Mobile Brand Marketing in India

Foxconn December 2015
 

The Summary:

This project originated with an executive-level request to assess the health of marketing and branding plans for a 2016 release of InFocus mobile devices in the India market. Despite expressing high confidence in the existing marketing and branding content, no validation activities had been done. In fact, the work we reviewed seemed disorganized and without any visible structured process behind it. Executives wanted evidence to support increasing the marketing budget for this product release in order to make marketing and branding improvements where warranted.

 

We planned and conducted a set of 5 market research workshops in the India market with target consumers. In addition to making mood boards with these consumers and discussing how they define "cool", we also evaluated the visual content and hardware based on perceived brand message. 

 

These workshops were critical as the existing materials were largely unsuitable. Our recommendations addressed the marketing terminology, visual design aesthetics, color palettes, and packaging.  

 

The Issues:

The central challenges were around understanding the relationship between smart mobile devices and projected social image for the target demographic (students and entry-level professionals between 18-25 years old), identifying appropriate marketing language that spoke to them, and interpreting our findings - together with direct feedback on themed boot sequences and the package branding - to recommend modifications.

 

Also, there were the tactical challenges of identifying a reliable vendor, finding suitable office space where the workshops could be held, and ensuring that qualified participants were recruited. 

Methods Applied:

 

 

Market Research Workshops

Primary Roles:

 

 

Directed all tactical and strategic workstreams

Collaborators:

  • AVP of Design

  • Engineering Manager 

  • Visual Designer Manager

  • Regional Marketing Director

 

Outcomes:

Successfully moderated 5 sets of 4 participants, totaling 20 participants. 

Delivered a detailed findings report with strategic recommendations, which included a new box design, simplified example messaging, and alternative model names

Research Details

Workshop Development and Facilitation

1 Develop Workshop Approach
Build exercises and gather materials to be used in market-style group interview sessions, considering target audience and regional market

Given permission to travel, we prioritized face-to-face work in the field. Spending 5 working days in India meant that we could broaden the scope of the research by including some exploratory conversation at the front of the research sessions. With target demographics defined and a vendor to take ownership of recruiting, we felt the best approach would be small group workshop sessions of 4 participants each. This would result in 20 data points, which we felt brought us to our ROI plateau. 

Target demographic: current students or entry-level professionals between the ages of 18-25 years old who live in the Gurgaon metro area and are current users of an Android mobile device. 

Part of our responsibility was to find out what sort of brand message a wide variety of visual content and hardware were delivering. However, we also felt only hearing about what participants did not like was limiting. So, we proposed generating a subjective discussion around how they define "cool", using a collection of visual probes from contemporary magazines to create Mood Boards. We thought these visuals of art, fashion, and material possessions might help us to steer the conversation in the right direction. We hoped to leverage what we learned about "cool" to process their opinions and recommendations on the visual marketing content and hardware. 

 

 

 

1/7
Themed Boot Animations
Infocus You-Moticon Chat Phone: "Hands Up" Commercial
InFocus You-Moticon Chat Phone: "Sassy Girl" Commercial
InFocus Hardware Model tested: M812
Prototype branded package design
 

We sequenced the workshop activities as follows:

 

  1. Play a Word Game to understand how "cool" is communicated colloquially and in regional marketing and advertising

  2. Create Mood Boards to visually identify what they consider "cool" and what illustrates the image they aim to portray

  3. Gather feedback on a large set of themed boot sequences and discuss their pros and cons

  4. Gather feedback on professionally-produced commercials advertising InFocus phones in their market

  5. Gather feedback on the M812 InFocus device hardware model (shape, color, texture, dimensions, etc)

  6. Review packaging prototype and its associated branding to discuss strengths, weaknesses, and ideas for improvement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The addition of the exploratory activities was extremely useful for our needs, despite the admittedly small N for both the magazines used and the respondents. The use of visual proxies in the mood board activity had the intended effect of stimulating discussion among the participant of each group, which was great for data collection purposes. The word game also helped us to understand more about colloquial patterns in communication for the multi-lingual in this market and how that could inform marketing efforts. It is our opinion that this also resulted in rich feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the visual materials, the brand concept, the hardware, and the packaging design.

 

We took generous shortcuts but were not aiming for methodological purity. At Foxconn decisions are made very quickly, so it’s easy to risk losing the confidence of the business if it takes too long to conduct the research and come to a conclusion.  Given the local team's confidence that the existing material was complete, there was very little time to affect any significant change. 

2 Marketing Workshops in Gurgaon, India
Coordinate with local vendors to conduct 5 workshop sessions, gather data, and provide recommendations to stakeholders

The addition of the exploratory activities was extremely useful for our needs, despite the admittedly small N for both the magazines used and the respondents. The use of visual proxies in the mood board activity had the intended effect of stimulating discussion among the participants of each group, which was great for data collection purposes. The word game also helped us to understand more about colloquial patterns in communication for the multi-lingual in this market and how that could inform marketing efforts. It is our opinion that this also resulted in rich feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the visual materials, the brand concept, the hardware, and the packaging design.

1/6
Photos of workshops in action
Word Game results presented as a word cloud
1/15
Consolidated magazine content chosen for mood boards

Clear patterns emerged and were reinforced across all 5 workshops:

 

 

  • There is a mixture of English, Hindi, and regional languages used in the colloquial speech of this age group (e.g. "Totaa", "Mast")

  • All 5 groups were drawn to images using golds, black, and brown

  • Images using bright traditional colors, patterns, and dress were much less popular

  • The trend described to us was the desire to reflect a global sophistication, maturity, influence, and professionalism, which is supported by clean lines and a dark palette. Popular interior designs were even sparse, monochrome, and well-organized.

  • Gold, in particular, helps them portray an image of achievement and worth

 

The data we collected defining “cool” did not match with the characteristics of the marketing plan, rendering the materials largely unsuitable. Hinted at here was a sense of caste expectations associating “cool” with “modern", "clean", "confident", "proper", and "wealth"

 

 

 

  • The hardware model reviewed was found to be comparable in design and quality to the iPhone, albeit a bit too large and heavy for their liking

  • These consumers are quite practical about how they spend their money. iPhones are viewed as ostentatious and even somewhat tacky. They focus purposefully on specs for Android mobile devices in order to make a practical choice

  • Products 'Made in China' are immediately considered poor quality. Most do not associate Taiwan with PRC

  • Most of the themed boot animations were found to be too colorful, too childish, or too stereotypically Indian. Participants were overwhelmingly drawn to the one black and gold animation in the set, "Golden India"

  • The commercials hit the wrong tone with participants in Gurgaon. We were not sure if the accent, references, and jokes were highly specific to the Mumbai metro area or not, but our participants did not understand what was even being advertised

  • The packaging seemed generic and the multiple marketing messages were too confusing for participants. They were not fans of the font, colors, or the name of the phone model. 'Bingo' is also the name of a type of snack chip (similar to 'Doritos' in the USA) so this brand name does not communicate sophistication

  • "do.be.do.be.do" is a catchy tagline, but does not convey sophistication

 

 

 

We communicated some of our recommendations through the redesign of the packaging, which highlighted many suggested improvements: 

 

  • The color palette and overall visual design for the packaging should change in order to reflect visual design qualities participants were drawn to (golds, black, and brown)

  • Keep only the gold and black boot animation as it had the sophistication and professional look-and-feel users were looking for; the hardware had these qualities as well, so they resonated

  • Carry the "Golden India" boot animation visual palette into the packaging design

  • Simplify the market messaging on the box and consider changing the model names to eliminate the inadvertent connotations

Shown below are box redesigns for the product series, from budget to premium. 

1/3
Proposed changes to marketing message and package design

Additional Recommendations: 

  • Although English is the expected language of advertising, there is an opportunity to stand out by more accurately reflecting the consumer's day-to-day vocabulary

  • Be clear on the hardware specs and highlight what makes the device special in its price range

  • Take Apple's "Designed in Taiwan" approach to avoid printing "Made in China" on any labels 

 

 

 

© 2017 by Peter Roessler.