Marketing Director | 18 Oct 2006
Our global vision is ‘seamless mobility’. Eventually, the mobile handset will be an all emcompassing device – you will be able to pay your bills, unlock your car, your home, buy tickets, and even use your mobile phone as a personal ID. It is going to be an integral part of people’s lives. The more you personalise mobile phones and provide consumers with additional options, the more consumers value it.
Lloyd Mathias is currently spearheading a brand turnaround at Motorola Mobile Devices. He is part of Motorola India’s country council and leads the development of an integrated marketing strategy for Motorola’s businesses in India.
His key responsibilities include handling the brand communication and advertising, consumer insights, retail marketing and PR for Motorola’s Mobile Devices business. He is also responsible for all market activation programmes, which are designed to help the brand engage with its audiences in an interactive and meaningful manner.
Prior to joining Motorola, Mathias was Executive Vice-president, Marketing, at PepsiCo India, where he spent 11 years in a variety of roles – brand marketing, promotions, retail marketing and operations.
In conversation with exchange4media’s Pallavi Goorha, Mathais speaks extensively on the Indian mobile market, Motorola’s marketing initiatives, 3G technology and consumer behaviour regarding mobile phones.
Q. What is the position of Motorola in the Indian mobile market?
Motorola is a ‘seamless mobility’ company and a pioneer in telecommunications. It is dedicated to eliminating barriers in place and complexity with devices and technologies that simplify life and make it more fun. In the area of mobile communications, Motorola has innovative phones that provide consumers with a range of choices. We have clearly demonstrated to consumers that Motorola makes very distinct phones. Motorola represents cool technology and iconic design which people can feel proud using.
Q. India is a price sensitive market. How are you competing on that front?
We have one of the most aggressive price offerings in the Indian market. In fact, we have won the Global GSMA (GSM Association) Award for two consecutive terms. The GSMA is an association of GSM operators globally. They believed Motorola has the best value phones in the market, a global brand recall and proper service backup. Today, all Indian GSM service providers – Hutch, Airtel, Idea, Tata Indicom and BSNL – work with us, which no other brand can boast of. Further, we are the only brand which has phones retailing below Rs 2,000, for instance, our C118 retails at Rs 1,900. We also have the lowest priced colour phone priced at Rs 2,200.
We also have great offerings at the middle and higher segments of the mobile phone market. Our Moto Razr series compsising the V3 and V3i models, the Moto SLVR series comprising L2, L6, L7, and the Moto Pebl phones have been hugely successful. Today, we have some of the best product offerings in the Indian market. Mobile phones are increasingly becoming a definition of a person’s identity. People want a phone that stands out and is different from what they see around them, a phone that is an extension of their personality.
Q. Do you have plans to launch any new phones this year?
Yes, we have plans to launch new products. We plan to give consumers the best choice in terms of price and design. In fact, Motorola is a pioneer in design globally. We have set a trend in bringing colour to phones with the Pink Razr. The Pebl was launched in six colours – blue, pink, orange, green, red and black. We are looking at a few launches in October.
Our global vision is ‘seamless mobility’. Eventually, the mobile handset will be an all emcompassing device – you will be able to pay your bills, unlock your car, your home, buy tickets, and even use your mobile phone as a personal ID. It is going to be an integral part of people’s lives. The more you personalise mobile phones and provide consumers with additional options, the more consumers value it. In terms of specific launches, we are looking at Mobile Asia (the nation’s biggest mobility event held from October 13-16) and a new phone launch every month after that. The idea is to have exciting new products each month to give better value to the consumer.
Q. What is focus of the marketing activities of Motorola and what are your plans for the festive season?
Our focus is on building brand Motorola as one of India’s top telecom brands. Our aim is to continually give enhanced value and product offering to the consumer. One of our concerns earlier was that our products were not available widely. Last December, we appointed Bharti Teletech as our national distributor. Today we enjoy a big national footprint. We are available in more than 25,000 stores. Further, we are the only mobile phone company to have a consumer-financing model for our products through GE Finance.
As far as marketing activities go, our focus is to build a distinct identity for Motorola. We realised that to be successful in India, Motorola must strike a chord with the Indian consumer. Motorola is a global brand with a strong technology heritage – but must come to be relevant to the Indian consumer in a meaningful way. Recently, we signed on Abhishek Bachchan as our brand ambassador as we saw a great fit between him and Motorola. This helped us in two ways – one, it conveyed to our consumers that we are a global brand with high technology heritage that has an Indian face. Secondly, Abhishek is a cool icon who understands technology himself and, therefore, at once we built a rapport with the youth. We also believe we used Abhishek distinctly, unlike a standard celebrity endorsement. The three most important marketing activities are to build an Indian face to the brand, reinforce the cool technology and have a strong retail presence.
We recognise the fact that despite all the brand building that we do through communication, we will succeed only if we have compelling presence when the consumer is going to make the final selection at the retail store. We have Motoagents who are a dedicated force in the market that handle three primary roles – merchandising, product familiarisation to trade and consumer demonstrations. We also have a Motobus, a mobile Motorola demonstration vehicle which has the entire range of our products. Consumers can get the entire Motorola experience in the Motobus.
For the festive season, we do have big plans: firstly, we have made some big launches during Mobile Asia 2006. We also have a promotional tie-up with Hero Honda, called ‘mobike pe mobile’ offer. As part of this offer, every time a consumer buys a Hero Honda bike, he gets a Motorola mobile with free airtime from Airtel. This offer is on till October 31, 2006. We also have a joint campaign with Tata Indicom and are offering Motorola phones with every Tata Indicom connection.
Q. Could you elaborate on your collaboration with Tata Indicom?
We enjoy a very active partnership. We have collaborated in a range of phones. They are one of our key business partners. In July we launched the CDMA version of the Moto Razr, the V3C, jointly with Tata Indicom. They are a valued partner and we share a strong relationship with them as we have with all our other service providers.
Q. This year Motorola has advertised a lot in print, TVC, etc. What is your advertising budget for the year?
As a company policy we do not disclose our advertising budget. We have indeed taken a very active position in the media unlike in the past. This year we got into big media properties – we were associate sponsors of the FIFA World Cup on ESPN, and the presenting sponsors of the Indo-Pak cricket series held in February-March. We have taken a very strong outdoor presence and have an ongoing outdoor campaign in 24 cities.
Q. How do you think Abhishek Bachchan has helped the brand?
There are a lot of similarities between Abhishek and Motorola. Both have a strong heritage. Both Abhishek and Motorola didn’t get off to a great start. However, over the past year Abhishek is certainly seeing his career on the upswing. Lastly, and most importantly, he’s cool and is a tech savvy person. He’s not just a brand ambassador with a good-looking face, but is also the spokesperson for the brand – someone who truly understands technology.
Q. How has Mobile Asia benefited Motorola?
Mobile Asia is a great event for consumers. Over 2.5 lakh visitors came to the exposition over four days. It was a great platform to showcase our entire range of products. People got to experience first hand the latest mobile devices and technology. We had our experts explaining consumers how to use the various technologies and get the best out of their phones. Moreover, we also showcased our retail look and demonstrated some never-seen-before technologies.
Q. How has been the growth of the cellular industry like?
Between January and August this year, 39 million new subscribers entered the fold. So, the category is growing at an explosive rate. However, even today, at 135 million mobile subscribers as of September-end, India has a penetration of only 13 per cent.
Q. What is the nature of the tie-up between Motorola and Nokia for Mobile TV?
Nokia and Motorola together have 55 per cent of the global mobile handset market. Globally, nearly two and a half billion people own mobile phones. The two companies have come together in pioneering this new technology.
Q. What is the future of 3G in India? Is India’s infrastructure ready for it?
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is in the process of finalising its 3G policy. Once this is cleared, 3G licenses will be issued and the major operators will offer the service. Motorola has a good range of 3G phones and the moment 3G licences are issued, we will launch our range of 3G phones. 3G technology will facilitate new applications like mobile TV, which are not possible today.
Q. What is the nature of your tie-up with GE?
Our tie-up with GE Money is one of the most significant offerings to the consumer today. Young consumers constantly upgrade their phones, at an average of 16-18 months. GE Money provides an easy finance option without any interest, which makes it much easier for the consumer to upgrade his phone. Secondly, Motorola is the only mobile phone company that offers consumers financing options for mobile handsets. For us this tie-up has been a landmark event and a pioneering effort in the mobile phone industry.
Q. Globally you have tied up with designer Dolce & Gabana. Have you got any similar plans with an Indian designer?
We are not doing any tie-up at the moment. If we plan on designing a phone especially for the Indian market, then we may look for it as an option.
Q. Motorola has launched so many phones in quick succession. Don’t you think it cannibalises on the brand?
Consumers upgrade their mobile phones very often. It’s important to give consumers enough choice and variety at an affordable price. That’s what we are going to constantly do. Sometimes that might result in consumers upgrading from a basic Motorola phone to a more advance model. However, it is important to give a consumer the best choices.