The B2B2C company is taking Snapdragon beyond the realm of tech enthusiasts and to the burgeoning base of layman smartphone users in India.
What sort of influence do processor brands have on smartphone purchase decisions? This was one of the questions I asked the top boss of a popular phone brand during an interview. The question popped up as a result of frequent mentions of names like Qualcomm Snapdragon, MediaTek, etc., in brand communication and tech review videos.
He responded saying that they (the processor brands) don’t necessarily aid discovery, but definitely help in “fortifying” a purchase decision.
This influence could just get stronger. Qualcomm, a leading manufacturer of phone processors, has launched its first brand campaign for its brand Snapdragon. The ad positions the brand as an enabler of a phone’s performance – from photography to competitive gaming.
The ad informs the consumers that their phone processors are partly responsible for the crisp photos they are taking with their phones, or for the phone’s performance driving a pro gamer’s career. The narrative is, in a way, similar to what PC processor brands like Intel and AMD have been pushing for many years now.
The campaign will run across TV, print and digital mediums through the upcoming months. What stands out is the B2B2C nature of the advertiser. Also, the campaign has been launched specifically for the Indian market. Qualcomm doesn’t sell its chipsets directly to the consumers. Instead, it partners with smartphone manufacturers like OnePlus, Xiaomi, OPPO, Samsung, etc.
This ‘ingredient’, price and other factors play a vital role in the positioning of a new phone, like a flagship, mid-range, mid-range flagship, etc. For example, almost all the top-end flagship phones in the market at the moment are equipped with the new Snapdragon 888 chipset.
It is, in a way, an ingredient brand – like Intel, which powers computers. Apart from the occasional event partnerships and digital communication, most of the media it has got so far is from the ad campaigns of phone brands and the tech content generated by creators/influencers on platforms like YouTube.
The campaign is timely. The number of smartphone users in India crossed 500 million a few months back. With more and more Indians ditching feature phones, the number is projected to surpass 800 million by 2022.
Snapdragon competes with players like MediaTek (Dimensity, etc.), Samsung’s Exynos and Huawei’s HiSilicon. The competition (especially between Qualcomm and Mediatek) is close and warming up with the demand for 5G-enabled devices.
Anand Subbiah, director, marketing and communication, Qualcomm India, tells afaqs! that while the brand’s phone OEM partners sell directly to the consumers, it is important for the company, as an ingredient brand, to create positive space in consumers’ mind about Snapdragon.
"We are also keeping the consumers up to date."
“It also helps OEM partners to a great extent. It makes it easier for them to tell the story. By bringing our offerings to the forefront, we are also keeping the consumers up to date so that they can look for it, while purchasing a new device.”
Subbiah mentions that brand visibility has become all the more important, with people using their phones in more ways – beyond the usual camera and storage.
“We are looking at the kind of experiences the consumers expect from their devices these days. And, this has changed so quickly in the last several months. Mobile gaming has really picked up exponentially. In the case of competitive gaming, a delay of micro seconds can make a huge difference. Even in the case of camera and audio experiences.”
"Awareness of technology and details of what goes into a phone is much higher in India than markets, like the US and Europe."
The campaign targets all smartphone users, and India seems to be fertile ground. Subbiah says that the awareness of technology and details of what goes into a phone is much higher in India than markets, like the US and Europe.
“The tech-savvy customers won’t just be our consumers, but also our brand ambassadors. And for those who are not aware, it is basic education beyond the camera megapixels and the ‘8 GB RAM’.”
“Indians are generally quite tech-savvy. Even in markets like the US and Europe, the awareness of the underlying technology is not that high. The awareness of Snapdragon, as a brand, is extremely high in India, unlike other global markets.”
Qualcomm launched Snapdragon Insiders, its global community building initiative, last month. It aims to leverage the brand’s popularity and generate more conversation around it. Insiders will get “behind-the-scenes access to details, premium experiences and extra perks”.
Subbiah says that it is something along the lines of what PC processor brands, like Intel and AMD, have done over the years. “Those ingredient brands have become household names today.”
Over that, Qualcomm is pursuing interests in the laptop market too. Subbiah says that with the phones getting better and becoming the primary device, the lines between a laptop, a tablet and a smartphone have started blurring. The combination could offer thin and light laptops equipped with features of phones – in terms of connectivity, power efficiency, cameras, etc.