Sunday, 24 June 2007

Porsche's mobile phone

Porsche decides to launch a range of cell phones:

When I read that Porsche was launching a new mobile phone, my first reaction was “Why?” At 1600 USD, it was expensive and definitely exclusive, but why did it seem like a terrible thing to do?

The Porsche brand offers a very specific promise- high performance driving pleasure, superbly styled and exclusive. It’s a drive that beats a BMW, Mercedes, Honda or anything else Its style makes it chic, but not overtly aggressive like a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. It isn’t shy of making a statement.

So what would a phone on the Porsche brand have to represent? Something fast and chic. Exclusive. Stylish but not gaudy (no jewellery embedded on the phone)
Easy to use.

But the big problem is the “exclusivity”. A car is easy to make exclusive once the technology is defined and mastered. But how about a T Shirt, cap, leather jacket…or a mobile phone?

Clearly, each of these categories, to be “cool”, need innovation and unique design elements in themselves. Design elements that come about from years of work- dedicated effort. Cell phones are the same game. Design is everything,

The design features that are needed to be cool are mastered by maybe Nokia, Apple (from sneak previews) in a consistent way. Companies like Sony, Samsung, Motorola, have not been able to do this often enough, in spite of their huge R&D and marketing budgets focused on this product category.

So what makes Porsche think they can do this category simply because they make a cool car. For the brand to get “re-enforced” by the product, requires a degree of sophistication that if they managed, would put Nokia out of business.

I suppose that’s what makes this so difficult to digest. I am not convinced they can make the “coolest” phone on the planet – the companies that can help them do so (Nokia/ Apple) will not help them. I think the phone will not do justice to the Porsche name.

My call- this was a pretty bad call by Porsche.

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