Smart-phone Market: Brand Wars and the Show Stealers !!

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smartphone-war-iphone-optimusg-lumia920-galaxys3No wonder! Brand decision while buying a smart-phone has perpetually remained a subject matter of conflict and dissonance amongst customers for quite a long time now. One finds every other company launching a new smart-phone especially in the 5-inch genre in a desperate need to gain the consumer’s attention. The smart-phone market is on a rage and an evidence to it we have seen in our previous article Android On Rise, Apple on Decline .In an act of peeving up their sleeves, all of these leading organizations are going head over heels to tease, please and ease the customer’s life!

Core competencies and competitive advantages have long known to keep the top honchos under constant pressure to carve out devices better than the best for their customer’s keeping the best businesses performing at their best levels. Gone are the days when Nokia used to create new market segments and carve out new markets through its widest array of offerings in terms of a rich product portfolio. Currently we have too many players vouching for basically the same target audience!

One ponders, in this age of marketing where neuroscience and behavioral research are having heavy impacts on influencing the buy decisions, where do we really start from?

The Lavidge Steiner Model elaborates 7 stages that a consumer passes through before making a decision; namely: Awareness, Knowledge, Liking, Preference, Conviction, Purchase.

On comparing the average buyer’s purchase stages, it is interesting to note that most of the brand fanatics, especially taking the example of Apple’s loyalists, they do not even think of the first 5 stages! They just rush and upgrade whenever there’s a fresh model hitting the stands.
At the same time, we have the budget and value conscious user looking for high-end specs in a device who would think umpteenth number of times before making that buy or not to buy decision. For example; I had a friend who exclaimed- “Rs 50,000 on a phone! Absurd! Waste! Invest it in a secured bond, debenture, or deposit, and earn 4500 to 6500 on it per annum (or even monthly) depending on your risk profile!”

However, regardless of what the customer’s style may be- value/image, the war is only getting hotter! A couple of months back our very homegrown Micromax, manufacturing a whole new breed of budget devices has surprised Indian audiences by challenging the Samsung behemoth and taking the competition to a whole new level! No doubt they pose a serious threat to the highly priced premium devices offered by the tech-giants! LG played it safe with the Nexus 5, partnering with Google and its unique designing with an over-sized rear camera disc and vertically stamped Nexus branding. To our utter surprise, even apple came up with their lower priced plastic covered models! Ultimately heavy competition could compel the world’s leading manufacturers to go for a toss by converting their marketing strategies from market skimming to market penetration.

Now, without delving further into who emerged as a winner and who did not, we observe, brand loyalty is very important to any manufacturer but is extremely important in the smart-phone market due to the quick replacement cycles. So, one wonders, is there truly a war to be waged? Certainly not! Smart-phones are here to stay! And all manufacturers are enjoying success. Someone quoted- “Smart-phones and tablets have become the “Helen of Troy” in the tech world”.Watch out this video which describes the crucial situation in a lighter mood.

Thus, there could really be no success that is final and no failure that is fatal. Consumers today cannot be wooed just by quality, branding, value or function. There is a whole new era emerging in the market now, the era of innovative competition followed by immediate communication!

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Punyatoya Panigrahi

Cheerful,effervescent and ebullient!! Formerly employed with TCS and currently pursuing PGDM in HR and Marketing at International Management Institute, Bhubaneswar. She loves travelling, freelance writing, anchoring and nature tracking.

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