As a marketer you become used to people asking what your dream brand to work on would be. You also become used to the faint trace of disappointment you detect when you DON'T select a powerhouse brand like Apple or Louis Vuitton. But for a passionate marketer it's not the thoroughbreds that are interesting, it's the underdogs. Especially when the underdogs have an incredible product substantiation but just (I say just !) lack visionary activation.
Nokia is / was one of those brands. Pick up a mobile device, any device. Any device, anywhere. Probably half the intellectual property in that device was invented by a group of Finns. For a period it dominated the category. Then it suffered from a little bit of hubris, a dash of short sightedness and a splash of geographic isolation (big brands need to be managed from big global cities - simple fact).
Then those seismic shifts in the category came along. iOS and then Android. The number one never survives in the same state under those circumstances. Especially when they are out marketed.
And how Nokia was out marketed.
Stephen Elop came to the party too late. He tried. His "burning platform" epistle was daring and bold. Whilst it probably energised the employee base it, at a stroke, alarmed the world and reduced his window for escape velocity. And he was saddled with poor marketers. Microsoft terminate the lot of them.....and some of your own at the same time.
I write this blog having spent the day, as every other day over the past three months, accompanied by my Nokia Lumia 925. It's a great phone. Windows for phone is a reliable, smart and intuitive operating system. The phone is built well. It betters its Apple and Samsung rivals in many ways. I bought it in spite of its marketing.
So let's fast forward to now. Microsoft has made a smart move in buying Nokia. It's easy to write Nokia off and yet Nokia has almost half of Microsofts annual revenues. Microsoft has bought a bargain.
So what now ? Service and hardware. Brought together. Also two companies which have failed to market their products with imagination or in a way which communicates with key demographics.
It makes you want to fly to Seattle with nothing but a Sharpie. Sex it up a little. Translate great product to better proposition. Campaign as if lives depended on it. You know what ? They do.