Brandasy inspires Ufone Nokia Brand Alliance for N8

A couple of months after this article was published on brandasy recommending a strategic alliance between Ufone and Nokia, the proposed idea has been transformed into an exciting reality. The article had suggested that Ufone instead of offering just low-end mobiles by a relatively unknown brand like Huawei should instead join hands with a premium brand like Nokia and Samsung to offer their medium-tier models at attractive prices with of course, the service provider restricted to Ufone.

Ufone Nokia N8-banner

Ufone Nokia N8-banner

It seems that Ufone has paid heed to that advice by forging a brand alliance with Nokia, but it has gone one step further by introducing a high-end mobile – the Nokia N8- as the first outcome of this alliance. Brandasy had suggested starting slow with a safe bet like the XpressMusic 5230.

So, would the idea kick off? There’s no question that the idea is going to be a stellar success. However, starting off with a pricey toy like the Nokia N8 would require a lot more effort than would be needed otherwise.

So how can Ufone and Nokia make this work? Well, for starters, Nokia and Ufone would need to hold a couple of competitions just for the sake of dishing out several sets for free to the opinion leaders. Then instead of placing the same print ad announcing the joint venture with the picture of N8, they should create a series of print ads and web banners. Each individual ad would be dedicated to highlighting a single feature or benefit of the N8.

Both Nokia and Ufone have already covered some ground in this respect which is evident from the fact that blogs like Propakistani and Pak Reviews have already written about this deal, not to mention Herald Tribune which seems to be at the forefront of such news.

This is just the bare minimum that Nokia and Ufone needs to do. Free giveaways to select bloggers for word of mouth in the blogosphere, positive videos on Youtube, preferably posted by the consumer, demonstrating the power and possibilities of the N8, these are just some of the tactics these two giants will need to follow.

So, are there any flaws to this deal? About the brand alliance, only time will tell, but the Nokia N8 campaign may not turn out to be as successful as expected. The reason is the hefty price tag. Although the blogosphere is emanating with the news that Ufone is launching the N8 at 25% discount exclusively for the Pakistani clientele, the price still comes out to be a whopping Rs.41,800. Most of the die-hard fans of smartphones have the pocket for anything between the range of Rs.20,000 and Rs.35,000. Anything above that, and they’re gonna wait till the price drops.

And therein lies Ufone’s conundrum. They have the exclusive rights to sell the N8 for only a month. After that it’s fair game for everyone. And before that deadline, chances are slim that bulk of the target market would be able to afford it. So in all probability, this launch has more of a symbolic importance  rather than any chance of worthwhile profitability.

The other reason that N8 may not sell well here is that for this much amount, any discerning consumer will first check with the grapevine, in this case, the internet. And the internet, especially the Pakistani blogosphere is awash with speculations that N8 with its Symbian 3` operating system is not the best option what with the Google Android and company offering more powerful features. Iphone, Blackberry and now Samsung with a number of smartphone brands like Galaxy and Omni are right up there in the same price range. So what possibly can the N8 offer that these versatile brands don’t?

Whatever the outcome, this alliance is a step in the right direction and even if this doesn’t turn out to be a bestseller, would pave the way for further exciting possibilities.

If I’m right, we’ve got another rat race on our hands. What’s next? Zong-Samsung, Warid-LG, Motorola-Telenor?