Taking on Nokia.

fly1.jpgI 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.

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2 responses to “Taking on Nokia.

  1. Holding 200% interest to hear the rest part of the idea 🙂 

    I think The single-minded communication strategy on ‘ style and tech. at great price’ is very promising.
    Just the execution under such a strategy will be challenging:
    1. Communication requires an outstanding creative package. Otherwise its gonna be bad look on market, with giving people impression as ‘ low-end brand doing mock-up stuff’ (Currently from their website press, I think they are already doing much better than Chinese local handset brands in same strategy)
    2. Smart use of media.
    3. The effeciency of marketing execution is demanding crucial: how soon to define which ‘functionality trend’ they should follow after catogory leaders and how soon to make it on-shelf before the trend gone…

    A good example comes to my mind now is ZARA, who has done the similar positioning in its catagory – high street fashion in a great value…and its amazing to see how much it shortens the supplying cycle to fit the changing market but comes out with productive choice with limited compromise on quality

    Another reference could be Lenovo Mobile in China, another Value player in handset market here, thanks to its up-to-standard communication besides the good price, now its becoming a leading brand in ‘value segment’ and currently sitting on top 5/6 best-selling brand in local market.

  2. How does one take on a giant like Nokia? Target a niche and keep it simple please…

    Is it a trend to ‘opt out’ of our rapidly developing fast paced technology driven lifestyles and just say, to quote the 1976 satirical film ‘Network’, “I have had enough and I’m not going to take it anymore!”.

    The rapid growth of ‘Geek Squad’ as the technology support and service division of ‘Best Buy’ is in response to the growing consumers’ bewilderment and inability to understand what they just purchased and how it works. Just get ‘the geek’ in to put it together!

    This inability to deal with technology frustrates a growing number of people, particularly one niche segment.

    Enter the ‘simple mobile phone’ ….. targeting elderly people with poor eyesight, arthritic fingers, loss of memory and no technology knowhow. A simple design, big clear numbers you can see without your glasses on, big touch pads for each number so you don’t mis-dial, and 10 numbers on memory because you are so old you can’t remember more than 10 people you want to talk to regularly.

    No camera. No WAP. No diary. No clock alarm. No Calculator. No content. No nothing.

    My mother thinks this is the best mobile phone she has ever used, it is easy to understand and not frustrating, and she is telling all her friends and they are all buying them as well.

    For an aging population who grew up without Nokia in the first place there is no brand loyalty. Purchasing a well designed simple mobile phone was nearly impossible, until now.

    In our race to embrace the new technology party we have left a whole generation behind, who are quite happy to join in the party too, as soon as someone provides the right solution.

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