India: What Nokia needs to learn from Micromax

Nokia is staging a comeback in India. It is peppering Indian consumers with advertisements and is trying desperately to occupy their mind space. Nokia has unleashed new phones which are targeting the low-end of the market and the high-end of the market. Its Asha series phone are entry level dual SIM phones and its Lumia phones are high-end smartphones powered by the Windows Phone 7.5 operating system.

How is Nokia gaining market share? Last week a group of people danced to various tunes in the famous malls of Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Delhi. This concept is called Flash Mobs and Nokia is using it to spreading awareness about its Nokia Lumia series of phones. Not just flash mobs, Nokia is spending some serious money on print advertisements too.

India Nokia

Pic: AP.

India still reads newspapers and an advertisement in the paper is the best way to reach the Indian consumer. As for Flash Mobs, well, that’s something new and I like the idea. None of this has crossed the crazy line. Nokia did one more thing. It plans to paint a Jet Airways flight in Nokia Lumia colors. There will be cars, taxis and buses which will be painted in Lumia colors.

Painting an airplane for launching a new phone is the craziest idea I have ever heard. It is something new and most importantly it’s expensive. Should it be this way? Advertising costs money but it doesn’t have to be this way. The main objective of advertising is getting people to talk about the product. Micromax has done that incredibly well through its innovative ads.

I don’t see Micromax colors on a bus, taxi or an aircraft. What I see is brains. With Micromax, either the product itself is innovative, like its Bluetooth dockable Van Gogh mobile, or the advertisement that shows the product is innovative, like almost all Micromax ads. On the contrary Nokia is stuck with ‘traditional’ advertising.

Nokia Lumia 710 has changeable back panels which come in various colors. Nokia hasn’t done anything to accentuate that. Micromax had a phone with changeable back panels and it used a sly advertisement to get people’s attention.

Most recently Micromax launched an Android phone called as Micromax Superfone Lite A75. If we ignore the crazy name, Micromax has got everyone talking about that phone with an ad which was just on their website. They positioned the A75 as iPhone 4S which reads as “I (can afford this) Phone 4 sure”. That got the blogosphere buzzing and Micromax immediately got the desired results.

By all means Nokia’s Lumia series and the Asha series will do well in India. Nokia still commands a brand value and is synonymous with quality in India. It’s just that Nokia’s marketing has strong shades of desperation.

Nokia needs to poach someone from Micromax.