Recently someone described me on Twitter as ‘pro-Nokia’. Like you’d label someone ‘right-wing’ or ‘left-wing’. I can’t find the tweet but it really stuck with me. I am a fundamental fan of the company and I very much respect a lot of the talented people who work there. But I think a better label for me would be ‘Frustrated-Pro-Nokia’, or something like that.
I have been debating with other Nokia fans, across the months, about Nokia’s ridiculous policy of standing in front of the mobile crowd and letting folk carve out chunks of flesh without doing anything. Or releasing a fuddy-duddy press release in response. Or worse, suing Apple. It’s a bit late in the day for that.
The frustrating stand-and-stare approach is causing the company untold amounts of reputation damage. It is almost comical to watch — so much so that I’m writing this post for documentary purposes, just so that it will look good as a screenshot in my next presentation that I give to the financiers and analysts chaps in about 6-12 months.
The company needs to get in the game. They need to let their PR and marketing people off the chain. The company has expertise and capabilities in spades. It’s got super-effective people, ready to go to bat for the company, ready to take the gloves off, ready to jump in and aggressively defend the company.
Right now, there’s no defence needed.
This is the shocking bit.
The company often isn’t even considered. This is what I find most shocking. Would you like some proof? Well then, here we go.
The name Mary Meeker will, I’m sure, ring a bell. She works for Morgan Stanley in their Technology Research department and has a track record of producing interesting, thought-provoking perspective. Andy on the MoMoEdinburgh news group posted this link to the biennial Morgan Stanley Research Presentation on Internet Trends, published this week.
A few slides into the deck, I noticed this one:
“Mobile Internet Ramping Faster Than Desktop Internet Did – Apple Leading Charge”
The slide shows the growth of iPhone and iTouch clearly ‘ramping faster’ than Desktop Internet, along side AOL, NTT docomo and so on.
I fully appreciate that the graph is meant to illustrate mobile internet and that the author has simply selected iPhone/iTouch to make their point.
But the assumption that ‘proper’ mobile internet means Apple is … well, it’s reflecting of the prevailing wisdom. Further, it demonstrates that when people think Nokia, they think rubbish-phone, especially in North America.
And that’s a problem when you’ve got the online/mainstream media thinking this.
It’s an even bigger problem when you’ve got serious analysts working on that basis too.
Nokia has arguably got more internet connected mobile-internet capable devices on the market that anyone else, period. Who’s reminding Mary? Who’s reminding the rest of the marketplace, the media, the consumers, the tech influencers?
The company isn’t even front of mind. It’s worse than an also-ran.
This isn’t just down to the company’s products. It’s easy to forget that millions of people really do enjoy using their Nokia phones — and that although they don’t have the razzmatazz of Apple or the Android crowd, their devices invariably work reliably. And there’s been a ton of work to bring the company into the next generation. Qt, the open-sourcing of Symbian, the free navigation platform, the Ovi Store innovations — they’re working hard. The trouble is, waiting ’til next year to really get stuck into the game will be far, far too late.
Their PR and marketing teams should be out canvassing support, excitement, delight — continually. And they should be coming down like a ton of bricks on people making inaccurate or misleading statements about the marketplace (by forgetting or overlooking Nokia). The company doesn’t need to play the same game as Apple. It just needs to step up to the plate and actually get stuck in.
Note to self: Remember to take a screenshot of this post for posterity in the months to come.
If you’re interested in flicking through Mary’s presentation, I’ve embedded it below. (Nokia does feature, but only to act as the shoulders for Apple to stand upon).
[Well, I did embed it, but the original file at slideshare has been removed]