What’s In a Name? More Than You Might Think

There is no room for modesty if you want product success, as one of the best, but least-known, smartphone manufacturers is finding out.

This is the age of the smartphone. Around 85 per cent of UK adults own one – that’s a higher proportion than those who own a laptop or a wristwatch. As an indicator of what’s hot and what’s not, therefore, it serves as an ideal barometer.

So what is the best smartphone out there? Ask that question to a dozen people, and Apple and Samsung will probably be the most common answers with, perhaps, an honourable mention for Sony among the best of the rest. Ask the same question to those within the industry, however, and you will probably get an entirely different answer.

Subsequent to its UK release at London’s Excel Centre, influential online magazine Wired described the latest smartphone from Huawei as “the phone the iPhone XS should be.” Those of us not in the know are more likely to give a blank stare, or, at best, to be genuinely surprised. It’s a little like reading in What Car that Mercedes needs to make sure its new
model is every bit as good as the latest Daihatsu.

Sharing the secret

The global smartphone market might seem a world away from small business marketing in Essex, but there is clearly a lesson to be learned here. Modesty might be a virtue in certain situations, but in a competitive marketplace, there is nothing to be gained from being the best-kept secret in your industry.

The comparison between smartphones and cars is not an idle one. Both are high consideration purchases, and both are markets in which there is a degree of brand snobbery. Just look at Skoda as a case in point. In the 1970s and 80s, Jasper Carrott built an entire stand-up routine around the Czech carmaker on the basis of poor reliability, indifferent build quality and questionable styling. By the mid-90s, the brand was part of the Volkswagen group, and all these problems were solved. Yet more than 20 years on, despite being acknowledged by the car industry as one of the best marques available, the sneering continues – and Jasper Carrott has still not changed his routine.

Devising a brand strategy

Granted, for all the razzmatazz that accompanied the launch of its new smartphone at the London event, Huawei does not have the same kind of marketing budget as Apple, any more than the average small business in Essex has the marketing budget of Huawei. But building a successful brand is not simply a case of throwing money at it.

Without getting too caught up in MBA-speak, a comprehensive brand strategy needs to take into account consumer needs, the competitive environment, the realities of the economic environment in which it operates and the long-term goals of the business. In other words, it has to be aligned with both internal and external expectations.

Does your brand do that? If not, or you think it could do it better, perhaps it’s time to get some expert help. After all, there’s little value in being great at what you do if nobody knows about it.

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