As cellphones turn catch-all, brand overpowers tech | business | Hindustan Times
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As cellphones turn catch-all, brand overpowers tech

Nokia now makes touchscreen mobile phones, hitting at Apple’s privileged iPhone 3G. So do Blackberry, LG and Samsung.

business Updated: Dec 26, 2008 20:53 IST
Anita Sharan

Nokia now makes touchscreen mobile phones, hitting at Apple’s privileged iPhone 3G. So do Blackberry, LG and Samsung.

Industry experts say as products become similar and the same device performs many functions, be it digital music, e-mail or plain calling, brand-based sales take over the “techvantage” – the earlier advantage based on special technology. Thanks to that, like consumer goods, packaging, advertising and pricing begin to matter more.

“The era of one device, one killer application is over – it is not what consumers want today,” Devinder Kishore, director, marketing at Nokia India, told Hindustan Times.

Anand Halve, co-founder, Chlorophyll Brand & Communications Consultancy, said the ‘killer app’ cannot be owned since it can be replicated easily. “One ‘killer device’ makes no sense because of the sheer diversity of customer expectations and requirements,” he said.

LG’s ad line captures that well: “Surprisingly loaded.”

“Since most people don’t really know how to evaluate technology, their mobile handset choices is most definitely be led by brand consciousness. The only limitation would be affordability,” Halve said.

Madhukar Sabnavis, head — planning & discovery, Ogilvy India, said the game has changed after iPhone that brought in the legendary brand power associated with Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs.

“Nokia has made itself a very powerful brand that has a product offering at every price point. The brand is reassuring for consumers,” says Sabnavis. He pointed to Motorola’s young and yuppy “Motoyuva” as a good brand position, though not having enough products with different appeals can be a limitation.

Samsung has hooked into the ‘brand’ idea quite strongly in its “Next is What?” slogan with Aamir Khan as brand ambassador.

The latest ad in the campaign introduces the Omnia, Samsung’s latest touchscreen-and-a-lot-more offering.

Thomas Kuehl, member, board of directors (sales and marketing) Skoda India, said, “Promises are made inside the core of a brand. Fabia would never have been so successful in India without the Skoda brand assurance.”