The initial launch and subsequent commotion of the Motorola Droid surprised the industry at large. Its strong awareness and reception from smartphone buyers suggests that the revived brand took a unique approach to establishing itself in a new market beyond the extensive marketing campaign.
MOBILE DEVICES AND PLATFORMS Examining This Season’s Dark Horse: How Motorola Used Its Perceived Weaknesses to Its Advantage with the Droid Lead Analyst Desirée Davis Contributing Analysts Michael Gartenberg Elaine B. Coleman, Ph.D. Kira Deutch Jason Lau An Interpret Syndicated Research Service subscription is $10,000 per year and includes twelve research reports and unlimited analyst inquiry. For subscription inquiries, email email@example.com or call (310) 255-0590. Reproduction by any method or unauthorized circulation is strictly prohibited. Interpret’s syndicated research reports are intended for the sole use of clients. All opinions and projections are based on Interpret’s judgment at the time of publication and are subject to change. Published November 2009. © 2009 Interpret, LLC Examining This Season’s Dark Horse: How Motorola Used Its Perceived Weaknesses to Its Advantage with the Droid Catalyst: The initial launch and subsequent commotion of the Motorola Droid surprised the industry at large. Its strong awareness and reception from smartphone buyers suggests that the revived brand took a unique approach to establishing itself in a new market beyond the extensive marketing campaign. Core Questions: 1) What key consumer preferences allowed the Droid to thrive within the Verizon customer base? 2) How did Motorola leverage conflicting perceptions of its brand to best position the Droid? 3) To what extent should vendors partner with carriers when planning the product portfolio? Interpret Insight: According to Interpret’s MobileTrax report, Motorola balanced its perceived advantages and detractions to effectively launch its signature handset, the Droid. The device appealed to a Verizon audience that cared less about an attractive phone (36%) and associated Motorola most prominently with practicality (34%) and simplicity (32%). “Attractiveness” carries different weight among the top four carriers’ subscribers. During the second quarter of 2009, the respective launches of the Palm Pre and Apple iPhone 3GS mesmerized both the mobile phone industry and the public at large. In particular, the Pre was the first phone to potentially rival the functionality and critical acclaim of the iPhone. With all the media attention and consumer interest, the Pre significantly heightened expectations. First, it firmly established that any phone hoping to rival the industry leader needed to bring an additional capability to the market that uniquely improved the user experience (with their “Deck of Cards” multi-tasking interface). Second, it quietly emphasized that the phone must have a striking design. Both smartphone handsets emphasized style and functionality, but there was particular focus on how the newest entrant (the Pre) was a highly polished, smooth and pocketable device. However, out of all the carriers, Verizon’s subscribers attributed the least amount of importance to having an “attractive- looking” phone. With Sprint and AT&T having already created exclusive partnerships with their more sophisticated handsets, it was Verizon’s choice to offer a phone of equal allure or reject the notion altogether. Leveraging a mobile brand’s perceived weaknesses and turning them into strengths. Motorola practically launched the handset market for Americans with its definitive RAZR brand, but among smartphone intenders it showed relatively low traction in key markers such as stylishness and power. Among Verizon smartphone intenders, Apple and RIM’s BlackBerry were rated the highest for giving off an impression of sophistication, power and style. In comparison, Motorola’s key strengths were its practic
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