New growth at Nokia

Voice of youth at hub of mobile revolution: senior executives talk to Marketing Week about the launch of the Lumia smartphone and how they hope it will set the seal on the company’s reinvention as a youthful brand.

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Embattled mobile brand Nokia is hoping that its Lumia smartphone will help extinguish the flames on its infamous “burning platform” that chief executive Stephen Elop referred to in a speech back in February.

Since Elop admitted that Nokia’s lack of momentum was because it “poured gasoline on its own burning platform”, the brand’s marketing and technology teams have focused on new product development in a bid to regain market share from the likes of Apple.

Charmaine Eggberry, Nokia’s senior vice-president of marketing and marketplace activation, is one of the marketers at the forefront of this new strategy. Well-known in the technology world, Eggberry joined from BlackBerry maker RIM in July 2010 and reports to chief marketing officer Jerri DeVard.

Elop’s arrival from Microsoft in September last year brought with it changes to processes, structure and strategy, along with a new energy that has spread through the ranks, Eggberry reveals. “The revolution we have gone through is to ’re-architect’ who we’re targeting, the voice we’re talking in, the tonality, the way in which we execute it and the actual creative and advertising, which is a lot brighter and more energetic,” she says, pointing to the brand’s new two-second TV ad teaser format (see Refreshed Creativity, below).

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Nokia World 2011.

She adds: “We have changed the way we work. It has been mine and my team’s job to look at ways of working – we call it ’wow’. The wow is about creating a marketing organisation that is able to focus on the needs of a particular local market.

“It’s about keeping true to the brand principles while empowering the local teams to do the best work of their careers. That’s my rallying cry for the marketing team.”

Part of that revamp has been to focus on the youth market; a demographic that has become a sweet spot for Eggberry’s former employer BlackBerry through its free instant messaging application, BBM.

Eggberry claims the Lumia range’s social hub and inbuilt music streaming service will be the functions that will revive the brand among this audience. “The number one thing that’s relevant to youth is people – their friends, being in contact,” she says. “So we’ve built the social network People Hub, which is the first thing you see when you access your phone.

“What makes this youthful and relevant is the social experience. The focus groups we showed it to liked that feature the most. It’s very visual and alive.”

But can Nokia, a brand that has been typically favoured by older, more conservative consumers, speak the language of today’s young people? Eggberry says the company’s research and insight department has been exploring the global youth market to help inform Nokia’s strategy.

“If you want to be consumer-centric, the first thing you have to do is talk to consumers. I have been blown away by the consumer research and insights group here.

“We have been doing intensive research on every continent and really looking hard at what Nokia means to them, who they are, what do they aspire to, what are their passions and what resonates with them,” Eggberry explains.

Listen and learn

“We have looked at every market where we have a business – 190 countries and in 32 languages. We have talked and more importantly listened and learned about who that youth is.

Nokia

“For example, half the population in India is under 25. So if you are not being youthful, you are not focused on the future. It’s important not just in terms of our next brand campaign but for our future marketing strategy.”

Despite the raft of new faces at Nokia, Eggberry remains on a mission to attract “the best and brightest marketing talent” who can execute locally relevant strategies (see Charmaine Eggberry on mentoring and talent development, below). “I am spending a large part of my day interviewing people who are desperate to join Nokia,” she claims.

“They want to come on board because they see an opportunity and a challenge. We have embraced a concept of mastery – being a consummate marketer, the very best at what you do. We are trying to create a team of people who display that mastery every day.

“The perfect marketer combines passion and intellect. You can expect great things from them. This will continue to be my mission.”
The opportunity and challenge of working for a brand in difficulty is what attracted Eggberry to the role. She claims it was always on her “list of companies to work for”.

“I’ve been in this industry a very long time and I have long admired Nokia,” she says. “I also recognised it was a company in need of change. And that was precisely the reason I joined RIM when I did. I knew I could help this organisation, that there was a challenge I could really wrap my arms around. It was a great business challenge – the holy grail of the combination of inspirational, iconic and challenging.”

Nokia World 2011
Nokia Lumia 710

Eggberry believes Nokia’s new determination is already having an impact. Third-quarter results released last month show that while net sales were down 13% to €9bn (£7.68bn), this was far better than what analysts had predicted.

Its pre-tax loss of €151m (£28.9m) was also ahead of the €300m (£256.1m) figure analysts had put their money on, perhaps at the expense of 7,000 jobs made redundant as part of a €1bn (£850m) cost-cutting agenda that the company has made few apologies for.
Elop said at the time: “In Q3 we started to see signs of early progress in many areas. As we head into the fourth quarter we are looking forward to generating more success as a result of delivering against our new strategy.”

Eggberry adds that Nokia’s aim is to bring technology that can “delight, excite and innovate” to the smartphone market, with a focus on emerging markets and innovations the company refers to as “future disruptions”.

Her enthusiasm, like that of her colleagues, is infectious. From an observer’s perspective, it seems that the right players have come to Nokia at the right time (see Who’s Who, below).

But while Elop identified early on that increasing its speed to market was an essential change to make, how long will the new game plan take to turn Q3’s €151m loss around? How far has the brand come in extinguishing and rebuilding its burning platform?

Eggberry affirms: “Things are changing. You will see more positive change in the next year and a lot of energy and passion. I say this honestly – it’s a chance to be part of something.”

Refreshed Creativity

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Nokia World 2011. Stephen Elop presents the Lumia 800.

Nokia’s new two-second TV “blipverts” were the brainchild of UK head of brand and campaigns Adam Johnson and created in line with the brand’s new youth focus.

“The two-second ads are a media first for mobile brands,” claimed Johnson at Nokia World in London last month. “The last time I checked we had over 500,000 views on YouTube. Twitter has gone nuts. It just shows how much intrigue and desire for understanding there is for Nokia.

“It was a tough sell to convince the powers that be that it was a good thing to do. It was risky, but it is paying off.”

John Nichols, director of marketing UK and Ireland, says the campaign for the Lumia smartphone is Nokia’s biggest ever in the UK, taking in not just TV but cinema, digital, outdoor and a big push in retail.

He adds that in addition to Nokia’s youth focus, which has resulted in a tie-up with boy band One Direction, the brand will be taking a more youthful tone overall to reach its wider audience.

“It’s important to separate that youth campaign out from what we’re doing as a brand. A specific all-in target at youth is not where we are,” Nichols clarifies.

“We mean lots of different positive things to lots of age groups and people. We will be youthful in our approach, but being youthful is different to targeting youth. We are being much broader than that. We are a revitalised brand,” he claims.

Johnson says the creative agency brief was to “make people say ’I can’t believe that’s Nokia’.” He adds: “Everything we are doing is digital or dynamic. You won’t see us using static media because we want people to see the phone’s features, like the tiles on the interface opening to reveal the social hub.”

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Nichols says Nokia’s delivery has three phases – intrigue, excite and stampede. He explains that the intrigue period moved into ’excite’ with the release of the new brand advertising last month and following the new devices hitting the shelves this week, activity is now encouraging the stampede.

Johnson says the brand has been going for more diverse and intense media and promotional partners, and points to the fact that Nokia is the lead sponsor this year of the Turner Prize.

He says this tie-up is a result of the event being held in Sheffield for the first time and is part of Nokia’s strategic regional targeting.
“There’s a lot of latent love for Nokia outside London and we want to reignite that,” says Johnson. “Working with the arts enables us to tell a legitimate design story in that space – and get influential people to come along and see Nokia in an environment it wouldn’t ordinarily be in.

“While we have to go for reach in terms of TV buying, we want to go deep too, so we want to work with media partners with multiple touchpoints. Northern & Shell, for example, has a portfolio of TV, print and online.

“The 30-second ad has been the mainstay of TV for too long, so why wouldn’t you do a two-second spot? Or a three-minute ad-funded programme? Why couldn’t we do a cover wrap of OK! magazine and display the content in tiles like the ones on our phone’s interface? These are the kinds of things you can do by working with less partners more deeply.”

Nichols states that working more closely with partners is part of the new Nokia way of working. “The days of sending your ad agency a one-page brief and a budget and getting a media plan back are over. We have strong teams at all our agencies. They have really embraced this new mindset. It takes 50% more effort but the rewards are putting us in a different league.”

Charmaine Eggberry on mentoring and talent development

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Before becoming Nokia’s senior vice-president of global marketing and marketplace activation, Charmaine Eggberry had built a reputation for championing the development of talent and building the profile of women in technology.

As vice-president and EMEA managing director at BlackBerry parent company RIM, Eggberry established the Women in Technology awards in 2005. She did this because inspiring women to join the sector made more sense than simply reeling off the dire statistics of a lack of female leadership.

“The tech industry doesn’t do enough to attract female talent. Statistics show that of the best and bright women joining, they tend to leave at the age of around 35 and aren’t necessarily rejoining,” Eggberry notes.

“As a responsible employer, you have to have a balanced company to reflect your audience. I started the BlackBerry Women in Technology awards to create role models, so we could tell positive stories. They weren’t all superstar chief executives but women making grassroots differences.”

The awards have not been run since 2008, but Eggberry maintains that the message is still relevant. Indeed, last year she was appointed as a board member and trustee of the Marketing Academy, which is now in its second year of offering year-long scholarships to 30 young marketers and is supported by Marketing Week.

Eggberry is a mentor and has one-to-one sessions with several of the scholars. She claims that having a good mentor is key to being successful in business, naming RIM’s chief operating officer Larry Conley and CEO Mike Lazaridis as her own previous personal mentors.

“The Marketing Academy isn’t just a mentoring scheme, but it exposes talent to a level of discipline in marketing they wouldn’t be exposed to normally,” says Eggberry.

“The people who have come to me have had specific business issues they wanted guidance in, from reviewing business plans to making decisions about their next move. One scholar had a big issue with how marketing is seen in his company and I had to help him overcome that and help him understand that marketing is both a science and an art.”

Eggberry says that her success has also been partly down to finding the right balance of her passions – technology, business and marketing.

Matching Insight With Innovation

Nokia global director of digital Craig Hepburn told Nokia World in London last month: “People don’t want you to sell them products any more, they want you to add value to their lives.”

Hepburn says ongoing Nokia innovations will tie physical events and activities to digital and social initiatives. He gives the example of a live Facebook-style check-in app, in use at Nokia World, which gives people a physical reward for using it.

“We’ve worked hard to build relationships with companies like Facebook to develop ideas like this,” he says. “It ties into our concept of the Amazing Every Day TV ad and brand positioning. These are the things that we hope will make our brand unique.”

Hepburn reveals that Nokia is also embracing communications technology internally – six digital screens in the company’s head office present live global social media data so the team can react to trends and opinions in real time.

The innovations Hepburn delivers are driven by guidance from Nokia’s research and insight team. Director of insight creation Oskar Korkman told Marketing Week Live!’s Insight Show in June that Nokia is working on developments that bridge the gap between the digital and physical worlds.

Korkman says observing and understanding what is happening between people is more valuable than analysing their thoughts in terms of producing applications that enhance people’s lives.

Nokia has been looking at social relationships and Korkman notes that focusing on the commonalities of how people around the world form and maintain relationships is key. “The opportunities for what we can build on are linked to relationships between people. Consumers expect us to stop targeting and start empowering. The products and services we create need to add value to people doing things,” he says.

Nokia Who’s Who

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Stephen Elop
Chief executive

When Elop joined Nokia in September last year, he became the first non-Finn to lead the company following the departure of veterans chief executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo and executive vice-president Anssi Vanjoki.

Elop has made core decisions such as reducing resources dedicated to its in-house Ovi app store and the Meego operating system. He has also recognised a need to cut product development time by a third – a lesson learned when the company failed to follow up Apple’s iPhone debut in 2007.

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Jerri DeVard
Executive vice-president and chief marketing officer

Appointed in January 2011, DeVard is responsible for all of Nokia’s marketing, brand management, communications and selected industry collaboration activities. DeVard has previously worked with brands such as Verizon, Citigroup, Revlon, Harrah’s and Pillsbury. She joined from New York-based DeVard Marketing Group.

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Charmaine Eggberry
Senior vice-president of marketing and marketplace activation

Eggberry leads strategic planning and activation, consumer communications, regional marketing and regional communications.

Prior to joining Nokia in 2010, she was vice-president and managing director for EMEA at BlackBerry parent company RIM. Before that she worked in various positions at Lucent Technologies. She studied global marketing at Wharton Business School, holds an MBA and is a board trustee of the Marketing Academy.

John Nichols

John Nichols
Director of marketing UK and Ireland

Nichols joined Nokia in December 2009 and was appointed to his current role in December 2010. Previous roles include head of retail marketing at drinks retailer Oddbins and head of commercial marketing at Woolworths.

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Craig Hepburn
Global director of digital

Hepburn joined Nokia from Open Text, where as director of social media strategy he advised organisations such as SAP, RIM, T-Mobile, Novartis, Motorola and the Canadian government. Previously, he headed the global ecommerce and digital marketing strategy for STA Travel.

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Adam Johnson
UK and Ireland head of brand and campaigns

Leads marketing campaigns and manages brand-led activities such as sponsorships and brand partnerships. He joined in January 2011 from Nokia Australia, where he was senior marketing manager. Johnson was previously an account director at George Patterson/Young & Rubicam in Sydney.

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Steven Overman
Vice-president of marketing creation

Overman joined Nokia in early 2010. Previously he was head of strategy for IPG Team Nokia, a coalition of global creative agencies within the Interpublic Group. He was instrumental in launching the Nokia Nseries range of multimedia mobiles and also worked with brands such as UPS, HP, Microsoft and Ericsson.

The Pitch Creative Viewpoint: Seb Joseph

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Nokia’s new Amazing Everyday campaign puts branded social content at the centre of its bid to rival the smartphone dominance of Apple and Google.

Indeed, all images used in the brand’s TV, online and outdoor promotions are inspired by “real people doing real things” according to Inferno, Nokia’s lead creative agency.

It marks a dramatic change in tone of voice from the Finnish brand as it looks to leverage the fact that people still like Nokia by grounding creative in people and sharing.

Key to this is Nokia’s Amazing Everyday Productions, a gallery of videos and pictures crowdsourced from the brand’s Facebook page.

Al Young, executive creative director at Inferno, says the strategy was to mine “experiences from real people”. He adds/ “Of all the ideas that were developed, showing real people doing things that weren’t invented by an agency, but were things they had really done, seemed to resonate the most.

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“More and more advertising is becoming content and the difference between the two media is becoming less apparent all the time.”

Nokia has been guilty of trying to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to creative in the past. Its recent Made To Perform campaign didn’t resonate with consumers in North America, but with Amazing Everyday the brand has a concept able to transcend cultures if it can strike the right balance between people and product in its promotions

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