Nokia is back in what was its favourite hunting ground. HMD Global, which now has rights to use the Nokia branding, has just announced the launch of sales for its new sew series of Nokia phones. The Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 are spread across the affordable price range between Rs 9,499 and Rs 14,999 where most of the volume in the Indian smartphone market lies.
Nokia over the past month or so executed a smart marketing strategy, using its iconic Nokia 3310 to create a hype over the return of the brand. The strategy worked so well that the feature phone, which is at best a white elephant these days, was sold out in most parts of the country.
Now, Nokia knows India well. Maybe better than most other brands, even now. And it seems to have got its pricing spot on with the new phones. We have to agree that even now a lot of people will be willing to pay that little bit extra for trust associated with the Finnish brand. The best thing is Nokia does not appear to be charging that premium with these phones — yes, there is a flagship lurking somewhere in the future, maybe a Nokia 9.
The phones are not really spectacular when it comes to specifications or features. But a lot of people don’t really need that. All they need is the trust their phone will work when they want it to. And the name Nokia does offer that trust, even though the phones are made and sold by a startup called HMD Global. The smart thing HMD does is to line up a lot of old Nokia faces to play on the familiarity and the continuum.
There one more thing that brings its legacy back in play. The Nokia 3 and Nokia 5 will both be offline only. Nokia was once the big daddy of offline sales with a Nokia Priority dealer being a ubiquitous feature of any Indian town. They must be confident of being able to tap that legacy again.
These are still early days, but Nokia coming back in the mix will only be good for the competition, and of course, the consumer. Whether Nokia is able to cash is on the brand recollect and trust it enjoys with the Indian consumer remains to be seen. Anyway, it will be good to hear the Nokia ringtone once again.