‘Why Motorola returned to Nigeria’

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Marcel Van De Pas


Marcel Van De Pas is the Business Operations and Development Manager, Motorola Africa. He spoke with ADEYEMI ADEPETUN, on Motorola’s return to Nigeria’s bourgeoning smartphone market and plans to phase out Lenovo and retain Motorola as the brand’s identity. Excerpts:

Motorola was one of the mobile phones that pioneered Nigeria’s telecoms revolution, but went under after some time. Now, the phone is back in the country. Why did you return?
First of all, Motorola Mobility changed hands twice but with Google for about year, and later had an agreement with Lenovo, and purchased it from Google, and then passed to Motorola. As it was done with IBM acquisition, it will take some time to complete the integration. Lenovo has taken its time to do the integration, I think it took two and half years, and it is now the right time to re-launch the brand and come out.
 
This also came with transition planning between Lenovo portfolios line up to be prepared for Motorola products. It was earlier in the year at the Mobile World Congress that we made public that we shall brand our entire portfolio Motorola, because we believe with Motorola and Moto, we have a very strong brand proposition and in terms of product quality and R and D. With the acquisition of Motorola Mobility, we did not only get the brand license, we also got 3000 top notch R and D engineers in Chicago, working on Motorola products, not on Lenovo products. So, we concluded that since we are returning to the market, let’s use full Motorola brand, and we changed the portfolio away from Lenovo. All that takes time, but we are ready now. We are phasing out the entire Lenovo brand by the end of this year that means that after this year, we will not bringing any more Lenovo products into Nigeria. Customers can still buy Lenovo products till Christmas time and service continues on Lenovo products. It is still the same service partners whether for the premium brand Motorola or warranty promise for Lenovo products. There are seven repair centres in Nigeria managed by Nigerian partners.

Looking at the acquisition, the name Lenovo is still waxing strong, why adopt Motorola as brand name?
Lenovo is our endorser brand; it is where our heritage is. If you look at the PC environment, it is where we built both a strong and agreeable brand. So, bringing in Motorola just built on mobility, reliability, value, which also form the 85 year history of Motorola really sits well with now having Lenovo brand, which brings the credibility we are talking about.

  
For us, it becomes a smooth transition for the consumer as well. So, they will buy into Motorola, because of its rich history, but also there is credibility around the Lenovo brand, as our endorser brand.  Even if you look at our communication, you will see Motorola and Lenovo and that is important to us.
 
Lenovo is about $45billion Company with 55,000 employees serving customers in more than 60 countries. In terms of the Global Fortune 500, over the last three years, we have grown from number 370 to 202. Our goal is to be among the top 100 in the Global 500 companies and that is under the Lenovo umbrella. Keeping Lenovo brand around Motorola also gives us trust that Motorola is been managed by one of the biggest companies in the world.

What are you offering now with the new Motorola products?
The uniqueness of Motorola comes with what we call, the ‘Motorola Experiences.’ And coming with the experience we have had with Google, we are coming with pure Android. Most of the brands we have now run on nougat  and Android 7, which gives certain advantages and on top, we have added some extra experiences. We have brought new innovations that you cannot get from other brands.

How will you acquire sufficient market share amidst the numerous brands in the market?
I think time will tell as we grow the brand in Nigeria and Africa. If you look at the sentiment of the brand, consumers still believe in it from the time Motorola used to be in the country and now. Customers can recall the brand; they equally know that Motorola is disruptive in nature. If we go back to the days of the Razor brand, it was disruptive and people bought into it immediately. The same will happen with the set of smartphones we are bringing into the country. Nigerians are looking for trusted brand, and that we have in Motorola and that also forms part of why we have returned to the market powerfully. With Motorola, you can sleep at night, there is no problem, your alarm clock will work in the morning and your battery will last two days.   

  
Motorola has been known to have disruptive capability and highly innovative. Those are the two pillars that will make us highly competitive. We have seen that practicality makes technology easy. We have demonstrated this on the new products that we have brought into the Nigerian market. We have made the new devices to be part of your life style. We have understudy the Nigerian market very well and we have discovered that being innovative, disruptive and making technology a lot more consumer-centric and lifestyle oriented will do the magic. Nigeria remains a good market, an investor’s delight any time.
 
For the past 10 years, all the Smartphone in the market have been coming with the same feature, but with the new Motorola, we are changing new things. For us, the consumers are more important and we regard them as an intimate part of our business. When it comes to our dealers, we want to give them a source of confidence that our brand is here and we come to them with credible products.

The purpose of this launch is to make them have a sense of comfort that Motorola is a brand in this particular market and as we are a global brand, we want to put our product in this market. Our products are high range and with valued pricing. Our target is to give customers the right brand of products.



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