IFA: the marketing round-up

Marketing Week picks out the key releases and marketing strategies announced at the annual Berlin-based consumer electronics show.

Moto 360
The Moto 360 smartwatch


Motorola used IFA to showcase the previously announced Moto 360, round-faced smartwatch. It also announced the quite unimaginatively named “new” Moto X – which comes with the MotoMaker service allowing users pick the colour and materials of their device – and the “new Moto G”.

Speaking at a London event to showcase the new products announced at IFA Motorola’s EMEA and APAC corporate vice president Magnus Ahlqvist said: “Choose choice is the common thread around all our new products. The mobile industry has not been all that good at providing people with the power to choose.”

But with so much choice on offer already in the mobile industry – a smorgasbord of new smartphones, tablets and wearables announced at IFA alone – it is debatable whether “choose choice” will be a strong enough marketing message to cut through with consumers.


The LG G Watch R
The LG G Watch R

LG showcased all its new products under the theme “innovation for a better life” as the company looked to position itself as a brand that delivers a “refined, smart user experience” across its entire portfolio of mobiles, TVs and appliances.

In a statement, LG’s executive vice president global sales and marketing officer Wayne Park, said of the positioning: “What consumers really desire is to live a better life without giving up the technology that more often than not makes our lives complex.

“People want technology in their homes and with them at all times, but the side effect of this desire is often more complexity. LG is prepared to show consumers our most advanced innovations in Berlin that were developed with the sole purpose to make people’s lives better and more convenient.”

LG’s stand-out IFA product was its G Watch R smartwatch. The device features a round face, challenging the Moto 360 and runs on Google’s Android Wear operating system – universal wearables software that underlines LG’s commitment to cut out complexity.


The Sony Xperia Z3
The Sony Xperia Z3.

Sony’s press conference was a homage to the word “wow” – its executives must have excitedly bellowed the word at least 10 times during the presentation.

Announcements included its new flagship smartphone – the Xperia Z3 – which can also be attached to a PlayStation 4 controller for remote play and updates to its Smartband and Smartwatch portfolio.

Sony continued its “One Sony” communications charge, as it set out on its stand to offer the “the greatest experiences” across mobile, sound and entertainment.


Samsung VR
Samsung Gear VR.

The message from Samsung at IFA this year was loud and clear: it wants to be seen as the leader in innovation – not just in sales.

The highlight from its keynote was the unveiling of the Samsung Gear VR headset, which is powered by the Facebook owned Oculus. It acts as an accessory to Samsung’s latest phablet-sized smartphone, the Galaxy Note 4.

Also hitting the headlines at IFA was the announcement of the Galaxy Note Edge, a smartphone with a curved screen which offers space for notifications, controls and even a ruler.

Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, said: “You have to admire Samsung’s relentless stream of new products, be it smartphones and tablets at all price tiers or the volley of smartwatches that have been released over the last 12 months. Its underlines the ever quickening pace of the mobile devices space and a competitive landscape that sees Samsung having to anticipate Apple’s every move while looking over its shoulder at the ever present threat from Chinese manufacturers.”


Huawei is often perceived as a budget smartphone maker, offering cheaper alternatives to the iPhone and Samsung smartphones – but at IFA the Chinese company looked to position itself as comparable to its high-end rivals.

The company announced a limited edition of is Ascend P7 phone with a sapphire glass display alongside a new phablet that will become the first Android device on the market with a fingerprint sensor – a feature on Apple’s iPhone 5S. In the press release for the Ascend G7 smartphone, Huawei consumer business group CEO Richard Yu said: “In a market flooded with mid-tier smartphones that have a plastic look and feel, Ascend G7 stands out with its beautifully crafted, elegant metallic design.”

The brand continues with its “Make it Possible” strapline.


Lumia 830
Nokia Lumia 830.

The artist formerly known as Nokia’s IFA showed the brand has come ever further under Microsoft’s fold.

The upcoming ad campaign from Microsoft Devices’ new “affordable flagship” smartphone the Lumia 830, will centre on Microsoft’s personal assistant software Cortana – its version of Apple’s Siri and Google Now – rather than honing in on hardware.

Microsoft says it hopes its new Lumia smartphones will win the hearts of “inspired doers” and grow Windows Phone’s market share – currently at just 9.9 per cent in Great Britain. 

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.


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