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Published by Harjas Manral

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Published by: Harjas Manral on Apr 11, 2012
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Nokia’s Branding
Nokia continues to clean house. On Monday Nokiaannounced that the head of its smartphone division wasleaving. This follows a change in CEOs. Rumors are that
Nokia’s chairman, Jorma Ollila, will leave later this year.
 These moves
seem very appropriate given Nokia’s
stunning collapse. Several years ago, Nokia was one of the dominant global players in the world of mobilecommunications. Today, Nokia is being left behind by
Apple and Blackberry. The company’s stock price has
fallen from a high of about $40 per share to less than$10 per share, reflecting the decline in the business.One of the reasons Nokia has fallen so fast is that it has a
simple branding problem: Nokia isn’t a distinctive brand.
It is a brand with positive associations and high
awareness, but it isn’t unique.
 For many years, Nokia seemed to successfully do what
marketing experts say you can’t do: serve all segments
in a market. Nokia sold very high-end, technologicallyadvanced phones and simple, inexpensive phones, allunder the Nokia brand. The branding structure was verysimple: the Nokia brand with a product number, such as
N8, the company’s newest smartphone, or E7.
 Of course, many branding problems only surface overtime. And that is certainly the case for Nokia. By playingin all segments of the market, Nokia watered down itsbrand, eroding its meaning. What is Nokia, anyway?
What would I Nokia smartphone be like? I really don’t
know.Nokia has competitors with very strong brands. Apple hascreated a remarkably strong brand portfolio with well-defined brands: iPod, iPhone and iPad. Blackberry is astrong brand, too.The new leadership team at Nokia has a long list of challenges. Developing a more compelling brand portfolioshould be one of the top priorities.
Responses to “Nokia’s Branding
Ifeolu Babatunde Says:
While the mention of Nokia might draw blank stares
to consumers in the US market, it’s important to
note that Nokia has much stronger brand awarenessby consumers in Europe and Asia and is still the #1handset maker in the world. Your point is valid thatNokia has attempted to serve all segments of the
market (as last year’s failed attempt to compete
with Apple by launching the KIN series of social
media phones demonstrated). Nokia can’t win the
app war or the shiniest-glossiest-
toy war. It’s
strongest brand traits are in the durability,reliability, and engineering nature of its phones.With the right re-branding campaign Nokia can buildon these brand traits to convert themselves into theToyota of the mobile phone industry
a companythat focuses on delivery quality products to itsconsumers.
Nokia was recently selected as one of the mosttrusted brands in India for the 2nd or 3rd year in arow. In Europe and Asia, Nokia has a strong brand
image. The blog would be more accurate to say thatNokia lacks a strong brand image in USA.to the commenter above : Kin was from Microsoftnot by Nokia.
Ifeolu Babatunde Says:
@ SRA: you’re absolutely right. It was Microsoft and
not Nokia that launched the Kin last year, but this
doesn’t take away from the point
of my argument.Neither Nokia nor Microsoft can win the shiniest-glossiest-
toy war. It’s too far from their brand
equity. Microsoft should focus on developing anOperating System that supports the usability of theirphones and Nokia should focus on offering
affordable, functional, and accessible phones.
@ Tim Calkins: to support my point about Nokia’s
strong global brand equity, Interbrand recentlyreleased their 2010 Best Global Brands Report.Nokia was in the Top 10 out of 100.
CoryS Says:
One issue is that in smart phones, Nokia decided togo after the techie, tinkering crowd v. Apple for the

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