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Monday, 18 September 2006 04:33

Deleting the numbers, keying in a name

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ImageTaking a cue from Motorola, the sub-branding mania seems to have overtaken the mobile handset market.

These four-lettered words don’t need any asterisks in between them to camouflage the meaning.

One look at them – RAZR, PEBL, SLVR and the ROKR - and you would know that they are an integral part of the promotions that the US telecom giant, Motorola has successfully embarked upon.

Today it is the handset sub-brands that are calling the shots in the mobile space. After the unprecedented success of the Motorola’s four-lettered brand names, it is LG’s and Nokia’s turn to jump into the naming game because they are realizing that names are easier to remember than dry and boring numbers.

LG has come out with its popular Chocolate range of phones under the Black Label series while Nokia is not stopping at the N series but outlining plans for further naming ceremonies.

Keith Pardy, global marketing head of Nokia, at a recent webcast in Citigroup’s investor meeting in New York is reported to have said, “What you will see coming from us in the future is not just a numbering system, you are going to start to see names that carry a meaning and are important to consumers.”

Earlier this year, during the “Nokia Experience Mobility 2006” event recently held in the hilly city of Chongqing in China, senior Nokia officials indicated that aesthetic looks were beginning to take top priority. And, when designer looks and sleek handsets come the consumer way, sub-brand names, are sure to follow.

In India, Nokia uses a combination of names and numbers, such as Nokia 8800 Sirocco Edition launched earlier this week and there are more to come in future. “Nokia has introduced this approach to make it easier for customers to navigate across our range of phones,” the Nokia India spokesperson said.

While some players like LG believe that only the high end phones should be christened with a million dollar name because it is an expensive proposition, Motorola is betting big on brand names.

Motorola is ready to swear by its produt-name branding strategy which has indeed paid off extremely well and is gearing up to launch a mass market phone soon, called Moto FONE. “Through these brands the company is targeting a segment of the market and by the way its market share is increasing, it certainly is conveying a message to the consumers,” say Motorola officials.

Sony Ericsson, another leading player in the handset space is banking on its Sony brand.
Its promotional campaigns include the Walkman brand for its music phone and the Cybershot for the camera phone.

Says Sudhin Mathur, general manager, Sony Ericsson mobile communication, India: “With an increasing portfolio of new brands and technologies, products should stand out by more than just a number. We need to have numbers and they will continue to exist but there is a broader segmentation of market and this is where names are beginning to matter.”

Chances are that 1100 and N series would become passé and million-dollar names would ring in the new era of branding handset models, the Chocolate way.

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