HMD are in talks to launch a field marketing proposition to support the launch of their handsets in the UK, according to UK HMD GM Sarah Edge.
In an interview with Mobile Magazine, when asked about the brand’s retail training ambitions, Edge answered, ‘Yes, we’re currently looking at who we use for our field marketing but we feel it’s really key for Nokia. We’ve got some candidates, a few different options to decide between. We have to get people trained and get brand advocates in store, to make lives easier when staff are selling. We’d love to explore something a bit different with field marketing, different ways to create advocacy outside of a giant field teams.’
Nearly every manufacturer field marketing team uses an external agency to provide in store training to retail staff - Samsung use Blue Square, Sony use Infinite, Huawei use Channel Advantage and Alcatel use Alter. Many of the contracts limit the agencies from working with multiple companies within the same sector, meaning whoever HMD chose is likely to be a newcomer to the market, or Microsoft and Nokia’s old field marketing partner Retail Marketing Group.
The GM also discussed the reception to their MWC launches, stating, ‘It’s a bit of a dream for us in terms of all the press coverage, I think there was a leak a couple of weeks ago, we were quite gutted at the time but looking back it was quite a nice teaser actually, the coverage has been more than we could imagine. We want to talk about the smartphones as well but this was a really lovely way to announce that Nokia is here.’
With the 3310 grabbing the headlines at the event, Mobile asked whether HMD got the balance right between focusing on the feature phone and on the smartphones. Edge responded, ‘All our marketing approach from here on in will be focused on the smartphones. We think we’ve got enough interest in the smartphones; people are buying into the designs, the quality and the price point. We’ll give rivals run for their money.
She continued, ‘I don’t think anything since the first iPhone launch has received this much coverage, it’s got everyone talking about Nokia.'
Achieving the right balance between the devices also relates to which devices are to be stocked on the high street, though according to Edge, it’s not a balance HMD will dictate to retailers, ‘We’ve got the likes of O2 who aren’t accrediting any new 2G devices, but they’ll be ranging other products with us subject to contract. But I don’t think there’s anyone who is just taking the 3310, everyone has been supporting us with the smartphones as well which is what we wanted. It’s not something we enforced either, it’s just what they want to do.’
Despite being under a year old as a company, HMD has secured access to many of the strongest retail channels in the UK, describing this, Edge told Mobile, ‘We are now working with Exertis in the UK to supply all our retail partners. We’ve went out and met them all now and any we’ve missed we will be seeing in the next few weeks. They are really excited, they’ve had so much success with Nokia in the past. The doors are open, now we just have to deliver on it at launch.
‘We’ve been really lucky, you can’t under estimate the power of the brand, not just with consumers but our retail partners as well. They want us to be successful. They want more variety, more competition in the market.’
‘Now we have to prove ourselves to the retailers, show that we can deliver and show that we can get the basics right. The phones are brilliant and they’ll do most of the work themselves but I’m very conscious that we have to deliver what is expected from Nokia.’
Commonly described as one of the toughest markets to crack, Edge gave a brief overview of the UK stating, ‘At the high end it’s dominated by two players which won’t come as a surprising comment to anyone. We know it’s a tough market in the UK but if you look at brands like Alcatel who’ve done really well through great quality and hard work, there is opportunity there and we owe it to consumers to give them more choice.’
Nokia’s last operating systems hosted on their devices, Symbian and Microsoft, both struggled to win over consumers. With the Nokia 3, 5 and 6, HMD chose to use pure Android. Asked whether this reduced differentiation between the Nokia handsets and every other pure android device, Sarah Edge answered, ‘I think times have moved on a little bit, it’s about what people want rather than what we’re trying to enforce. Consumers want pure android so much and we can’t go against that. We have to differentiate on our design and our partnerships. We also feel that going for pure android at this price point is differentiating.’