Motorola Moves to Make Its Marketing More About Users

CMO Discusses New Strategy That Puts Consumers Ahead of 'Form Factors'

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Motorola is shifting its marketing strategy away from its mobile devices such as the Razr or Pebl to one more squarely focused on the consumer.
Motorola CEO Ed Zander at a presentation in New York yesterday
Motorola CEO Ed Zander at a presentation in New York yesterday Credit: Robin Weiner

Casey Keller, in one of his first interviews since being named chief marketing officer last October, said Motorola believes the mobile-phone market has evolved into one where consumers have higher expectations about their products, whether they are talking, listening to music, taking pictures or surfing the web.

Change in approach
"This is a change in our marketing and branding approach and ultimately in our portfolio-development approach," Mr. Keller said. "We're not just about form factors, colors, designs," he said. "We are moving toward what we would call 'experiences' -- how are people behaving with our products, what do we expect our products to do for them? What experiences are we delivering to them?"

For example, he said some consumers are more interested in listening to music on their mobile devices and less interested in using it for calls. So the Rokr line will be developed into a Rokr franchise of products that includes a Rokr-branded stereo Bluetooth headset and other accessories in addition to the mobile device. He expects the franchise to grow over time. Motorola also announced an agreement with Napster to allow for simplified music loading on its phones.

For the multimedia-hungry, social-media-addicted consumer, Motorola next month launches the Moto Z8 in Europe and Asia. The Z8 has mobile TV, music and extensive movie-playing capabilities. It will be sold with a free in-box full-length film, "The Bourne Identity," pre-loaded on a memory card.

Mr. Keller said that while Motorola will develop the Razr, Rokr and other sub-brands, it will continue to support its Motorola umbrella brand and its "Hello Moto" tagline.

Unraveling previous marketing model
Although he declined to detail what he called "tactical" marketing in connection with the new strategy, Mr. Keller also is unraveling the marketing model established by his predecessor, the late Geoffrey Frost. Under Mr. Frost, Motorola had a number of far-flung agencies working for it on assignments, from 180 Amsterdam to Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco. Eventually, Mr. Frost named Omnicom Group, through the holding company's agency BBDO, as a coordinator of the relationship.

Now, however, Mr. Keller has returned to a more traditional agency relationship with "more focus" and "more longer-term partners -- two to three agencies on a worldwide base who understand us." WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather is handling Motorola mobile devices in Asia and Latin America, while BBDO continues as agency for business-to-business products. Mr. Keller also has developed ties with Cutwater, the new Omnicom start-up headed by Chuck McBride. Cutwater will handle core global work out of the U.S. as well as North American efforts, Mr. Keller said, although he has not officially named Cutwater as Motorola's agency of record.

Motorola spent $42 million in measured media in 2006, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

Cutwater is slated to handle the launch of the Razr 2, Motorola's new flagship phone, thinner by two millimeters than previous Razr models. It also is built to be stronger and less vulnerable to breaking, and to provide better sound quality along with web browsing more akin to a PC.

From Navy officer to CMO
Prior to his move to Motorola, Mr. Keller, a former Navy officer who was on the staff of the deputy of chief of naval operations for surface warfare in the Pentagon, worked at Procter & Gamble Co. on Pringles and Duncan Hines, among other brands. Most recently, he was chairman-CEO of Heinz Italy, and was chief growth officer for H.J. Heinz.

Mr. Keller was interviewed following a presentation in New York that was led by Motorola CEO Ed Zander, who, fresh from fending off Carl Icahn's attempt to gain a seat on the company board, called on celebrities such as Nascar driver Danica Patrick, pop-music artist Fergie, Olympic snowboarder Shaun White and soccer idol David Beckman to show off the company's new gee-whiz gadgetry.

"With this exciting product lineup, Motorola is once again redefining the cellphone for the world's evolving mobile community," Mr. Zander said.

Perhaps. Just a few short months ago, Motorola had a 20% share of the global handset market compared to Nokia's 36%, according to Strategy Analytics, and Nokia has announced it expects its share to rise in the second quarter. Meanwhile, Motorola's share in the first quarter slipped to 17.5%. Competitors such as Samsung are also gaining ground; its share climbed from 10.8% to 13.8%, Strategy Analytics said. And technology's current rock star, Apple's Steve Jobs, is about to unleash his iPhone on the market.
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