After two years of a global pandemic, many of us are restless to get out and embrace the world again. For mobile brand Motorola, that thrust of upward and outward momentum is palpable. Their recently-released brand platform, ‘The Power to Empower’ sees the business stake a claim as the humane and inclusive name in the smartphone pantheon. The new position follows a campaign launched last year that profiles so-called ‘risers’, inspiring people who are having a positive impact on their communities. Accessibility and affordability are at the heart of the brand’s strategy.
The platform is the first new big positioning exercise since #differentisbetter five years ago. Back then, the team were keen to transition from the nostalgic view of Motorola fostered among an audience that had grown up with Motorola’s pre-smartphone era flip phones and quirky ‘Hello Moto’ slogan, to a future-facing image for the brand that emphasised its pioneering, challenging nature. Since then, Motorola has been on an extensive soul-searching journey in order to distil its purpose.
As Motorola gears up for a busy 2022 James Atkins, Europe marketing director at Motorola chats to LBB’s Laura Swinton about what it all means for the brand.
LBB> How long has this new brand platform been in development and what was the catalyst for it?
James> Power to Empower is our new brand platform which aims to showcase how everyday people are feeling empowered by technology. The campaign is the result of a multi-year process to define what Motorola stands for as a brand and is being woven into everything we do at Motorola.
At Motorola, we have always had a consumer-centric approach to innovation, and Power to Empower is the embodiment of how we’re seeking to foster a closer and more meaningful relationships with our consumers.
Last year we launched our “risers” concept as part of the Moto G family launch to celebrate individuals who are using technology to do good, which was a starting point leading into the new brand platform.
Power to Empower puts a name to the perspective we have always had, giving us an opportunity to create an emotional space where we can engage with our consumers in new and creative ways.
LBB> Who would you say are the brand's target market and what are the key insights about them that helped to inspire this new platform?
James> Our target market are Zennials, a crossover between Millennials and Gen Z, who have a change maker attitude, they are determined to improve the world they live in, with technology as their ally. They are tech savvy, nostalgic, entrepreneurial, sceptical, socially, and emotionally intelligent, and eco-conscious.
After announcing our “risers” last, we wanted to go further. So, we’ve given them a bigger platform to share their passions to support the positive impact our protagonists are having on their communities, and inspiring others to do the same.
For example, the campaign features a story about a deaf dancer from Taiwan who uses technology to learn and dance with people from across the country. Born to dance, Lin Chang Lan is a 34-year-old contemporary dancer from Taiwan. To Lin, her hearing impairment is not a challenge, it has taught her how far her senses can take her. By feeling the vibrations of the music Lin has made a name for herself as a dancer in her home country and how we’re giving her a global platform.
LBB> Looking at the broader market and competition out there in the landscape, how is Motorola seeking to stand out and distinguish itself?
James> At Motorola, we want to be generators of positive change and as such we’ve always held a unique spot in the mobile industry, from the very first call on a cell phone to the world’s first foldable screen smartphone and the first 5G enabled call.
We continue to evolve and push the boundaries of what is possible on a smartphone and bring technology that matters to our users. We believe Power to Empower rightfully places an emphasis on human empathy and connection in technology, which is unique within our industry.
LBB> Accessibility and affordability seem to be a big part of the messaging here - from a strategic point of view, why was that important?
James> Meaningful innovation is at the core of our brand; we are committed to delivering smarter technology for all. You can see this through our 5G leadership, we’ve taken this premium feature and made it available to everyone.
It’s this consumer-centric, inclusive approach that motivated Motorola to create the Moto G franchise in 2013. These mid-tier smartphones revolutionised the industry by delivering incredible, fully featured mobile experiences at affordable prices.
A big part of our success comes from prioritising the key experiences and features that smartphone users tell us are important. More and more consumers expect new features and innovations, and this challenge motivates us to continue delivering products with features that matter most, but at an accessible price point.
LBB> How do you hope 'Power to Empower' progresses the brand?
James> Our main goal is to inspire people, showing everyone how Motorola can empower them to achieve their best, creating a meaningful, emotional connection to our consumers.
We want to shine a light on how the technology at the centre of our lives can create positive, lasting change and create a more inclusive and connected society for all.
One of our main goals is to remain authentic, honest, and back our words with action.
LBB> It's been five years since the last Motorola brand platform - can you tell me about what that platform was and how the market has changed since then?
James> The last Motorola brand platform #differentisbetter was the moment our brand past met the future. This encompassed modernising our iconic batwing, bringing back Hello Moto and a shift in brand identity to be unexpected, lively, and bold with a disruptive visual identity. #differentisbetter brought a ‘more is more’ challenger mindset to Motorola and provided the platform for us to be comfortable with taking risks.
Year after year, we continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the smartphone industry to empower people.
Human connection took on a whole new meaning after 2020, as have our consumers' relationships with technology and brands, so we wanted to showcase the good it has done and empower others in the process.
We do our homework, history shows what we did in foldable, what we did in 5G, and being the first to bring 108-megapixel cameras. That said, past success in this industry doesn’t guarantee the future and we are still going to work hard to continue to deliver on these.
LBB> I think Motorola is a brand that older millennials in particular will have a certain fondness and nostalgia for - for many the Razr was their first ever phone - is it important from a marketing perspective to tap into that?
James> Brand affinity is a value that Motorola feels is important to tap into, especially given the 90 (plus) year legacy we hold in the mobile industry. However, our marketing strategy doesn’t rely on nostalgia alone as it is important for us to look ahead and continuously evolve innovation in response to our consumer’s needs. We take great care in designing and engineering innovative products that create mobile connections for millions of consumers around the world and approach innovation with an inclusive mindset, representing the incredible diversity of our consumer.
We have built a reputation as an industry leader and trailblazer such as creating the mid-tier smartphone market. And, importantly, we are trusted to solve customer pain points like future proofing our devices and delivering the newest technology like 5G at an accessible price point. Such is our commitment to bringing meaningful innovation to consumers' lives, from the Razr days until present, and this is the foundation of this platform.
LBB> How did you approach the challenge of making a platform that would resonate on a global level while connecting at a local level?
James> Motorola selected 12 stories that showcased different people from around the world to be part of the second phase of the "Power to Empower" campaign focused around "Tech With Heart." Choosing a wide breadth of empowering stories to create our Tech With Heart series was crucial in the platform resonating globally as well as engaging consumers on a local level. We developed 12 authentic stories from real Motorola users on how technology empowers them to pursue their passions, use their voices and achieve their goals. With these stories, we aimed to reassure people that technology is for everyone and that when applied well, it can empower both you and your communities to achieve your greatest potential.
With the help of The Masses and the direction of Juan Amusategui, these stories were narrated by people of different countries (Argentina, Chile, France, Colombia, UK, US, Taiwán, India and Hong Kong), realities, languages, races, and cultures. Bringing this to life required a truly global collaboration - interacting with people from 18 nationalities, creating more than 20 Terabytes of data, and working across 21 countries.
LBB> Who were your creative partners on this and what did they bring - or was much of this developed in-house?
James> We developed this brand platform along with agencies, WTF?, Magma and The Masses who worked with us to develop the platform, source the stories and the assets.
LBB> The creative really personalises and humanises the purpose with individual stories - how did you find all of these real stories and why was it important to feature real people rather than fictionalised stories?
James> Over 300 Motorola users shared videos explaining how their phone empowered them to do what they wanted to do, from simply helping them follow a passion or helping them artistically or professionally. Out of all the videos, Motorola selected 12 stories that showcased different people, locations, and narratives.
Our goal is to feature as many real consumers and stories as possible through our marketing. We want to authentically represent the wide variety of passionate people who inspire our products, which will bring new and diverse faces to our campaigns.
We brought together an incredible group of people for this campaign, who are located everywhere from Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Madrid, Mumbai, and much more. Each of them shared stories of how they've been empowered through their phone to pursue their dreams, connect with people, and create positive changes.
LBB> I'm aware that as the platform rolls out, we'll see more stories - so what should we look out for from the brand in 2022?
James> Power to Empower is woven into everything we do at Motorola, and that will be apparent moving forward. That means you’ll see a new tone of voice and more inclusive visuals across our product launches, corporate programmes, and more including some exciting upcoming activations - watch this space.