In July, when Mobile revealed that Motorola was changing its UK boss, it was a slightly
uncertain period for the brand. Miles Norman replaced Nick Muir as UK GM amid rumours of a fire sale and with few new launches on the horizon.
Fast forward a couple of months and the difference couldn’t be greater. Armed with a line of three new products, Norman has been in the chair for a couple of months, and took time to tell Mobile about how he plans to grow the brand’s market share.
Norman returns to Motorola having worked for the manufacturer for six years back in the
Noughties. He joins having held a position at its parent company Lenovo. There has been a lot of change at Motorola since Norman was last there, although he believes some assets remain unchanged: ‘Brand resonance of Motorola is still very, very, high. It’s been a very strong brand over the years. I worked at Motorola from 2003 to 2009 and the brand was so fantastic and so strong. I think it still is today and the Moto G brand platform that’s been built over the past two years is incredibly strong as well.
‘The biggest change is probably that the pace at which we’re bringing out devices now is much faster. We’re announcing three devices in one go, which is not something we’ve done in the past. The three products that we’re announcing are not only targeted at entry level and the low tier but are aimed at the mid-tier and even through to high tier at an affordable level. These devices are completely built, designed, and conceived from the Motorola stable. There hasn’t been too much influence apart from knowledge and guidance from Lenovo on those devices.’
Setting the bar
The UK manufacturer space is currently one of the toughest in the world of which to take a significant share – the Samsung-Apple duopoly has remained resilient to many over the past few years.
Norman, however believes that Motorola can buck that trend and establish itself as the third largest competitor in the market: ‘Certainly the market is dominated by two players, but we still think there is an opportunity for other players to come in. We believe very strongly that we can be the “number three” player to offer consumers something different from what’s been there in the past two to three years.’
As well as growing its market share, Motorola is also looking to offer products in the higher-priced market segments as Norman explained: ‘I think we’ve been very focused and very successful in the lower tier with Moto G and Moto E. I think that’s the platform we are building from, now it’s time to bring in some higher tier devices that have great specs and great functionality at very affordableprice points.
‘At the moment we don’t have the strength of the major flagships in the market, but we’re definitely building up from the bottom and we will gain the strength of those flagships as well as move forward. We do have segmentation, which we look at, so we could look at the 18-30 category, which is very relevant in terms of wanting different phones. If you look at the UK and EU market there are billions of people to whom our phones could be easily targeted. Our devices are delivered to quite a wide segment.’
A history of partners
For Motorola’s GM the legacy of being such a major force in the mobile phone market also presents an advantage in terms of the number of other players who have established relationships with the brand: ‘Where Motorola has been in the past gives us super-strong relationships with operators; that didn’t change. But now we’ve really got portfolio ability to give us big exposure. So you’ll start to see widespread availability.
'With these three launches we’ve got absolutely fantastic support from the operators as well as the retailers. So what we see is a wide spread of partners kicking off with the Moto G, so this really puts us in a good place again.’
Norman also believes that with the mergers and acquisitions currently happening in the operator space, the manufacturer’s history with these companies will stand them in good stead: ‘I think consolidation is inevitable and a lot of us in the industry have seen it coming. Moto are well positioned to deal with that – we have strong partnerships with majority UK players and as and when that rolls out we have the relationship and portfolio in place to continue that.’