Is 'residual equity' enough for brand Nokia?

By Anirban Roy Choudhury , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Marketing | June 16, 2017
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What's the most important tool in Nokia's comeback kit? What role will marketing and advertising play?

Finnish brand Nokia has announced the launch of three new android smartphones, Nokia 6, Nokia 5 and Nokia 3. India is one of world's largest and fastest growing smartphone markets. According to International Data Corporation (2016), Samsung leads with 26 percent market share followed by four Chinese giants Xiaomi (13 percent), Vivo (12 percent), Oppo (10 percent) and Lenovo (8 percent).

Is 'residual equity' enough for brand Nokia?

In 2006, with its tagline 'Connecting People' Nokia was synonymous with its category. The brand enjoyed over 60 percent market share. In 2007 Apple launched iPhone. In 2009 Android reached India and mobile phones were no longer just 'phones'... they became mini-computers. As new concepts like 'touchscreen', 'dual-sim' and 'qwerty keyboard' delighted the consumer, Nokia slowly lost consumer interest. In 2013 the brand's market share dropped to seven percent. In 2014, Microsoft bought Nokia.

How will Nokia 'connect to people' again? Should Nokia go all guns blazing with a hot, young brand ambassador? Or should it make good on past laurels and piggy back on its residual equity as experts call it? What is Nokia's most prized weapon in its arsenal - advertising, distribution or old glory?

Let's see what our experts had to say:

Ambi Parameswaran, author and brand consultant

Ambi Parameswaran

Santosh Padhi

Nokia has a great amount of residual goodwill in India. They now need to pitch their brand to the old loyalists and go after upper-end customers who may be with Apple or Samsung. It is a difficult task but if they are patient and diligent they can build the brand once again. They should not be in a hurry to go after multiple segments and confuse the consumers.

Santosh Padhi (Paddy), co-founder and chief creative officer, Taproot Dentsu

Though the brand has the legacy of being Nokia, it's going to be a challenge because of the Vivos and Oppos of the world that have a lot of mass appeal and are very affordable. So quality along with quantity and price is the game that they need to play. Nokia being one of the first players in the category will certainly come up with something that is more substantial than just features... something that matters to the consumer.

Marketing and advertising will play a very important role because Oppo, Vivo and Gionee are present everywhere. Players that are not marketing aggressively are not being picked up. In this category, you need to be present every hour... not every day, but every hour. Brands in this category need to be ultra aggressive. Brands like Oppo are present everywhere, from 'Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi' to cricket to movies to everything else... the consumer is a 16 year old kid and also a 60 year old person.

It's a great time for Nokia to come back. But they need to make sure they overshadow Vivo, Oppo and Gionee.

Dhunji Wadia, President at Rediffusion Y&R

Marketers around the world strive day and night to ensure brand love. And Nokia commanded that in India. But right now, we are talking of 'betrayed love' - the brand deserted its lovers and went into oblivion. So the first and most important task for Nokia will be to win back consumers' trust.

Dhunji Wadia

Harish Bijoor

Prasid Banerjee

The reassurance that once they buy Nokia, they will not be left high and dry anymore - that's critical. But that's not all. The world has moved on and mobile phones are attaining newer levels of smartness and aesthetic cool. So the company must focus on delivering on the 'design' and 'cool' scales. The entry-level products need to have that 'wow' factor to drive trials and generate new interest and buzz.

Harish Bijoor, brand expert and founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.

This second coming of Nokia is going to be a challenge for the brand because the market is very cluttered. In a cluttered market people are going to evaluate the product very, very carefully. Nokia needs to overcome the initial product evaluation process, which the consumer will unleash on the brand as soon as it hits the market. If Nokia can hold on to the product solidity, I think it will do exceedingly well in the future. The starting point is the robustness of the product, which everyone in the market will expect.

No longer can they sell only on the basis of the brand name; it will have to be a combination of the brand name, physical trial and experience. Fancy advertising will do them no good.

Prasid Banerjee, assistant editor, Digit (tech-magazine)

I think as far as India is concerned, the key to Nokia's return lies in raising consumer awareness on the back of its brand value. Nokia's phones are nothing special so far, but if they can educate customers on the need for regular Android updates, and how doing so can help product longevity, it might make a difference. If not, Nokia is just another seller vying for attention in a market that's already overcrowded.

Additional inputs by Suraj Ramnath

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