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How Nokia designs new phones
Priyanka Sangani in Mumbai | August 01, 2006
What does the world's biggest phone manufacturer do after selling its handsets to over 800 million people globally?
It studies its consumers and segments them according to their needs to better cater to their needs and, in the process, hope to sell some more phones.
After studying usage patterns and needs of thousands of its users over the past few months, Nokia realised that while it may be selling its devices to a large volume of the mobile phone using population of the world, clearly, the one-size-fits-all approach would not work.
On the basis of this study, the company has divided its customers into 11 segments based on their involvement levels and whether a mobile phone purchase for them is a rational or an aspirational decision.
Robert Andersson, Nokia group executive board member and executive vice-president (customer and market operations) may be stating the obvious when he says the kind of cellphone a senior citizen would buy is likely to be drastically different from what a technology leader - for whom the cellphone is a high involvement and aspirational product - would buy.
While both the style-seekers and style-followers are high on the aspirational aspect of the product with the looks being an important factor, the phone's looks may not be that important to a homemaker who needs it mainly to keep in touch with the family.
So while the customers fit into different segments, there was also a need to segments its product offerings in such a way so as to cater specifically to the different segments of consumers.
Hence, the company has classified its product offerings under four broad heads: Live, Connect, Achieve and Explore.
"While the 'Connect' category phones would appeal to someone whose requirements are very simple and basic, the N-series multimedia phones would fall under the 'Explore' category," explains Andersson.
In the Indian context, the 1,100 range of phones would fit under the 'Connect' category where the emphasis is on the phones being simple and user friendly. 'Live' is based on the theme of inspiring self expression where the way the phone looks as about as important to the users as the features it offers.
Similarly, the Nokia E-series instruments have been classified for the 'Achieve' users for whom the phone is far more than just something you use to make calls.
These business-optimised units provide all the necessary business applications and according to Andersson, this classification will help the company cater more closely to the requirements of each consumer group and in turn make the phones more user-friendly.
Apart from these basic insights, there have been other learnings as well. So you have the 6080, an affordable camera phone which has been styled to appeal to the more low involvement users and is a relatively simple phone, the 6275i is a fancier phone with features aimed more for the style leaders.