Nokia

Nokia. Elop. Microsoft. And an inability to capture a dream...until now by heathrowkennedy

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.

Be differentiated.....just choose wisely by heathrowkennedy

Yesterday Nokia announced a 24% drop in revenue for the second quarter. Unsurprising the share price declined (again) and one cannot help but think that those burning platform flames are now licking around CEO, Stephen Elop's feet. However before I go on let me declare that I am not a Nokia or a Windows "hater". Quite the reverse. I'm the happy(ish) owner of a Lumia 925, I enjoy Windows 8 and have Skydrive as an integral part of my business life.

Elop DID make the right decision to ditch Symbian. Nokia ARE making beautiful smartphones - the Lumia range is both ergonomically appealing and robust. And the operating system is fluid with an impressive ability to pull in information (this will always scare some) into one place which only helps the user to be more efficient.

But this has not been enough. For me the launch of the Lumia 1020 with its 41 mega-pixel camera was an example of now Nokia still gets distracted in this fight for survival behind the giants of Apple and Samsung. It's as if someone, in an ideation session a couple of years ago said "Smartphone users take lots of pictures. If we have the best camera they will buy our smartphone."

Logical but wrong. They failed to look at how these pictures are used and shared. It's got nothing to do with quality and all to do with instant gratification. Yes I'm sure the obsessive photographer (without his camera) might prefer a Lumia in his or her pocket for those must-capture moments but how big is that market ?

Differentiated yes but in an irrelevant need.

Meanwhile it's the lack of Windows apps which still continues to hamper growth and acceptance. There are a half dozen apps (including SBUX) where I have to fish out my SIM less iPhone to use. And hefty Nokia ATL advertising is countered wherever you look with posters and adverts from a range of consumer brands and services which have a related app and which display the Android, Apple and often Blackberry logo but with no Windows.

This shakes consumer confidence. It takes guts to decide to buy a Nokia smartphone. I'm glad I did but Mr Elop help me out a little. Pour some money into app development quickly or you will be in danger of photographing a door closing behind you.