Nokia have snatched a large market share from them.
But one thing can be learned from the mobile industry, is that a brand has to be unique, it has to own something. K, take a look at Motorola, the Razor used to be such a wicked phone, the phone to bring Motorola to new heights (They were the first company to develop the mobile phone), but when that factor was lost, Motorola slipped, and they fell hard. They kept depending on a product that just wasn’t cool anymore. The brand image changed from cool to just plain boring….
LG snatched some of that away with its nice cool factor, HTC did pretty well with its diamond, Ericson focused on music but lost that unique selling factor too… None of them were really able to adapt to the demands of their new branding proposition while trying to retain their core brand message. Lack of innovation, bad engineers or designers, poor marketers, i don’t know… Whatever messed up must’ve been the lack of ability to keep up to listen to the consumers.
Nokia has got some pretty cool campaigns which involved the people (Connecting people…) for some game shows using their GPS systems, they seem to lack a grasp of using digital media and making a campaign go from viral to plain confusing.
While I’m wondering if a brand ,in such a fast changing industry, is so crucial, why hasn’t there been more campaigns or designing process involving the consumers? Why keep banging on the same damn one way traditional channels?
Is it safe to say that the Long Tail theory is flawed here and that mass appeal still has its effect on consumers?
I would like to think so. People liked Nokia in the late 90′s, Motorola’s Razor was cool 3 years back, youth went nuts over the music phone from Ericson just 1-2 years ago, now we’re all rushing for the iPhone. (Heck, Apple’s isn’t even known to produce phones like Nokia and we don’t even know what the data plans are like, yet we’re all nuts about it, why?) Mass appeal, or the Hollywood effect, still has its appeal to us.
So back to the big title question, are the mobile handsets ready for social media? or should they carry on launching it like a blockbuster movie?
Would be glad to hear your thoughts!