Motorola banks on brand name to recapture market

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Motorola Mobility. InterAksyon file photo

MANILA, PHILIPPINES | Motorola is really back. Well sort of. Because in reality, the familiar brand, which is synonymous with radio communications and mobile phone technology, actually never went away. The company just had to realign their business strategies in this ever-changing tech landscape.

After the success of selling car radios in the 1930’s, Motorola popularized the use of wireless car radio phones and later moved into other consumer electronics products. Into the 80s, the company eventually expanded into cellular phones – which they invented by the way – coming up with iconic and best-selling models such as the Star-Tac and Razr.

Already a tech giant by the late 90s, several ups and downs hit the company, including missing out on the sudden success of smartphones introduced earlier by BlackBerry and later by Apple on the iPhone. By 2008, the company had to split in two: Motorola Mobility, which makes cell phone and cable set-top boxes for consumers, and Motorola Solutions, catering the enterprise business side and radio communications.

Google purchased Motorola Mobility in 2010 and introduced the Droid line-up of smartphones, only to pass the torch to Lenovo Mobile Business Group in 2014.

Today, Motorola Mobility under the Lenovo MBG said that the company is strongly committed on leveraging the Motorola brand and ecosystem by offering the best technology, design and user experience.

“That’s how we like to move forward; to anchor on the innovation of Motorola as a brand, said John Rojo, country manager, Lenovo Business Group Philippines, in an interview with InterAksyon. “The Philippines is an important market for Motorola. We are committed to growing the business in the country by increasing retail footprint and creating consumer engagement through experiential activities and communications that will set Motorola apart as a global iconic brand.”

Only recently, Motorola enhanced its portfolio in the Philippines by introducing three entry-level smartphones targeting the active lifestyle of first time smartphone users. The phones include: the Moto C, Moto C Plus and Moto E4 Plus.

“Today what we’re trying to address is to make sure we have a full-range (of mobile devices) and giving the value that customers deserve, whether it’s an entry-level, mid range smartphones,” said Rojo. “Our strategy really is introducing to the market Motorola’s innovativeness, not just from the premium, but the mid, or what we call ‘entry-premium’ category.”

It was only late 2016 that Lenovo MBG reintroduced the Motorola brand in the Philippines with the launch of the Moto Z series of smartphones. A premium smartphone that uniquely features modular technology or Mods, as Motorola would brand it.

Furthermore, Lenovo execs said the Moto Z 2 Play will also be launched in the Philippines anytime soon.

For his part, Augustin Becquet, executive director, general manager, ASEAN Lenovo Mobile Business Group, said: “A lot of people are still sticking to feature phone, because the main usage of phone is still its phone function (which is call and text) and they just want a good phone. So if on top they can get emails or additional features, they will take them. That’s why we give products with very strong software experience, very strong battery life.”

Becquet said that people will see a more strategic and holistic smartphone portfolio from Lenovo MBG bringing together the best technology, designs and user experiences. That they have adopted a “bold new industry challenger mentality”, and “beefing up marketing efforts” to strengthen their foothold in the industry, with the goal of being No. 3 in the global smartphone race.

Asked if the mobile phone market is already saturated, Becquet said: “In the market we see more and more people eager to switch to smartphone. There are a lot of local brands but quality-wise our feedback is that quality is just not there yet. We think we have a decent value proposition based on innovation, quality, and experience.”

Motorola Moto E4 Plus