Saturday, June 16, 2012

First mover advantage in Branding

Lava Xolo, the world's first smartphone running on Intel hardware, has been launched in India. This comes after a long wait for fans of Intel, the worlds largest chip maker for computers. Intel hasnt been able to replicate a similar success in the mobile segment yet. The Z2460 processor launched earlier this year by Intel seeks to be a potent rival to the ARM technology used in most smartphones today. Lava, a small Indian mobile phone maker catering to the lower-end market, smartly latched on to this opportunity to tie-up with Intel and launch this unexplored chipset in its first smartphone.

Vishal Sehgal, Director, Lava International with
Paul S. Otellini, President & CEO, Intel Corporation
at the World Barcelona Congress 2012
This association catapults Lava into a higher league of mobile OEM brands and will now be considered as good phone maker by consumers, who till now look at it as a cheap me-too 'chinese' mobile brand. It has received worldwide attention for this new product and has been covered across news and blogs around the world resulting in millions of dollars worth of free PR. Such an association also places it at a higher pedestal in those consumers minds who havent yet heard about Lava. These lines from the popular mobile blog GSMarena gives an idea about the newworthiness of this association "it’s not always we get to use a smartphone that has an Intel processor inside so when we got the opportunity, we jumped on it. For those who are not aware, the Lava XOLO X900 is the first phone in the world to use an Intel processor and its x86 architecture, and is on sale right now in India." Infact this phone has delivered Lava its first presence across every international media covering mobile & technology.

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This strategy to associate with Intel before the other phone makers has delivered a huge lift to the brand that even crores of marketing wouldnt have done. Even if the Xolo phone fails to prove a success this association will surely benefit the brand Lava and its newly built sub-brand Xolo in the long run. For now Lava has already got its international network orders for Xolo and would soon be available in UK as Orange San Dieogo.

We look forward to how this strategy to associate with smaller phone makers will work for Intel in a category where 'Intel inside' isnt yet relevant to consumers. There isnt much choice as Intel is going to face huge pressure in being accepted by Apple or Samsung as they have put their might behind the ARM architecture and have hugely invested in it. They would wait till a consumer pull for 'Intel inside' mobile phone appears. Till then the smaller phone manufacturers can benefit by Brand associates of Intel like Lava presently has.

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