Friday, October 06, 2006

Christening your next new handset

Numbering game’s passé; it’s time for the ‘naming’ game, and then some more!

What’s in a name? Everything! Ask cellular handset makers in India, and the answer’s bound to be just that! And not without reason. The eye-popping success of the Moto RAZR series in India that is pulling up the sagging fortunes of the American handset-maker in the country, is a case in point. Lloyd Mathias, Director (Marketing), Motorola (India) believes that: “People do not understand confusing numbers and fundamentally, names arouse more response from target audiences.” The rave response to Motorola’s Moto RAZR, Moto PEBL, Moto SLVR, and the more recent, Moto ROKR series is reportedly also inspiring other handset makers to abandon their penchant with boring numbers and alphabets to name their snazzy models.

Till date, Nokia with a 79% share of the Indian market had in real terms exploited the Indian cellular handset freaks that could not resist its 3310, 3315, 1100, 2300, 6610, 6600, 7610 and other numbing numbered series. But perhaps today, think-tanks at the Finnish major are asking a question to themselves – can we fight competition better if we ‘name’ our handsets, instead of using plain vanilla digits for classifying the handsets? The answer is obvious by their announcement of naming their brands hereon.

Says Keith Pardy, Marketing Head (Global), Nokia, “What you will see coming from us in the future is not just a numbering system, you are going to start seeing names that carry a meaning and are important to consumers.” Call it piggy-backing on the innovative branding moves of their competitors or simply being copy-cats, the company has certainly realized that customers all around the world identify themselves with and respond well to product names that carry some connotation.

So have they already given shape to this plan with the Nokia 8800 Sirocco Edition launched recently? Or maybe they now believe that numbering their handsets make them unique, and hence have settled for a judicious mix of a name and a number to begin with! And come to think of it, there is an emotional connect when it comes to names and it’s more fun. There also comes a sense of ownership and style declaration with names. Digitally advanced all right, but ‘names’ unquestionably make the whole affair more palatable.

But then, why have strange sounding four-letter names... SLVR instead of Silver, RAZR instead of Razor and ROKR and COCKR in places of God knows what! “Consumers don’t look at these names in an abstract manner and therefore our four letter names are worked out accordingly to convey a message to consumers,” explains Mathias. Seems those guys out there did get the message. Or else why would Moto rave about its resounding success? Or why would other handset-makers latch on to the bandwagon? Why indeed!

3 comments:

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