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MWC–Three Positioning Strategies for Innovative Brands

Mobile World Congress 2019 (MWC19), the mobile industry’s premier event has concluded in Barcelona with the launch of 5G-enabled smartphones, unveiling of new products and services, and demonstration of exciting new applications enabled by 5G technology.

As Asian brands are relatively new to the international stage, many international consumers continue to associate these brands with perceptions of lower price and quality. To address these negative perceptions and enhance brand awareness in the target verticals, many Asian brands have been actively positioning themselves as innovative brands. But an “innovative brand” is an abstract concept. Therefore, it is important to carefully consider how to communicate the core value proposition of an innovative brand. Let’s review a couple of innovative Asian brands at MWC19 and learn from their communications strategies:

  1. Promotion of First-Mover Advantage
  2. Promotion of New Technology Use Cases
  3. Announcement of Strategic Cooperation

Promotion of First-Mover AdvantageNubia

MWC–Three Positioning Strategies for Innovative BrandsSource:Nubia

The Alpha, Nubia’s wearable smartwatch with a flexible display, was unveiled in Barcelona. The Alpha claims to be the world’s first commercially available wearable smartwatch/phone with a flexible display and comes equipped with a 4.0-inch screen and 5-megapixel camera. A similar product was also introduced by Nubia at the Berlin IFA in September 2018.

As a first-mover in this vertical, Nubia assumes greater risk because there are no relevant use cases to refer to. First-movers often invest in products over an extended period to get user feedback and continuously optimize. This long-term commitment serves to underline this brand’s innovative image and makes it easier to attract media attention.

Nubia has tapped on multimedia content extensively to communicate the unique value of the Alpha watch. Nubia’s press release emphasized Alpha’s pioneering position and provided product information such as photo galleries to facilitate media coverage from Mashable, and Gizmodo for example. In addition, journalists were invited to try out Alpha at Nubia’s MWC booth while taking photos and making short videos of their own. Such third-party content seems more objective and authoritative, with short videos from Engadget and The Verge are particularly eye-catching, each gathering over 100,000 YouTube hits within a week.

Promotion of New Technology Use Cases ZTEMWC–Three Positioning Strategies for Innovative BrandsSource:ZTE

At MWC19, ZTE demonstrated use cases of its 5G network services based on an end-to-end sub-6GHz commercial system, in collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.  Xu Ziyang, CEO of ZTE, said: “The collaboration between ZTE and Qualcomm Technologies at MWC 2019, on the demonstration of 5G services based on ZTE’s 5G mobile devices and systems, is a testament to our efforts for 5G commercialization.”

Such use case demonstration is especially suitable for 5G as potential customers are not familiar with new technology or may have some doubts. ZTE has invested resources to sync up the various technologies for demonstration to highlight the unique value brought by 5G while building up their innovative brand image.

ZTE chose to issue a press release on the first day of MWC19, emphasizing the technological highlights of their 5G solution and Qualcomm collaboration, attracting journalists to visit their exhibition booth and experience the new 5G-enabled services firsthand. Through a combination of digital and offline exchanges, ZTE has won greater coverage from trade media.

Announcement of Strategic Cooperation: Gosuncn

MWC–Three Positioning Strategies for Innovative BrandsSource:Gosuncn

Gosuncn is a supplier of products and services related to the Internet of Things (IoT) applications and networked vehicles. Together with Geely Holdings Group, Qualcomm Technologies, a subsidiary of Qualcomm, Gosuncn signed a cooperation agreement at MWC19. It plans to launch Geely’s first domestically mass-produced vehicles supporting 5G and C-V2X technologies in 2021. Liu Shuangguang, chairman of Gosuncn, stated that “5G is an inevitable trend of the development of the communications industry. 5G and C-V2X, as a special non-line-of-sight sensor, will become one of the core technologies of autonomous driving.”

Qualcomm and Geely are excellent brands to partner and reflects well upon this company’s commitment to upgrade their core technology base and expand to new markets. Gosuncn’s investment in advanced technology built on the basis of long-term cooperation is beneficial to its innovative brand image.

Gosuncn issued additional press releases during MWC19, announcing cooperation agreements with a North American connected car platform provider and their European IoT partners. Gosuncn first released a press release on their cooperation with Geely and Qualcomm and released a 5G-related news release on connected cars. This way, while this brand is within the news cycle, the next story will gain more traction and more likely to get noticed by journalists for publication.

Stories that Attract International Journalists

In addition to focusing on activities on the MWC19 exhibition floor, these innovative companies have also planned a series of communications activities during their time in Barcelona. This is no surprise as 90% of B2B companies have indicated that earned media activities help to achieve their business goals. PR Newswire’s own research on international communications indicates that international journalists are more likely to be interested in content related to product innovations and applications that can potentially enhance our lifestyles.

This blog post is written by Jx Tan is PR Newswire’s Head of Content – APAC. He is a MSc (Marketing & Consumer Insight) graduate from the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.