On April 24, the Institute of Design hosted Jennifer Kwee, Motorola Product Marketing Manager to host a lecturette about designing the MotoFONE for emerging markets.
For the uninitiated, the MotoFONE is the low price, high design, thin, high battery life, easy to use mobile device that Motorola has introduced for the markets it considers “emerging” (Brazil, China, India, other African countries).
The lecturette, broadly attended by MDes and MDM students, touched on the interaction design of the phone, product form, packaging design, and general market strategies.
Few interesting tidbits for those who could not attend:
* Motorola mostly operates in a retail model in the emerging markets, instead of a carrier model, as in the developed markets (e.g. selling phones directly to retail outlets and local vendors, instead of partnering with Verizon to offer deep discounts on phones with annual contracts).
Translation: The phone has to be extremely cost effective for the value conscious consumer.
* The phone is the first mobile device to make use of Sony’s Electrophoretic display (EPD), which enables users to view the sizable high contrast screen in bright light. The phone’s user interface is almost entirely graphical– with voice prompts translated in local languages.
* The three major challenges to MotoFONE: Distribution, Marketing, and Packaging.
* Motorola suggests that the phone is not feature-rich, like its upmarket phones. I personally feel that that the simplicity of the MotoFONE is its
*best* feature, however. Especially for those of us who only use a mobile phone to make and receive calls!
* After the lecturette ended, we had a chance to play with the phones, and I must say I was impressed with the display, which was very easy to read. I tried trading my RAZR in for the MotoFONE, but I think they thought I was joking.
* Women in S. Africa loved the thin form factor of their phones, because they could discreetly place the phone in their bras (and not be at risk for theft). Marketers at Motorola wondered if they should advertise this feature!
* The simple cylindrical product packaging was designed to be kept and reused for household purposes– It keeps the brand alive well after the initial purchase. Women in India loved the packaging because it was the perfect size for their bangle bracelets.
* Motorola considered using brand ambassadors (i.e. Bollywood voices) to speak the voice prompts on the phones. The stars thought it was weird to have their voice on the phones, so the idea was placed on the back burner.
I will see if I am allowed to update the video to YouTube, but I’m willing to bet that will be a no-no.
Hey everyone, Happy Earth Day 2007!
If you are in Chicago, here is a list of events that are taking place, available from Treehugger.com:
If you are in NYC, Chicago, or San Francisco, Here’s a link to the GREEN APPLE festival.
I’m going to go out and enjoy the day… Have fun!
I know I’m late on this post (Sorry Sheel), but I suffered 1 all-nighter and 1-near-all-nighter this week trying to catch up on school work from going to conferences two weeks in a row (Indian business conference and a design management institute seminar)
Interesting lectures/panels at the Indian Business conference:
Professor Jagdish Bhagwati (opening keynote).
Prof. Bhagwati is an extremely intelligent man, which came through in his keynote. Listening to his speech made me want to hop on Amazon and buy his book, In Defense of Globalization”. Not right now though, I have a huge backlog of interesting books to read.
* Since 1991, poverty has been in decline in India, and more and more people are finding gainful employment.
* The problem is not increasing poverty, but the vast differences in wealth distribution between urban and rural populations.
* Yes, India is “behind” China– it’s easy to put aside any debate, *but* India’s growth is more sustainable because India does not have an authoritarian government. China has less NGO support, lacks a free press, and is more prone to political instability. India/China SEZ’s comparable.
Prof. Joseph Stiglitz
* Past not as rosy as Bhagwati might suggest, but hopefully future is. Stiglitz uses malnourishment data instead of poverty data– argues that it is a higher predictor of public welfare, and much more measurable.
* 3 major points emerged:
-> How to include *rural* India into mainstream economy?
-> How to encourage investment in infrastructure? Telecom is figured out/ How can “Power” be solved for? Education/Health comes next.
-> Entrepreneurship is unarguably the most powerful force for growth in India. Private sector in India has enjoyed prosperity since 1991. This needs to continue.
India’s major source of power is the energy and intellectual capital of its youth.
Ron Somers, President of the US-India Business council
-> India is #1 in milk production in the world. #2 in production of fruits/vegetables (but 40% of this product is lost before it gets to market)….Is it just me, or is that number ridiculously outrageous?!?
-> Farmer suicides are a major problem in India
-> Rise of Indian entrepreneurship is a major source of Indian national pride — Tata/Mittal.
-> Novellus/Hindalco: largest aluminum producer in the world, from India.
-> Also expounded on the theme of inclusivity of rural populations to contribute to engine of economic growth.
-> Problems he mentioned: Chennai & Hyderabad- acute water shortage // By 2020, 20% of India’s population will live within urban areas, so more water is needed.
-> This one is hard to believe– By 2010, there is a risk of a human resource shortage!!! (So many MNCs are looking for labor in India– that there will be a lack of educated workers available). Imagine that: Soon to be the most populous country in the world, suffering a human resource shortage.
-> Politics are key: Indian American relations are the sine qua non that uphold business progress, and power the economic engine of India.
-> It’s vital to reduce trade barriers and open doors in science/technology
Private sector needs to invest in skill development and encourage the growth of micro-entrepreneurs.
India progresses because civil society works in unison with 110 NGOs.
The guy who I found most interesting from the entrepreneurship panel was a man named Iqbal Qadir from Grameen Phone. His folksy tone and humor made everyone laugh, but it was evident he was extremely brilliant.
* Trends in entrepreneurship *
-> Decentralized technologies — enabler
-> Entrepreneurs need to have a long term perspective, you *cannot* go to India to seek cost arbitrage alone
-> You can’t think of the impediments in India as impediments. They *are* the opportunities themselves.
-> If you want to hire people in India, you will look far and wide but it will be *very* hard to find heads of human resources there.
-> Training is very tough (transitory work force)
-> Managers in India are few and far between. The good managers are costly (70% of American wages. Wow!)
Sanjiv Ahuja, CEO of Orange Telecom spoke about building a global brand
-8.5% GDP growth / 2nd fastest growing in world / 4th largest economy by PPP terms
-> Strongest correlation to GDP growth that Orange found: cell phone access.
-> In Botswana, HIV education is disseminated using the cell phone. Using these learnings, Orange has sought to bring valuable health information to the developed market. They are using cell phone technology to alert the families of Alzheimer’s patients that the person has left a control range.
Unprecedented Connectivity is an ENABLER: Why can’t India be host to the next wave of imaginative companies– Pixar, or Disney??
Brands capture identity -> and deliver consistently on that promise. Now is a seminal time for Indian companies and Indian business leaders to emphasize Indian identity in their brands.
It’s vital to promote India and the “promise of the future” now, more than ever.
Ahuja uses data from 11 customer touchpoints that he monitors WEEKLY to ensure that his brand experience is uniform, differentiated, and superb from the customer’s perspective.
(talk about user-centered design!!)
One of my favorite lectures was the winner of the SABA young leaders awards, Vikram Akula, of SKS Microfinance.
-> Noticed that MFI didn’t scale, and wanted to change this.
-> Major constraints to MFI adoption: Capital/Capacity/Costs
-> SKS microfinance started out with the hope of matching McDonalds/Coke/Starbucks business models: highlighting a scalable/standardized distribution process
Unfortunately, I didn’t take too many notes during Akula’s talk, I was captivated by the pictures in his slideshow and the potential. One little criticism, it seemed like a very…”management consulting” slideshow, chock full of data unaccessible to the layperson. It was inspiring when Akula set aside his slides and showed some props– his vision for the new remittance model with MFI credit cards… and the current state problems (traditional MFI payment schedules on a large fold out sheet of paper).
Session on Private Equity.
I had also attended a session on Private equity in India, but I didn’t take tons of notes during this session. The speakers weren’t as dynamic as earlier in the day, but still knowledgable.
-> Markets for sustainable energy in India are increasing rapidly
-> Average turn-around-times for ports in India is currently 3-4 days. Hong Kong is currently 10 hours– India still has a long way to go.
PE gurus currently following:
-> infrastructure: especially POWER!!
-> consumer demand
-> high tech / advantages of Indian Science/technology
Problems affecting PE in India:
-> Lack of middle management
-> Regulatory (enforcement/policy)
-> Skyrocketing valuations
Closing Keynote given by Dr. Shashi Tharoor (fmr Undersecretary General of the United Nations).
Shashi talked about “soft power”– He didn’t coin it, he borrowed the theme from Joseph Nye.
I’d write notes about his lecture, which I thought was EXTREMELY interesting, but when I came home from the conference, I googled his name and “soft power” and I immediately find the text of his lecture, almost verbatim.
Here it is: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/OPINION/Columnists/Shashi_Tharoor/Making_the_most_of_Indias_soft_power/articleshow/1568428.cms
If you’re Indian, read it. You’ll enjoy it.
On Sunday, after an exhausting but fun trip to New York to visit my friend in his final year of law school (and go to the Indian Business conference at Columbia), I hopped on a bus to take me back to La Guardia airport. Thus began one of the worst little travel escapades I have ever experienced.
The M60 bus was packed like a can of sardines. Upon Nabeel’s advice, I took the single seat to the right of the bus so I could stow my luggage beside me, but there were still tons of people around me. After hearing some lady give caution to the guy in front of me that some miscreant was rifling through his bag, I quickly wrapped my arm around my laptop bag and held it close.
I had left for the airport with plenty of time before my flight. The M60 bus, which usually takes 45 minutes from Morningside Heights took 1.5 hours because it was delayed at every single stop– People would try to fit on the bus though there was no room, while the bus driver warned them that there was no space. Apparently they didn’t care.
Anyway, the bus ride wasn’t that bad. I want to talk more about a particularly awful experience with a company/brand. I don’t want to be negative, but it’s an interesting case study in brand experience that I was thinking about after Sanjiv Ahuja, CEO of Orange answered a question about brand ambassadors.
Delta Airlines has sub-brands, such as Delta Connection and Delta Shuttle. Seemingly, there is no tangible difference in the look/feel of the two different brands. In some executive MBA marketing class somewhere, the brand manager for Delta Airlines sat down and heard that it is important to make a coherent brand experience across all their offerings. Which is fine. Heck, it’s likely more cost efficient for the company. Now, from a patron’s point of view, simply identifying which airline I am taking, and thus identifying WHICH terminal I need to get to is ridiculously difficult. I asked someone on the bus and she told me to go to the first terminal, after I told her that I was flying to Chicago. “All Chicago Delta flights are from the first terminal” she said, confidently.
After I got in, went to ticketing, I randomly bumped into a Delta representative (luckily) who looked at my ticket and barked that I was at the wrong terminal. “Get on the bus that takes you to terminal A– No! Take a cab if you can.. Otherwise you will miss it”. I ran down, shared a cab with someone (LUCKILY I had just enough cash and shared with someone– the cabs don’t take credit cards)… and ran in to just barely make my flight. I was no longer able to check my bag in– So I had to throw out all of my toiletries. The La Guardia airport TSA personnel are quite possibly the worst customer service brand ambassadors ever, by the way. Suffice it to say, it was an awful travel experience overall.
Whose fault is this? Delta Airlines, or Laguardia airport’s? Is it really possible that NO employees… or loyal customers of Delta… have ever indicated the difficulty to Delta?
I can’t imagine that La Guardia airport is the only airport which has this problem. Why would Delta leave it to their brand ambassadors– their employees, citizens of New York familiar with the airport layout, and airport/TSA personnel– to educate me that there are multiple terminals for the SAME airline?
How could this problem be solved? What if they just sent me a text message the morning of the flight that told me which terminal I had to go to? What if their subbrand was differentiated enough so as to not be confused with Delta? So that the busdriver would shout out “Delta, Terminal B…. (Sub-brand name goes here), Terminal A”.
Would this really be all that difficult?