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(mobileYouth) Beyond the Pink Phone: Handset branding for females

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Graham Brown …

Graham Brown
http://www.mobileyouth.org

Published in: Technology, Business

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  • 1. Beyond  the  Pink  Phone:   Handset  Branding  for     Female  Mobile  Youth   ® MOBILEYOUTH youth marketing mobile culture since 2001 By Graham Brown mobileYouth http://www.mobileYouth.org      
  • 2. Handset  Branding  after  The  Pink  Phone  There  are  over  1  billion  female  mobile  owners  in  the  world  aged  under  30.  On  the  basis  of  this  data  alone,  we  could  assume  the  mobile  industry  "gets"  women.  Is  this  really  the  case?  In  this  article  I  look  at  the  current  roadblocks  to  progress  and  the  3  things  handset  brands  need  to  be  focusing  on  to  win  this  market.   img (c) Flickr Sophe89Back   in   September   2011,   we   introduced   the   “Pink   Phone   Syndrome”   in   our   ebook  “Influence:  A  Marketer’s  Guide”  The   first   mass   market   pink   phone   was   Motorola’s   V3.   In   the   UK   alone,   it   shifted  400,000  units  –  raising  the  bar  for  the  handsets  that  followed  suite.  But,  that  was  back  in  2007  and  the  market  has  moved  on  considerably  in  the  last  5  years.   Handset   manufacturers   now   have   to   go   deeper   but   many   are   still   falling   short  when  it  comes  to  the  lucrative  female  market.      
  • 3. Have  Creative  Agencies  Locked  Handset  Brands  in  a  70s  Timewarp?  Take   a   look   around   the   app   stores   and   you’d   be   forgiven   for   thinking   the   mobile  world  had  sprouted  a  parallel  Universe  that  was  somehow  stuck  in  the  70s.  In  this  world   of   Vinolay   and   polyester   shirts,   technologists   try   to   “engage”   young   women  with  calorie  counting  apps,  calming  form  factors  and,  you  got  it,  the  resurgent  pink  phone.  Handset   manufacturers   need   to   scrutinize   the   “thought   leadership”   provided   by  their   creative   agencies.   Ad   Agency   JWT’s   latest   piece   on   “Always   On   Women”  highlights  how  brands  like  Nokia  (JWT’s  client)  are  being  fed  insights  that  hold  them  captive   in   this   parallel   Universe   like   Jim   Carrey   in   a   70ʹ′s   version   of   “The   Truman  Show”.   The   white   paper   focuses   on   women   as   “family   chroniclers”,   that   their   key  drivers   are   camera   phones   to   take   pics   of   babies.   It   stops   short   of   recommending  Nokia  focus  on  cute  kittens.  Handset  Branding  for  the  Next  10  Years   Comparing  traditional  handset  marketing  to  females   (favored  by  creative  agencies)   with  marketing  with  females        
  • 4. Reality  Check:  What  Creatives  Say  About  Females  Isn’t  Important  Anymore  According  to  our  data,  62%  of  youth  buy  handsets  not  because  of  what  the  agency  says   but   because   of   what   their   friends   say.   Handsets   need   to   derive   their   insights  from  what  the  key  influencers  are  saying  not  what  creative  agencies  think  they  might  be  saying.  Developing   mobile   phones   for   women   can   be   fraught   with   error   because   most  handset   brands   are   focusing   on   the   wrong   things.   Here   are   the   3   things   handsets  have  been  consistently  getting  wrong  with  women  over  the  last  10  years,  or  as  we  call  it  “The  Pink  Phone  Syndrome”:  1)  Developing  phones  for  female  mobile  owners  2)  Focusing  on  content  (e.g.  pink,  curves,  calorie  apps,  baby  pics)  and  relying  on  the  creative  agency  to  sell  this  content  as  a  key  point  of  difference  3)  Targeting  all  females  rather  than  the  key  change  agents  who  influence  the  market  3  Things  Handset  Brands  Should  Focus  On:  So,  what  should  handsets  be  focusing  on?  Based   on   10   years   of   mobileYouth   research,   here   are   the   top   3   priorities   for   any  handset  brand  looking  to  capture  the  female  segment:  1)  Focus  on  what  you  do  not  what  you  say:  Women   aren’t   buying   the   phone,   they’re   buying   what   the   phone   does   for   them.  Most   women   don’t   want   pink   phones,   they   want   phones   that   deliver   great  experiences.   Although   JWT   would   tell   you   differently,   there   are   female   mobile  owners  interested  in  other  stuff  –  like  travel,  adventure,  PHP,  design  or  starting  their  own  business.  What  females  want  are  phones  that  help  them  belong,  help  them  be  significant  and  if  that’s  with  a  pink  phone,  then  so  be  it.  There  are  women  for  who  “women’s  issues”  aren’t  the  most  important  thing  in  the  world.  There  are  also  moms  who  want  to  have  a  life  outside  of  motherhood.  If   you   look   at   our   latest   SMART   index   research   data   you’ll   find   the   most   popular  models  are  Blackberry  (i.e.  “Dad’s  phone”)  and  the  iPhone.  Neither  pampers  to  the  female  market.  2)  Target  and  measure  the  key  change  agents  shaping  your  brand  story:  Customers  are  the  brand.  Handsets   need   to   identify   the   core   female   change   agents   that   shape   the   phone’s  context   –   the   influencers   who   control   the   62%.   In   the  mobileYouth   report   we  profile  the   role   of   the   Disruptive   Divas   and   how   they   act   as   the   critical   interface   between  
  • 5. phone   and   the   mass   market.   Divas   were   first   to   market   with   mobile   social  networking,   BBM   and   BBM   groups.   Divas   also   don’t   buy   pink   phones.   By   applying  tools  such  as  the  mobileYouth  MAP  (Measure  –  Articulate  –  Plan)  you  can  use  EMIs  (Earned  Media  Indexes)  to  identify  and  measure  your  existing  positions  of  strength  the  female  market.  3)  Immerse  marketing  and  research  within  their  daily  context  of  their  social  lives:  mobileYouth’s   MAP   tools   employ   ethnographic   techniques   to   help   young   female  mobile   owners   tell   their   story.   These   insights   help   brands   identify   the   key   sales  messages,  existing  lines  of  influence  and  also,  importantly,  behaviors  and  trends.  In  a  recent   study   in   the   USA   we   employed   mobileYouth   MAPs   that   helped   our   client  identify   emerging   video   chat   trends   being   led   by   female   teens.   A   clear   pen   profile   of  these  influential  users  helped  the  client  develop  a  clearer  picture  of  the  key  drivers,  messages   and   lifestyles   as   the   basis   for   marketing   and   product   development  rationale.    

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