I have a friend who works for a start-up mobile handset company called Fly phones. They are doing quite well in emerging markets especially in Eastern Europe. Over dinner he asked me – “How does one take on a giant like Nokia?”.
Fly phones are quite good looking (as you can see above) and at times remind one of models of well known brands like Nokia, Samsung and Motorola. In emerging markets where handset purchase is not typically controlled by the telecoms operators (and hence distribution is easier) their offer of style, functionality and technology at value pricing is finding a favorable consumer response. They have a 4 % market share in Russia and have recently entered UK. Even in markets like UK, I think the company’s offer of “feature rich mobile handsets at outstanding value for money” is quite interesting.
While the major players have hand-sets spanning all price segments, none of the Brands is per-se positioned on value. In a category as large as mobile phones if FLY can occupy that position it can gain significant volumes. I don’t think they should think of taking on NOKIA or any of the major brands (read more on Nokia’s marketing here). They should allow the major brands to set the technology and design trends. As a value player they should cherry pick the designs and technology features which are doing well and offer them quickly under the FLY brand at value pricing. In fact that is what I think they are doing currently.
The biggest focus for them going forward should be Brand positioning. They need to single-mindedly communicate their “style and technology at great price” position. A singular and spectacular marketing campaign underpinned by sharp creative and supported by “smart” use of media/touch-points (given that they may not have deep pockets for a huge media budget) should be a priority. The absence of a strapline which sums up the brand proposition on their Russian and UK website is quite glaring. The strapline being used in India “Set the trend” doesn’t do justice to the proposition. Further, advertising (shown here) needs to strike a balance between showcasing the new model/product and establishing the core brand proposition. Brand identity also needs attention. In short, they need some solid marketing strategy input to take them to the next level.