Concept: Branding on Top-Tier Devices?!
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.