Raghuvesh Sarup, Director-Marketing, Microsoft Mobile Devices, talks about the take-over of Nokia by Microsoft and what the marriage of hardware and software companies has meant for the brand.
What has the take-over of Nokia by Microsoft meant for product quality and range?
Over the decades, we have learnt a lot as Nokia and Microsoft, but not together. On the hardware side with Nokia, there has been innovation and progress; for example, compression of camera technology. There has been an equal amount of progress on the software side from Microsoft. The fact that you can run PowerPoint on your phone to the big screen, edit presentations and send them back while you are sitting in a bus is technology progression. Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia saw a marriage between technologies from both worlds. The word Lumia has not changed, and you will see pretty much the same thing inside and outside whether it is a Microsoft Lumia or a Nokia Lumia. But the combined power of both in one device is the difference you will experience. Microsoft is one of the world’s most recognizable brands. When you add Microsoft as a parent brand, the appeal for many of its sub-brands goes up. This is my theory when you add Microsoft to a brand like Lumia, the appeal grows and one of the reasons why the transition works.
We have divided the phone models in three broad segments: high-end, affordable, and first phones. As for the branding, Nokia Lumia is now Microsoft Lumia. Microsoft has an agreement to use the Nokia name for several years on the first phones.
How would the transformation from Nokia to Microsoft be in the retail arena?
In the digital space, the transformation is happening already. The website is no longer nokia.com it is microsoft.com, and our websites have only Microsoft logos. Digitally, the transformation has happened faster but in brick and mortar stores it will take longer as it is a physically harder task. The Nokia Priority Dealer as they used to be called, are now Microsoft Priority Mobile, we say Microsoft Priority re-seller.
What defines marketing at Microsoft Mobile Devices in India?
Today, our lives are quite meshed, there is the work life but in the middle there are many moments where we can live our personal lives as well. If I get a message right now on Facebook or Twitter from someone I know outside the workplace, I can take a moment and respond. Similarly when I am at home and I get a work-related message, I can respond to it as well. It helps people value the importance of time more and more. At Microsoft, our intention is to give this time back to everybody because your time is precious and for you to decide how to spend it. This is the kind of empowerment that Microsoft wants to provide to people through its products, whether they are services or devices and it is only in the device that all of this comes together. Learnings from the enterprise world are what Microsoft brings to the consumer world and the learnings of the consumer world through devices reach Microsoft in the enterprises. The lines are blurring. People are not conscious that they are using an enterprise or a personal application. This is the future of Microsoft and the digital world. We believe that in a world which is increasingly mobile and cloud first, Microsoft will empower you to get your time back. We are getting the digital and work life experiences into one device called the smartphone.
Windows is something which has traditionally been on a PC or tablet, but today it is on your phone. In that sense, we will contribute towards growing the Windows Phone ecosystem, through the mobile world and to mobile users.
Second is the consumption and monetization of Microsoft services such as Bing search, Office, Skype, One Drive and Xbox. The word that I use a lot these days is access. We want to make access of services easily available to more and more people. That is the difference between the services and the way they mesh with the devices. With almost all the smartphones, we have almost all the services, even Xbox. The reason why it comes down to some of the affordable smartphones or rather most of them is because some of the games are coming out later so we expect that many of the earlier users may not have downloaded the games yet, but again software catches up with you, new applications are available to users of yesterday and so on.
What is the media mix you are using for the brand?
In a typical media mix, we focus a lot on digital and retail. When we launched products such as the Lumia 930, we focused more in the digital and social space. The 930 is our top of the line product with features such as a 20MP camera, 2GB RAM. The potential buyers of this device are expecting performance. They know exactly how it works, they have other devices in their consideration set that are equally advanced, so there is a fair amount of knowledge that they already possess. All we have to tell them is why our device is better than the others they are considering. At the retail level, we invested in knowledge giving, so it is all at a very advanced level.
With Lumia 535, the strategy is different and we are going more mass, perhaps a lot more mass than we have before. There will be a lot of TV presence for 535, and a lot of print media presence. The digital in this case will not necessarily educate about the nuances of the product, but it will amplify some of the things we have already talked about along with massive visibility in retail.
If the world of India is a pyramid, our advertising was focused on the tip of the pyramid for Lumia 930 but for Lumia 535 we go down all the way. So you will see trucks with panels of the 535 on it, on trees, in smaller shops, brochures, and appearance models. This is the media mix in our category.
What are some of the innovative initiatives at Microsoft India to increase consumer connect?
We will be doing more of retail-oriented activities. There is a special app that we have created, which enables you to see how the different services work on your tablet, PC or mobile. All our retailers will have these apps and they will use these and we would know how often and how many times they have been used.