Branding. Its something that all companies do and for many reasons:
* Identify itself amongst existing & entrenched competition.
* Establish its “Brand” worthy of being fierce and a staple amongst society amongst the competition.
* Stealth marketing to appear as not a commonplace brand to attract sales
* Even to establish an elitiste of quality.
The Best use is silent yet obvious use of co-branding (use of colours, shape or otherwise non-patent infringement use of advertisement) to blend your products/services into an established status quo in order to further accelerate the attention, staple of society, and power of your brand to the point of recognition status or ‘brand name recognition’ in your reasoning of 1 level of advertisement.
A Slogan. Often times of worded correctly can be powerful enough to be true to your core business to stand the test of time: Connecting People, Life’s Good, Don’t be evil (1). Most company’s use slogan’s but also needs to change them to be more effective or reflect their changing business direction/focus. Whats new and recently more prevailent is the exponential success of business’ in the smartphone marketplace that do NOT use a slogan at all – or their main product is considered a slogan since its the only business product/service it offers. Mostly these companies simply use a logo or brand.
Many consumers of cellular products, or devices dislike the providers’ use of a their logo on top of a handset manufacturers logo, seemingly lessening the value of the product to the end user. Worse of are firmware features are left out to supplant providers solution towards you, the end user to pay more monthly or a la carte to them. To be blunt, it sours the deal of the contract that makes the handset bring high value to the consumer. To make it worse is the provider hardly supports the handset directly and has no issues with making the user pay full value for a replacement if the (sub manufacturer-standard) refurbished unit is not up to the end users perspective.
Most consumers, seeking a mid or top-tier smartphone will sacrifice hard earned dollars (a fist full of quid) to cancel our provider co-branding, reap the full benefits of the firmware and manufacturer partner deals (such as MS Exchange, Lotus Domino, iTunes support via 3rd party, Flickr, Facebook, MySpace, Blogger, MSN/AIM/YIM, etc). Sure repair centers are getting scarce and the repairs done are something left be said ‘adequate’ its done better than the provider for the multitude of users.
Now, many times before its been thought, tried to low level’s of support and success, mostly to great failures, is the idea co-branding. On the highest level of mild success is the Hello Kitty branding of phones to small areas & specific target market of China/Japan/Korea (sorry I cannot recall North or South Korea). While on the low end of success or high end of failures … well I doubt if any of us remember would want to allow ourselves.
Now. Considering the current worldwide economic state affecting consumers, manufacturers, and service providers around the world, what if … more options where offered using branding yet also on high end smartphones offering the latest technologies or top-tier hardware married to the OS you choose.
A side thought before I get into this. Google, when rumored to enter the smartphone space roughly 10mths before the market began to tank (and their stock going as high as $600-700US), was in a prime position to take this to new levels. But nobody really wanted to carry a huge google brand (using Yellow, Blue, Red and Green) all over their phone.
Now many conglomerate entities just wont do. However some will. What went hardly unnoticed at Nokia Developer Summit 2009 was Nokia’s suggestion for non-western countries with low or mid-tier feature phones.
Take a look at Co-Branding here. The also mentioned embedded content.
I think this design is quite avante garde if not bold & daring. However I’m not ready to use Coca-Cola on my phone of high end smartphone of choice using modern hardware and OS with a more intuitive graphical interface with intelligent menu heirarchy. Some of you may think ‘Gads’ How many drinks did he and Nokia smoke?! Just remember the other slide [B]Unilever, Coke, Disney and Pixar first to have branded handsets in Brazil[/B]. Now I wouldn’t expect any of Unilever’s products to make a noticeable dent and Coke to take several months to do so, but lets expand this to other brands.
Adidas, Audi, Brahma, BMW, Oldsmobile, Nike, Converse for the mid range XM type phones. Think Channel, Coco, and Beckham (Porsche Spice) for a high end classic smartphone with styling like the Nokia 8800 Sapphire Arte using not only branding but antibacterial surfaces & light Parfum’s that last the 1yr life expectancy of the device. For the business E-series … think of something a little more subtle brand-baging but more design esthetics for use with Audi, Lamborghini – maybe not due to legal suit, Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, Kenneth Cole, or Formula 1. Oh wait a minute … Nokia already does this in very sleek and subtle way with the Vertu lineup of F1 Race track & Perreli inspired phones. Now do you see where I’m going with this?! I sure hope Nokia or other company’s using Symbian-Foundation OS do!!
Lady’s … what do you think of Victoria Secret sheek styled phones, elegant appealing with a drop of fashion accessory sex appeal, just enough to be taken seriously, present a powerful presence, and drop that subtle hint with a wink to onlookers.
Basically its more than just having the latest and greatest or being the king of the hill (and not over the hill); but its in how we USE the features of our devices, how what we them for, the software like tools we use to create, articulate, and present ourselves with.
There’s more to this …
What if we take it one step further. At Nokia World 2008 and also at a music press conference with RIM, Will.I.Am mentioned something incredible forward thinking. The ability to download music with digital code that allows the user to select a button or a few (say 1-9) that allows the music during playback to auto jump into a new mix – smooth and on the fly – essentially giving consumers & music lovers value in their purchase. Targeting exclusive album launches in digital format saved on non-branded MicroSD cards or internal flash drives on the smartphones and with rich photo content. Allow backstage pass per the purchase to an upcoming album release concert. Go one further so that exclusive recording sessions, interviews, made for mobile video content (beyond simple music videos) available for download as per the intial purchase to increase device sales. Exclusive Video or freestyle impromptu’s on hosted services like iTunes and Ovi Store or Share on Ovi or what I like to call Ovi’s future … Ovi Live.
I’ve posted about this before on Symbian-Freak a few months back getting decent interest regarding Ovi Live – but I was hoping to get a critical feedback from the knowledgeable and reasonable Chris Texaport, a member of that forums.
What do your open minds consider of this? If it could bring down the retail or contract price of ownership of say the OmniaHD, N97, E90 successor to say under $100US (with worldwide availability) without the need of a lengthy contract … say 1 year since the warranty of most phones are only that long and providers normally don’t increase that. Would you consider buying your vision of co-branding that benefits your style??
(1) Although this is not the official slogan its an internal motto used by Google when originally founded. I have my own opinion about the company that uses this regarding email accounts).
In 2006, when Google declared their self-censorship move into China, their “Don’t be evil” motto was somewhat replaced with an “evil scale” balancing systems allowing smaller evils for a greater good, as explained by CEO Eric Schmidt at the time.
The leaked news of the E72, rigth on Youtube from Nokia Conversations channel was amazing! Unintential viral marketing. THey’ve quickly pulled it from the channel but already the buzz has started.
Over the past 2-3 weeks I’ve sold my E71, and have upgraded to the N85 NAM. There are so many bonus that I’ve gained moving on … but something about the E71 has my heart in a lil’ pain. Contacts search & dialing.
On the E71, I could (when unlocked) dial a person’s name OR a number and if the person was already in my Contacts their name would be autoresolved according to each entry I’ve made. Feature phones; especially from SonyEricsson get this right. However, the E71 was so much better, with no need to open Contacts first.
On my N85 I must open up contacts before doing a lookup of people in my Contacts list. After using a full qwerty device for the past year, you have NO idea the fustration I’m going through trying to unlearn what I loved about E71 and BlackBerry’s for that matter.
What I’ve gained on the N85 though has kept me satisfied. Quality video playback and recording, incredible pictures, and N-Gage gaming (WormsWorld), along with TV-Out was just too good to pass up. I miss my E71 though ( its the second time I bought one too, but this time around the romance was dying). Too many sacrifices to make using it became apparant.
Now with the leaked E72, looks like we’ll get a wider screen, slightly wider keys, metal keys on around the D-Pad, Scroll-sensor WITHOUT leaving behind the D-Pad (AWESOME ULTRA-COMBOOOOOO), and 5 MP auto-focus camera.
Don’t get too hyped about the camera as it doesn’t have Carl Zeiss branding so the standards of picture quality will be lower, however we can hope on improvement on the E71. I’m hoping that VGA video recording at 30fps will be available. A Contacts bar is possible to debut on E-Series (similar to the 5630XM’s without the mix-mash of colors).
What everyone may be forgetting is Nokia’s new outlook to work with other companies in partnership for services or software – so those of you still on E61/E61i devices due to BlackBerry Connect, may just get a better E71 with BBConnect support or even better yet BlackBerry Suite for S60!!
Don’t expect official announcement to drop before August 2009 though. I’m thinking Nokia will wait for the E55/E52, N97 and N86 sales to begin before announcing the E72 at Nokia World 2009 in September 2nd/3rd.
Check out the video (courtesy of DialyMotion) …
Today’s post is pretty simple. Something echo’d throughout North American mobile computer purchasers of Symbian for quite some time now.
To put my thoughts on this more clearly I’d like to highlight a Q&A post excerpt from All About Symbian’s Nokia N97 The Sequel review.
You talk a lot in your great “audio unboxing” podcast about big changes through future firmware updates. Presumably most people (who can’t afford sim-free phones) will not benefit from these unless they take the risk of de-branding the phone? Or has Nokia come up with a way of separating out their own updates from the Carrier’s tweaks?
You’re right. Anyone who buys a carrier-branded phone is at the mercy of the carrier’s incompetence. As usual. Avoid, avoid, avoid. Whatever the cost.
^ This may work for those that have the cash around the world and willing to get rid of horrible provider branding – inlcuding that on the Ovi Store partnerships; its not working for Nokia in the USA. Many of you know that Nokia is not doing so well in the USA – Nokia E71 on AT&T is a blessing really to S60 but its debuted far too late to make a significant dent in the ecosphere of mobile OS wars. Problem right now is the value of the USA dollar is topsy-turvy at best and most users buying power is very limited in terms of initial cost of smartphones. RIM’s BlackBerry, Microsoft’s Windows Mobile, and even Apple’s iPhone offers ALL great features through firmware updates to providers offering their devices [Microsoft through partners like HTC/Samsung/LG/SE don’t do it often but its getting better].
Also, Nokia, its not that most users do not HAVE the cash for paying outright retail for a smartphone. The point is they do NOT WISH to do so. The iPhone has begun to commoditize the smartphone industry in every sense and because of this their successful. RIM even more so – actually like Apple’s model RIM’s best option is to release feature ladden firmware updates to providers as hardly ANY of their products ship through their own direct retail channel – online only or if you happen to visit their headquarters in Waterloo.
I think its time that Nokia from the conception – through early development – to product prototype stage work with providers like AT&T/T-Mobile/Verizon in the USA, Rogers Wireless/Telus Mobility & Bell Mobility in Canada; as much as they do abroad in Europe for ALL future devices. If not they’ll continue to loose marketshare – which equals less sales – which equal lower or soon lack of revenue; leading into expenses – and soon looking to extend dwindling loans from financiers (Banks/Trust/Government bailout) – which lead to more layoffs and soon bankruptcy. For a company as large as Nokia … 320Million in liquidible assets (cash mostly) is NOT a lot per quarter to survive on.