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Posted by Vanessa Zeng on July 8, 2014
On June 24, I attended the launch event for the new flagship of Huawei’s Honor product family, the Honor 6, in Beijing. As one of the world’s largest telecom equipment manufacturer, Huawei has been cultivating a mobile phone business in the past few years, and became the third largest smartphone vendor in the world at the end of 2013. Until now, Huawei’s mobile phone business has mainly followed a B2B2C business model: selling its devices via mobile network operators. Huawei launched Honor in December 2013 as an independently operated Internet brand that aims to adapt quickly to changes in the age of the mobile Internet and provide high-performance products at reasonable prices. As a former member of the mobile phone fraternity, I was impressed by Huawei’s technical leadership at the two-hour launch event — but behind the revelry, I noted that Huawei faces a few dilemmas:
By launching the Honor brand, Huawei has started to devote itself to the B2C channel and leverage the Internet business model for smartphones with a brand that is distinct from Ascend. Given its legacy as a B2B telecom equipment manufacturer, Huawei has not had to develop the skills necessary to use marketing to turn technical features into consumer benefits — in the age of the customer, it still has a lot to learn in terms of how to operate a consumer product business.
To continue its streak of success, Huawei’s key imperatives for the Honor family are to define a clear brand positioning and channel strategy and align its internal product portfolio. For organizations in the same shoes, have a rethink on the ways of brand building with Forrester’s “The 21st Century Brand Marketing Playbook”, and navigate modern marketing with a focus on the customer.
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