Motorola's Refreshed Branding Rises-Up With Customers
Updated: Feb 7
"I joined Motorola because I believed in the brand. As the brand refresh became my goal, I started to think how we wanted to do that. It became apparent that what matters to the team and I was building a real, relatable brand. A brand consumer want to live with and a brand that reflects not just what the company's goals are but what the company stands for." This is how Renata Altenfelder, Executive Director, Global Brand Management Lenovo mobile Business Group (MBG), started our conversation on the Motorola brand and the recently launched "Risers" campaign.
Based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Altenfelder joined Lenovo in 2014 to lead all marketing efforts in LATAM and then became Executive Director of Global Brand Management for Motorola Mobility. Before joining Lenovo, Altenfelder was the marketing director at Triumph International and spent 13 years at Unilever. Her passion for branding and Motorola comes through loud and clear as she shares the journey she has been on over the past six years. This journey took Motorola from focusing on what makes a phone to the experience of connecting people and improving their lives. "We want to focus on the big technology innovations, those that make an impact on the business, but we also want to deliver on what might seem small but still ends up improving someone's experience," says Altenfelder, adding, "it's about delivering technology with a purpose, solutions that are for all both in terms of price but also in terms of accessibility."
The current Motorola's brand look and feel represent the sentiment that transpired from research studies done across consumers and employees to determine the attributes they all associated with Motorola's products. It is fascinating that a company would do focus groups with their employees to gather brand sentiment. Still, Altenfelder explains that it is critical to know how employees see the brand as their sentiment will impact what they do, no matter their role in the company.
At the core of what Motorola does today is the desire to provide technology that fits both the buyers' pockets' depth and their everyday needs. Branding plays a role in the value products deliver. Motorola wanted to continue to use colors to keep branding fresh and modern but add a touch of elegance with a color palette that moves away from the bright yellow and red to coral and burnt orange.
But more elegant color palettes and designs were not all the branding team at Motorola wanted to achieve. In parallel to Lenovo’s New Realities initiative, Motorola wanted to use its brand to highlight everyday people who make a difference in their communities. They looked for local young talent who use technology to be the enabler of their voice, to share their story, their mission, or simply their talent that brings pride and recognition back to the communities they belong to. Motorola calls them "Risers." One example is the Ebinum Brothersfrom Lagos, Nigeria, a self-taught dance and choreographs duo who, after appearing in a Motorola commercial, were featured in Vogue, among other things. The "Risers" campaign is about giving hope for the future by showcasing human ingenuity, talent and resilience. There were also very concreate efforts by Lenovo to address the needs of many communities across the world. Lenovo provided technology and personal protective equipment (PPE) to hospitals and offered distance education for millions of impacted students worldwide. This effort measured in $13 million (USD) in philanthropic work.
"Looking back at the 92 years Motorola has been in business", Altenfelder says, "the company has had very solid pillars of innovation and pioneering. Even in the most challenging times, the goal of pushing technology boundaries never weakened." Today Motorola wants to extend that mindset to branding and advertising. The new moto g campaign might be the best example of that out of the box thinking where the ad is shot at night and the characters are shot in such a way to provide some degree of intimacy with the audience.
As I listen to the details of the new campaign and how it is rolling out in Latin America, I cannot help but think that what I see as the best branding refresh Motorola has ever had in the 20 something years of my coverage of the mobile sector, has a lot to do with the very diverse leadership team the company can draw on. Gender, nationalities, backgrounds and longevity with the company all play into creating a cognitively diverse group that, while rooted in technology, feels far away from the almost parochial mentality that Silicon Valley often showcases. The diverse composition of Motorola's management cascades down from its parent company Lenovo were Diversity and Inclusion have been a high priority for quite some time. In its Diversity and Inclusion report, published on December 18, 2020, Lenovo shared that despite the pandemic, the company could reach the 2020 goals they had set in 2018 of 20% female executive representation worldwide and 28% racial/ethnic minority executive representation across the U.S. The company slightly surpassed those goals reporting representation of 21% and 29%, respectively.
Altenfelder recognizes that 2020 brought a need for some sobriety in marketing, increasing the desire to make the brand relatable and relevant. Another significant change she is very aware of relates to how much more influence Gen Zers and young Millennials have on their family. While they might not control the purse's strings, they certainly have a voice in which technology brands to consider and which products to buy. This has been especially true as commerce shifted to online during the pandemic.
When we look at our dependence on technology and don't think of it in terms of collaboration or distance learning, or entertainment, phones do one basic thing. They have been doing it from the very beginning: they connect people. "While we might connect in different ways today than we have in the past and we will do in the future," says Altenfelder, "our need will never go away and Motorola wants to continue to empower you through that connection."
This article first appeared on Forbes
Disclosure: The Heart of Tech is a research and consultancy firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this column. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this column