The “As recommended by…” multi-media campaign will feature real HTC customers advocating its phones and demonstrating how they are relevant to their various jobs and interests.
James Atkins, HTC’s UK and Ireland marketing director, told Marketing Week that the brand is moving away from communicating about the “technical gubbins” and is instead talking about the experience of using its devices.
He adds: “As a company borne out of engineers, it is difficult not to talk about ‘quadcore’ and ‘megapixels’, but for us, how do you compete in a market when everyone is saying they’re faster, bigger and better?
“Really, those are just qualifying factors, so we are pushing the boundaries in our communications and biting our tongue when it comes to talking about specifications and instead focusing on those personal experiences.”
The marketing team in the UK is also looking to explore using more creative forms of marketing to encourage consumers to share their own HTC stories. Examples include installing a touchscreen unit in a cinema foyer for consumers to add their recommendations, which could then appear in the trailer of the film they are going to see minutes later.
Another example includes putting the theme of the first TV spot – skydiving – into a real-life setting by installing a wind tunnel in a central London location for consumers to trial.
Atkins says: “This isn’t just a product launch, this is about us saying we have amazing phones and advocates – the beauty of this campaign is going to be that it will be discussed for us, by consumers, so it will keep building momentum.”
He hopes the campaign will help increase brand preference and adds that the company “still [has] a job to do with [raising] brand awareness”.
Product-wise, the “new HTC” will be illustrated by rolling out fewer models but naming those phones after the family they belong to – such as “One”. This is a switch from its strategy to launch many different devices under different names, which was criticised by consumers and commentators for being too confusing.
HTC is the second most popular smartphone by market share in the UK, according to comScore. It has 18.5% of the sector, behind Apple with 26.4%.
Net profit at HTC fell 25% year-on-year to 11bn Taiwan dollars (£235m) in the three months to December. It has come under increasing pressure from rival handset makers adopting the Android operating system, such as Samsung, which overtook Apple as the world’s biggest-selling smartphone maker last year.
The creative and advertising for the “As recommended by…” campaign was handled by Mother, which won HTC’s global advertising business earlier this month. It launches on 4 April across TV, digital, PR, press and retail.