Coming to this story a little late, but I have weighed in on this subject before – and while some think emotions have no place in business software or cellphones – they are just wrong.
Even though Motorola didn’t know it, the RAZR was a huge hit because it connected with customers on an emotional level. The RAZR was Cool. People loved the RAZR and many still do. Unfortunately for MOTO the meaning of cool in cellphones has moved on. Cool used to be about form factor, now it’s about what the phone lets me do. The iPhone now owns “Cool” in cellphones. Just look at market share.
Emotions matter in cellphones. One of my friends put it best when trying to explain to me his never ending quest for the latest, greatest cellphone. “It isn’t just a cell phone, it’s all my hopes, dreams and aspirations riding around in my pocket.” And he wasn’t kidding. When I started to think about it that way, it all makes sense.
I have sat in a room full of cellphone engineers and listened to them tell me all the reasons why the iPhone will flop. How none of the technology in the iPhone is anything new. If only consumers were smart enough to figure that out – then they wouldn’t be duped into buying them. Guess they weren’t smart enough.
Interesting tidbit about Nokia focus group testing of cellphones:
“Participants can call a toll-free number to share their emotions about the phone they are testing.”
Don’t get me started on this one – but how far removed from observation of a natural emotion. (Get recruited, join the focus group, call the 800 number, punch in your code, express your emotion, thankyou.)
Money quote from the article? This one from a Motorola executive:
“The world has changed,” said Jeremy Dale, who is in charge of marketing for mobile devices at Motorola, where fortunes tumbled with the decline of its once popular Razr. “There is more relevance in what other consumers say than what the company is saying.”
“The strongest marketing tool is the first 20,000 people who buy the device,” Mr. Dale of Motorola said. “If they like it, they will tell their friends.”
He hits the nail on the head. In cellphones, the online conversation is what matters most. Within days of launch the mavens over at Howard Forums will have torn your new phone apart and passed judgment. If they deem it “not good” then all the marketing in the world won’t make It a hit. In today’s world, consumers are talking to each other – and trust each other – when making purchase decisions. Word of mouth – online or off – is much more trustworthy than marketing.
The good news? Since much of the conversation about cellphones is happening online, we can use it for research purposes. In a recent cellphone project, we had 6.0 MM messages from consumers in the US and 10 MM messages from consumers in China. That represents a sample of 12 months online conversation about cellphones. Using our (MotiveQuest) advanced tools and strategists we can help our clients understand consumers’ underlying motivations and drivers as well as category dynamics.
This is a powerful way to bring the voice of the consumer into the innovation process. And beats focus groups on most dimensions.