Shreyas Kulkarni

"We wish to make Motorola an aspirational brand": Shivam Ranjan

Motorola Mobility's head of marketing talks about the brand, and the way ahead in a conversation with afaqs!.

When Moto Razr hit Indian shores in 2005, it was the coolest accessory to have at the time. This handset model single-handedly catapulted Motorola into one of the country's hippest and top aspirational brands.

In 2020, the brand isn't on top of people's mind when it comes to buying either phones, or other accessories. On March 16, 2020, the Moto Razr was officially launched in India. And, it appears to be the smartphone model that Motorola is banking on to make a comeback.

Shivam Ranjan, head of marketing, Motorola Mobility, agrees that when a consumer thinks of a smartphone, Motorola is not the first brand that comes to mind. "This lack of spontaneous awareness of Motorola is because we've been sluggish in going in mass media for some time," he says.

Ranjan says it's important for Motorola to reach out to the top funnel than just to the audience at the conversion phase. The aim is to make Motorola an aspirational brand.

Talking about the communication strategy, Ranjan says they will be looking at utilising multiple media vehicles, including digital and ATL (or above the line, meaning TV, radio, and billboards). He says, "You will start seeing us become aggressive in terms of positioning the brand as aspirational, consumers finding and seeing it frequently across channels. I think it's important for us to hit consumers across channels."

He also says that one will get to see the brand being present, be relevant, and consumer-centric. "To be on top of the awareness funnel and in the mind of the consumers is something we look to enhance," Ranjan quipped.

Talking about targeting a particular consumer segment, Ranjan says, "We are not focusing on a TG (target audience) for the brand because we don't believe the brand should have a core TG. It should be led by different types of products. A consumer who has appeal for the Razr may not have appeal for other products."

He spoke about the need for an overarching philosophy for the brand, which should reflect in different product campaigns...

In the world of smartphones, where products change pretty quickly, it's tough to build loyalty and aspiration. Ranjan thinks brands must have a sustained CRM strategy to retain, engage, and build communities that help it (the brand) over a long period. "Even today, our brand retention rate is among the highest as compared to other smartphones," he stated.

Ranjan also spoke about a strong word of mouth and how it helps to build brand loyalty. According to him, word of mouth is important when it comes to people who consumers see as tech experts. At office or home, there will be a go-to person for tech advice. It is important to identify and target that person.

"What we (Motorola) will be doing is reaching out to these individuals through the media they consume," says Ranjan. Does that mean Motorola is looking at influencers and celebrities to further its reach?

Ranjan says that influencers, especially tech-centric ones, help bring the product into the consideration phase of the consumer funnel and even conversion. However, celebrities are there to create mass awareness, leveraging their appeal.

According to him, it has to be a combination of both because a brand has to play across the funnel. But, at the moment, "We don't want to use a face for the brand, and let the product speak for itself." He doesn't discount using celebrities in future, and thinks each individual, whether an influencer or a Bollywood star, has a role to play at the right time. Play it too early or late, and the messaging will not hit bull's eye.

On whether the campaign will be digital, Ranjan says that while it (digital) is the most efficient and measurable medium around, it doesn't mean there should be a stand-alone approach.

Traditional media has a strong role to play, but Ranjan thinks it needs to become more efficient. On ATL channels, he says, "It creates awareness in the top funnel."

For a brand, it is necessary to identify the right traditional media vehicle, along with digital. "It will be a digital-led approach for sure because it's one of the most efficient mediums around," says Ranjan. With digital, it's easy to order a phone online and see it delivered to your home in a day or two.

Talking about customer experience, Ranjan says that from the point of sale to product to events and even social, people can expect a premium and differentiated experience.

For the Razr campaign, Motorola engaged with Leo Burnett on a project basis, while Publicis was the brand's media agency. 21n78e Creative Labs looked after Motorola's digital duties.