I really don't attach dollars to marketing: Ajey Mehta, HMD Global

Focusing on consumer experience, Ajey Mehta, VP & Region head (APAC), HMD Global (the house of Nokia phones) talks to exchange4media about the phone updates that keep getting better over time

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Oct 30, 2019 8:52 AM  | 5 min read
Ajey Mehta, VP & Region head (APAC), HMD Global

The Nokia we knew and Nokia of 2020 is very different. While the core values of the brand have remained the same, Ajey Mehta, Vice President and Region head (APAC), HMD Global (the house of Nokia phones) talks to exchange4media on how the handset maker is trying to shift the conversation around smartphones from specs to experiences.

Nokia apparently is moving the conversation around smartphones from specs to experiences. What is this chatter all about?

At Nokia, we launch products essentially on three pillars. First of course, is design and craftsmanship. When we talk about the design of the product, we have a very nordic premium design and there goes a lot of craftsmanship in the product in terms of the material and the quality. We put in a lot of time and resources to ensure the phone is sturdy.

The second pillar is the real life experience piece so that we talk about delivering an experience rather than putting specs for the sake of spec so it's not technology for the sake of technology but it's technology for a purpose. So for example, we've launched a Nokia 7.2, it is a very strong imaging proposition that we have. We have a triple camera 48 megapixel offering, which has fantastic low light capability at night mode apart from taking photographs nicely during the day as well. 

We also have a very special high tech polymer that is used since its light and sturdy at the same time. And we've used a pure display in front that delivers a fantastic viewing immersive experience to the consumer. We've also done some partnerships with Zeiss and others, which can help in delivering this experience to the consumer. We continue to look at driving such partnership.

And then the third is the Android one. Our phones come with the promise of two operating system updates, and monthly security updates for three years, which means your phone just keeps getting better over time. Your phone keeps getting updated automatically. You don't need to buy a new phone for upgrades, you can just upgrade your phone itself. We focus on the experience over the lifetime of the phone.

Much is being discussed over security and privacy of a personal device. Tell us a little about Nokia’s take on it.

We believe that security and privacy is going to become a very important conversation going forward. And we also believe we are probably amongst the most ready for that, because we have this under one platform. Apart from that, we are a European brand with a Scandinavian heritage. Our data centers are in Finland. We comply with all the security and the GDPR security rules and statutes that exists across the world. And therefore when you buy a Nokia phone, you can be sure that your data is secure and your privacy is maintained.

Tell us little about the kind of marketing mix you use to communicate with end users?

For us, it's actually a combination of all the channels. It all depends on the price point and the proposition that we're talking about. Also, of course, we do have the new age marketing levers that we use but we also use some of the traditional marketing. So we widely leverage all the channels. The idea is to start with the consumer, who's our target customer, what is their buying behaviour and what is our offering for them? This pretty much determines our entire marketing mix.

Smartphone makers are targeting millennials. What are you doing to reach out to them and convince them to pick up a Nokia phone?

We employ all new age marketing tools to engage with the millennials. Be it digital marketing or social media marketing or fan engagements they are all very important for us. What remains the same for Nokia, are the basic values that Nokia stands for. The rendition of that, is what has changed. The values don't change but how we really come across to the consumer, how we are charging a consumer and how we communicate a message to the consumer is what has changed. So in order to target the millennials, we have to make sure that we're not the Nokia from 2009, but we are Nokia of 2019.

We have a community forum online that we target our fans through. We have hundreds and thousands of fans who have registered with us and we're in constant communication with them directly. So we do promotions with them. We ask them for feedback on our products. We are working closely with Bollywood influencers and are very active on social media to keep the buzz alive.

At a time when there are smartphones of all shapes and sizes to suit every pocket, how does Nokia stand out as a brand?

There are a couple of things. One is, of course, our products speak for themselves. Then, it's the whole Android one story that we deliver a very safe and secure phone, that delivers the best experience through its lifetime, because it just keeps getting better over time. And third is the brand Nokia which has a Finnish heritage. We have to comply with all the security privacy laws that exist in Europe. 

Tell us about your plans for 2020

We are looking very positively at 2020. We are looking at marketing as one of our most important pillars driving our business in 2020. Being visible in the marketing space does not necessarily mean that you need big budgets provided to do it. So I really don't attach dollars to marketing, as I attach things like traffic, footfall and conversions.

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