Brand Perception- Samsung didn’t win by making better phones than Nokia.
There are downfalls and then there is what happened to Nokia. There are rises and then there is what happened with Samsung.
Nokia was once synonymous with a mobile. I do not even know what company my landline phones belonged to- ever! I was young in the yonder years, but still. Mobiles could have gone the same way.
When the costs of having a mobile were prohibitive, companies could have sold them with the plans (Some did that as well). This way of selling through a service provider would have made us reach a stage where we might not even have seen or known a mobile phone as well.
It might have been a phone with these features that my service provider gave me. Whenever you need to change the phone or a new feature comes up, you change it with a new phone (again having a model number but not having the name of the company). For people who think this is preposterous need not look further than their dongles.
Nothing of this sort happened though and still Nokia managed to steal the heart and money of the whole world and that includes India. This is saying something considering that Indians like their money having great value.
I will be honest and say that I was never a big fan of Nokia.
The primary reason was that I did not like the OS behind. The hardware though was something that Nokia was always good at. The brand perception was- “It’s good because its Nokia!”
This sums everything Nokia was- Memes on internet can be found praising a Nokia 1100- an insignificant phone today.
Even today, this brand perception exists. Nokia is still considered a good hardware creator. Every phone created by Nokia got hardware praise.
It was let down by its software – Be it Pureview with Symbian or Windows Phone 7.
For two years, Nokia tried to sold phones with OS that were DOA. People waited and waited for them to turn about the whole situation and then just left than watch this in pain.
In the meantime, Android killed all competition. Ironically, for an open OS, one company grew more than the rest combined and now the situation for Samsung is exactly that was for Nokia years back.
The prime difference is – No one considers Samsung phone a hardware superior. Unlike Nokia, Samsung created its brand awareness on different philosophy. When an S2, S3 or even S4 was reviewed, there always was a superior phone in hardware (made by an HTC or Sony or Motorola).
Maybe if Nokia even made a single Android phone, it would have beat Samsung easily but that never happened and people wanted Android. The shift from Nokia to Samsung is not of company but of philosophy. People chose software over hardware.
No Samsung fan would say the phones are superior in Hardware terms but still, Samsung succeeded.
Part of the reason was Nokia faltering and every field needs a leader. In India, HTC was just coming of age and Motorola was not serious enough. Besides, these two companies were never that big in India.
The two companies that could fight were Samsung and Sony. While Sony was never big in phones, they were a known name nevertheless and they had the experience, money and most of all, the know-how of user experience (PlayStation).
But Samsung had grown from competing with Sony. Also, they had already begun their battle against Nokia (remember Aamir Khan’s ad campaigns). Thus, these two companies were well known brands in India. Sony though never ventured in the price-sensitive market and by the time they did, Samsung had already won.
Thus, while others were busy acting superior, Samsung gave good, value for money Android smartphones to an audience waiting the same from Nokia.
The fact that Nokia regained its market share in the dual-sim market just by releasing the phones shows that the brand perception of Nokia hasn’t changed.
It’s just that people’s buying philosophy changed!