Can mobile brands recreate the exclusive feel of Apple's products? The Marketing Society Forum:

Nokia hopes to mimic Apple's iPhone network-exclusive launch strategy for the Windows 8 phone.


The sense of exclusivity that Apple's iPhone achieved had little to do with marketing or distribution, and everything to do with the product. The iPhone redefined the category, instantly making other handsets look dated.

It's a tall order for any other mobile brand to do the same, and history suggests that such leaps are more likely to come from outside the sector, rather than from existing players.

If Nokia embraced Google's fast-growing Android operating system, it might have a fighting chance. However, announcing a partnership with Microsoft's Windows 8 is unlikely to have network operators queuing up to sign exclusive distribution deals.


Apple's actual share of the overall handset market is relatively modest, but perception of its share is far greater, because it does such a brilliant job of creating desirability and exclusivity.

It boils down, as ever, to the six Ps of marketing. Other mobile brands need to do as good a job as Apple on differentiating prospect, product, price and packaging. Restricting placement might be effective, assuming a significant product advantage and a price premium.

This leaves promotion; a fabulous TV campaign has transformed the fortunes of countless brands in similar sectors.


This looks a smart strategy, as controlling the retail experience is critical. Apple has that already, and Samsung and Microsoft are working toward it. Incentivising key partners should help products gain traction.

However, Apple always has the hottest products - customers desperate to get hold of the iPhone and iPad were prepared to switch networks.

New smartphones are now 'me-too', mass-market products that live or die by how good they are, and Windows phones haven't yet demonstrated the credibility or desirability of their iPhone or Galaxy rivals.


Nokia won't do it, though. Apple's success comes from decades of delighted customers benefiting from focused product development and a design heritage.

Nokia will need to abandon its 'all things to all people' range of handsets and be consistently ruthless in its product design. It also needs to innovate to build up a fanbase to achieve the same level of anticipation that exists for the launch of Apple products.

It's too much to ask for a device that isn't differentiated enough.


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