Until 2015, there was only one phone brand in consideration for me and that was Nokia. Now, I see android phones, with hardly any loyalty towards any particular brand. When I look back at this journey, I am surprised at how Nokia won & lost my loyalty.
I first used a mobile phone in the year 2003. Not surprisingly, that was my first Nokia, a 3310. It served all the purpose that a mobile phone had, which is call & message, and once in a while play the game of snake. As a rough user of the phone, the phone has fallen a gazillion times and broke off into smithereens. The beauty of that phone was that I could put it back into a single piece every time. This happened with every phone of Nokia that I owned, well almost. There was just one phone which broke in 13yrs and it was the first LUMIA that I bought.
Loyalty was formed as a result of consistently performing to the expectation over a long period of time. You are even forgiven as a brand when you slip up once in a while.
From 2003 to 2015, over a period of 13 years, I have used 7 Nokia phones, roughly 1.8 yrs per phone. Compare that to 4 which I used in the last 3 yrs, there in lies the difference. The last Nokia phone that I used was Lumia 930. Had it not been for the pending doom of Nokia at the hands of Windows, I would have continued my tryst with Nokia. Nokia Lumia was the first smartphone I ever used & I still believe has best interface that one can expect on a smartphone. If only they could get their ecosystem sorted, they would have survived and fought back, and this I write with love and pain. My journey from a Nokia to android platform had a lot more to do with PR and the countless whispers from friends & colleagues and much less to do with the advertising capability of other brands.
PR & Word of Mouth can play mind games in the long run, whereas advertising gives the impetus to buy
The last Nokia phone which I bought was the 930, about a month or so after the release. I did do the research on the phone though, having spent copious amount of time on Youtube looking at reviews done by Indian tech influencers to reviewers from abroad. I had already decided to buy Nokia 930 and the reviews & research where only done to ensure that I could have a good talking points with my peers on the pros & cons of the specs, if it comes to that. The reviews never mattered to me as a brand loyalist. You can see this even today in the form of Apple fan boys & girls who line up to buy the the phone of the very first day.
It is easier for a brand to sell to loyalist than to others. Brands just need to understand who these loyalists are. They may or may not be vocal about their loyalty.
When I finally moved out of Nokia in 2015, I ended up buying a OnePlus. Not much research went into this phone. It was a replacement to Nokia 930, which just froze up on me one fine day. I had gotten comfortable with the size of 930, the camera quality and wanted a replacement. One Plus, at that time fit everything for a replacement, including the price range. Maybe One Plus had tagged my phone and showed me their ads repeatedly, maybe it was just pure coincidence, or maybe it was the power of PR & the community which they created. The rationalist in me tells me that it is the combination of community & tagging my Windows phone which made me move into a OnePlus.
Product relevance, supported by a positive brand sentiment is important for the first purchase into the brand.
It was like the phone ran on adrenaline from the day I bought it to the day it stopped working, which was 12 months later. When you move from a Nokia brand to something new, the expectation is for the phone to match Nokia in the longevity. I had paid almost the same price for the phone as that of Lumia 930, and got a product that wouldnt run for a year. That’s when I decided never to buy an expensive android phone
The first experience with a new brand or ecosystem is important when a brand loyalist moves over to this side. It’s exactly like the first kiss after a 10year old relationship. The expectation is sky high
It’s been almost 4 years since I moved to the android world. Thanks to the first experience in the android side, I still haven’t bought a phone worth more than 14k. My hypothesis was proved right multiple times. I moved to Moto World after One Plus. It simply fit the budget.
Since then I have used a friend’s borrowed phone of LG, Moto G4, and currently on Moto G5 S Plus, 3 phones in less that 3 years. The only phone which is able to try & match the expectation though is the Moto G5 S Plus. I have been using it for 15 months now, it is sturdy & can be used by someone like me who has butter fingers. It’s fallen a countless time, and while I except it to be broken into smithereens like the Nokia for me to fix it back, it hasn’t had a shattered glass yet. The software has become slower over the years, but still hasn’t decided to go on a strike yet. Maybe, just maybe I will buy another Moto when this one fails in another 4-5 months.
It literally takes longevity from a brand’s end to create loyalty.
Authored by Rahul Vengalil – Founder & Chief Executive Officer – Whatclicks