Motorola Inc.

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Paul Galvin and his brother Joseph opened Galvin Manufacturing Corp. in 1928 to market the "battery eliminator," a product that allowed battery-operated radios to be powered by household current. Two years later, the company manufactured the first affordable radio for use in automobiles. The product was named "Motorola"—a combination of "motor" and "ola" (as in Victrola) to indicate a synthesis of music and motion

Building a reputation for quality around the brand name and developing targeted advertising programs were among Paul Galvin's first initiatives. The Galvin brothers traveled the country establishing and training a network of dealers to provide expert installations for customers. In 1934, they expanded the original dealer network to include hundreds of B.F. Goodrich stores and garages.

Early Motorola marketing was dealer-focused and included store displays, product brochures, uniforms and premiums in support of the auto radio brand. Beginning in 1932, the company offered co-op ad programs to promote the brand beside dealership ads in local newspapers. The company also supported dealer ad programs with an innovative national roadside sign campaign touting Motorola's "world famous car radio" and leading drivers to dealerships.

The original Motorola logo showed the word "Motorola" in an Art Deco-style script with the "T" crossed by a lightning bolt—a symbol frequently associated with radio waves. That logo became the core component in store displays, signage and print ads along with the term "Vita-tone," used to describe Motorola's sound quality.

Home radio expansion

In 1936, Galvin Manufacturing expanded into the home radio market, and with that move came a new emphasis on consumer print advertising and use of endorsements by celebrities, many of whom had become known to the American public through their presence on the radio.

Ads, from Albert Kircher Co., Chicago, featured small photos of particular radio models against a large picture of a famous star, declaring the model to be "My favorite personal radio." Early celebrity shots included actresses Betty Grable and Rita Hayworth, as well as bandleader Lawrence Welk.

The late 1930s and '40s saw a variety of Motorola print campaigns in popular magazines such as Collier's, Better Homes & Gardens and The Saturday Evening Post. At that time, the company moved its advertising to Gourfain-Cobb Advertising, Chicago.

In 1940, the company had net sales of $9.94 million, with net earnings of $471,476.

During World War II, Galvin Manufacturing ceased production of its entertainment lines to focus on two-way radios for the war effort. While consumers could not buy radios for their homes at the time, a print campaign positioned the company for the future by casting it as an ally in the war effort: "When Motorola Radio comes home from the war. . . " and "Motorola Radio Handie-Talkie coordinating our march to victory."

In 1947, the company changed its name to Motorola Inc., reflecting the success of its radios. At that time, Motorola focused on new technologies largely for the industrial marketer, such as two-way radio systems that were used primarily by police and fire departments. Motorola used aggressive marketing and advertising programs to establish its "Dispatcher Line" within the public safety and industrial markets, including print ads in industry journals and participation in trade shows and public safety conferences.

In 1955, Motorola developed a small radio receiver unit called a pager. Targeted advertising programs, in the form of short films depicting the uses and benefits of the product, pitched the device to hospital executives as a replacement for public address systems.

That same year, Motorola updated its logo, recasting the "Motorola" mark, in a more modern typeface alongside a stylized "M" chosen to signify strength. While the insignia has undergone a few minor changes since 1955 (a circle was added around the stylized "M" logo in 1967), it continued with few significant changes into the 21st century.

Re-entering the home market

Motorola re-entered the home electronics market in 1947 via its Golden View TV, the first TV set to cost less than $200. Early advertising for the set, which was composed of a seven-inch screen embedded in wood cabinetry, emphasized price and shared family experiences and proclaimed, "Now, everyone can afford this new entertainment for the entire family." In 1950, Motorola had net earnings of $12.81 million on net sales of $177.10 million

Promotional campaigns using outdoor boards and radio were built around America's increasing appetite for this new type of entertainment. Motorola also sponsored one of the first network TV programs. Broadcast on ABC, the hourlong weekly drama used the melody to "Happy Birthday" with the line "Motorola to you."

While the economy boomed in the 1950s, households began to acquire second and even third radios, as well as developing a greater demand for TVs.

In response, Motorola manufactured a wide variety of models. Print and early TV advertising for the effort, which ran from 1956 to 1959, depicted this variety (portables, different colors and combinations such as units that included radios and clocks or turntables) and emphasized consumer choice. Those spots, created by Leo Burnett Co., were known as the "More to Enjoy" campaign.

For Motorola, the 1950s also heralded a new focus on engineering. Corresponding business-to-business advertising was developed to reach manufacturers, and the emphasis on technical innovation that characterized those ads was likewise carried over into consumer advertising.

In 1959, the company introduced the "all transistor" shirt pocket radio. In 1960, Motorola has net earnings of $12.6 million on net sales of $299.0 million. Paul Galvin had died a year earlier; his son, Robert W. Galvin, was named chairman in 1964.

During the 1960s and '70s, the company increased its manufacturing operations, and its new marketing thrust became internationalization and opening up overseas markets. While major inroads were made, many foreign markets presented considerable hurdles.

In 1967, it introduced the Quasar color TV, the first all-transistor color unit. Print and TV spots created by Clinton E. Frank Inc., Chicago, focused on the new technology and featured pictures of the model's "works in a drawer" miniature circuitry. In 1969, Robert Galvin added the title CEO to that of chairman of Motorola, and astronaut Neil Armstrong's first words from the moon reached Earth via a Motorola radio transponder aboard the Apollo 11 lunar module.

In 1970, net sales for the company reached $796.42 million. Four years later, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. acquired Motorola's TV business, including the well-known Quasar trademark. Following that divestiture, Motorola refocused its efforts on semiconductor and wireless products and technologies rather than consumer products. In 1976, the company opened its new international headquarters in Schaumburg, a suburb of Chicago. In 1980, the company reached net sales of $3.1 billion and net earnings of $186.1 million.

In 1990, Robert W. Galvin stepped down as chairman, becoming instead chairman of the executive committee, and George M.C. Fisher added the chairman title to that of CEO. Gary L. Tooker was named president-chief operating officer. Net earnings for the company reached $499 million on net sales of $10.89 billion. Motorola also unveiled Iridium, which uses an array of satellites to enable global personal communications.

In 1993, William Weisz became chairman of the company, Mr. Tooker, vice chairman-CEO, and Christopher B. Galvin president-chief operating officer. Four years later, the executive office again changed, with Mr. Tooker named chairman, Christopher B. Galvin CEO and Robert L. Growney president-chief operating officer. In 1999, Mr. Tooker retired, and Mr. Galvin succeeded him as chairman-CEO.

Cutting-edge consumer products

In the 1990s, consumer markets for cutting-edge cellular and messaging products again became a complement to Motorola's more significant business-to-business sales. In 1990, cellular phones were a $2 billion business, representing 20% of Motorola's sales. Instrumental in this growth was a campaign aimed at educating consumers about cellular, "Making Cellular Work for You."

Motorola also returned to using celebrity spokespersons for commercial and print spots aimed at specific audiences. Professional golfer Lee Trevino was an early cell phone spokesman (1991), selected because of his appeal to golf-loving businessmen.

Motorola also sponsored America's Cup yacht racing teams (1991-95) and linked its name to the PGA Tour's Western Open (1994-98), Lance Armstrong and the U.S. Tour de France bicycle racing team (1991-96) and, beginning in 1998, the National Football League.

In 2001, in the midst of a faltering U.S. economy, Motorola trimmed its workforce and cut its global ad budget by more than 70%. In 2002, Motorola was ranked No. 2 among producers of wireless handsets, behind industry leader Nokia.

By 2004, Motorola, under former Nike marketing chief Geoffrey Fost, was starting to reap the benefits of its hip, youth-oriented "Hello Moto" campaign from agency WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather. Under new Motorola CEO Ed Zander, formerly chief of Sun Microsystems, Motorola planned the spin-off of its $4.8 billion semiconductor unit, with the planned name of Freescale Semiconductor.

Motorola also changed leadership, hiring Ed Zander, former Sun Microsystems president, as CEO.

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