Trustonic is arguing that original equipment manufacturers need to think locally when trying to bring their products to different markets. The company noted that the mobile market has changed radically in the past 10 years, and that while it is still possible to market the same product all over the world, that product may not find an audience if the seller does not find a way to connect with the local population.
Those insights come courtesy of the latest episode of Trustonic’s Inside Track podcast, which features a pair of TCL and Alcatel executives as guests. William Patterson is TCL Area Director for Northern Europe, while Ernst Wittmann is the Regional Manager for Southeast Africa.
Together, they detailed some of the key differences between their respective territories. For example, handset manufacturers targeting the UK are entering a country with two established players that dominate 85 percent of the market, while those in the emerging African market need to stand out in a crowded field packed with dozens of competitors. The consumers themselves will also have different expectations, with those in the UK prioritizing factors like battery life and storage, while those in Africa place a greater emphasis on screen size.
Given those differences, TCL and Alcatel recognized that the same approach would not work in both regions. In the UK, Patterson built relationships with local groups like the British Academy of Film and Television Arts to try to raise TCL’s reputation and brand awareness. Wittmann, on the other hand, worked with local retailers to develop sales campaigns, and plans to sign sponsorship deals with international soccer stars.
Both emphasized the need to build strong relationships with retailers, to make sure that those retailers have the knowledge they need to sell a product when customers do walk into the store. They argued that relationships have become even more important as technology has improved, since many devices now have many of the same features and it is increasingly difficult to stand out with technology alone.
“Both the operators and the retailers want to see that we fully understand what our brand means in that particular country and that we understand the consumer that it appeals to,” said Patterson. “Retail looks to the manufacturer to drive demand, and then they convert it. This means we have lots of work to do before the consumer even gets into the shop or online.”
For its part, Trustonic stressed the need for strong device security, regardless of region and manufacturer. The company has previously called attention to the high rates of smartphone theft, and published a white paper to help manufacturers get their devices certified.