Phil Roberson urges HTC to be bolder

Phil Roberson urges HTC to be bolder

HTC’s former UK chief has said the manufacturer needs to ‘create demand’ for its forthcoming One device to regain momentum.

Phil Roberson left HTC earlier this month after almost 18 months at the company and described his role as ‘the hardest but most rewarding job’ he has had. He said his decision to leave was driven by the pressures of work and the desire to spend more time with his wife: ‘I want to take some time out, watch the cricket, travel to Australia, walk the Pennines – I don’t want to be the richest man in the graveyard.’ 

Speaking of the pressures of his role, he said: ‘Operators really don’t know how tough it is in our position as manufacturers – the targets for all of us are bloody hard work and the demands put on you are extreme.’

Asked where that pressure came from, Roberson said: ‘At HTC we are very driven and a lot leaner than everyone else. Peter Chou (HTC CEO) always says we are a start up organisation. We have only been our own brand for four years.  We are a very young company and the changes are so quick. That’s great in lots of respects as the opportunity to do lots of different things is huge. That really drives the culture but it comes with a lot of pressure.’

Roberson joined HTC in 2011 from EE, where he had been devices marketing director after his former employer T-Mobile merged with Orange. He accepted he joined the business during a particularly tough period, when demand for Apple and Samsung products bit into HTC sales. Last year it lost its place as the second biggest Android smartphone maker in the UK to Sony. However, he said he was confident of it regaining market share. He said: ‘HTC knows what it has to do. We have great products. The HTC One is the best Android phone ever released. But the challenge is to create demand in the market. We have good partners and the operators really understand the products we make, but we need to get people to come through the door and ask for it. We need to encourage those door swingers. It’s all about marketing execution. We must do the brand awareness piece.’

He added: ‘A lot of the challenge is about momentum. Into the mid part of last year the momentum was elsewhere. And as other manufacturers know, like Sony, Nokia and Blackberry, it takes time to get the wheels moving again. We have the right trajectory now but we have to get momentum, and that is what HTC will do this year.’

Roberson was speaking to Mobile before the announcement that the One would be delayed and he refused to comment as to the reasons behind it. He said the manufacturer’s marketing campaign would be much more aggressive than in the past. He said: ‘It will be much more about going out in the face of people. In the past we have been a much more humble organisation and now we need to be bolder.’

He dismissed claims that his departure, which coincides with the departure of HTC UK head of sales Mike Coombes and head of marketing James Atkins, was part of a major management cull at HTC. He said: ‘It was purely coincidence. I was all set to give the news of my departure when they both handed in their notice after an exciting opportunity came up for both of them.’

Author: Carol Millett

Written by Mobile Today
Mobile Today


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