Nokia marketing shifts focus further towards Microsoft services

Marketing for Nokia phones is shifting further towards advertising Microsoft services rather than its own hardware as the former company continues with its integration into the latter a year on from the announcement of the acquisition.

Lumia 830
The Lumia 830 may still feature the Nokia logo, but marketing for the device will be Microsoft focused.

The upcoming advertising campaign from Microsoft Devices’ new “affordable flagship” smartphone unveiled at the IFA technology trade show in Berlin today (4 September), the Lumia 830, will centre on Microsoft’s personal assistant software Cortana – its version of Apple’s Siri and Google Now.

From October Cortana will act as the “hero” Windows Phone experience to market the Lumia portfolio across TV, print, outdoor, digital and in-store. The advertising will promote the “Hey Cortana” voice-activated update which will be available on all Lumia phones later in the year.

“Say hello to your own personal assistant” is the working strapline for the push.

As with the current Microsoft Devices campaign for the Lumia 930 smartphone, the advertising and device itself does feature the Nokia logo, but the focus is on promoting the Windows Phone experience.

Winning the hearts of “inspired doers”

The new Lumia campaign is aimed at “inspired doers” – resourceful and optimistic customers who want to get things done – with the communications “celebrating the thrill of turning inspiration into reality”, according to James Guion, Microsoft Devices’ head of product marketing for the UK and Ireland.

Both Apple and Google’s current advertising campaigns both already feature their respective personal assistant software, but Guion told Marketing Week Cortana has a point of differentiation that will stand out among consumers.

Speaking to Marketing Week at the company’s London headquarters Guion said: “There’s a perception you can interact with your phone using voice to do things like tell joke, do search and do some of the stuff that gets you from A to B. But we really want to hone in on how Cortana offers you your own personal experience – it learns who my wife or my brother or my mum is so I can set up personal reminders [to get in touch with them]. The others [Siri and Google Now] can’t do that.”

The ultimate aim of the marketing campaign is to grow Windows Phone’s market share in the UK, as it continues to bid to challenge rivals Apple and Google. Windows Phone had a 9.9 per cent share of smartphone sales in Great Britain in the three months to July 2014, according to Kantar Worldpanel, behind iOS (29.4 per cent) and Android’s 57 per cent share.

Guion also hopes the marketing activity will lead to consumers understanding that Lumia devices offer a personal assistant that can help them day to day as the brand looks to stand out amongst the myriad of phones launched by competitors this month at IFA and the forthcoming iPhone announcement next week.

It is also hoped the price point of the new phone – €330 before tax and subsidies (a UK price is to be confirmed) – will help the Lumia 830 appeal to consumers.

Speaking at the launch event at IFA Chris Weber, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of mobile device sales, described the Lumia 830 as the “first affordable flagship”.

He added: “[Microsoft will] challenge Apple and Samsung and expose the premium they are charging their consumers for smartphone experiences that’s clearly inferior to Lumia.

“We are bringing flagship experience to more affordable price points. Apple can’t say that, Samsung can’t say that. We believe innovation is for everyone no matter the price point.”

Separately Microsoft’s devices business also used its presentation to launch two new mid-range Lumia smartphones – the 735 and 730 dual SIM – and an NFC tag to enable users to share what is on their Lumia screen with bigger devices such as TVs and a NFC-enabled “smart” wireless charging pad.

Microsoft completed its £4.5bn acquisition of Nokia in April this year. In the same month Nokia’s former CEO Stephen Elop, now vice president of Microsoft’s mobile devices group, confirmed the Nokia brand will be phased out from future smartphones and marketing. 

Microsoft reported a 7 per cent drop in profits in the three months to 30 June as it was impacted by losses made by the Nokia devices division, underlining the company’s earlier announcement to make 12,500 job cuts in the division as the company seeks “strategic alignment” between the two businesses. 

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