Smartphones are as integral to everyday living as internet is to business. While the world’s been entertained by the war between Samsung and Apple, Huawei beat Apple as the second largest smartphone producer.

This by and large is due to the innovation at the company and their dual brand approach. So I decided to connect with Eva Wimmers, President Europe Huawei HONOR and a powerful influencer in the world of tech on what we can expect in 2018.

S: What were the reasons behind a dual brand and product range at Huawei, namely Huawei and Honor?
EW: The dual brand strategy is a good way to address different target groups product-wise, communication-wise, and media-wise in a more relevant and credible way. Top brands follow this route, like BMW and Mini, Lancome and  L’Oréal, Nike and Converse, and Huawei and Honor. Huawei is a premium smartphone, tablet, laptop and wearable brand offering the right product for every target group.

Honor was born for the young digital natives and digital immigrants with top notch technology innovation smartphones and other lifestyle innovation products around that tech savvy and lifestyle savvy community. Our customers tend to use the camera, social media and video rather than making phone calls and sending text messages. We are a community, not a piece of hardware. At Honor, the complete customer journey is online, as this is where our core target group spends their time, even though we have a few offline retail partners. What we share between the brands is the technical R&D and the logistics, but Honor has its own portfolio and design team.

Top brands follow this route, like BMW and Mini, Lancome and L’Oréal, Nike and Converse, and Huawei and Honor.

S: What are the inherent differences between the Honor online community and those of OnePlus, Xiaomi and Samsung? What should social media and community managers keep in mind to develop a truly engaged network who become brand ambassadors in return.
EW: Honor is a global brand, already launched in more than 75 countries with a brand positioning that caters to different nationalities: Honor – for the Brave. We have more than 100 million users globally and more than 1 million hard core fans in Western Europe, speaking with us every week.  Other Chinese community brands were born for the Chinese community and need to adapt their activities, positioning and product appeal now one by one to the other markets. They mostly address the lower price segments in smartphones, so they currently do not compete directly in our core target group. Honor’s key competitors are more rather high end phones.

Honor is the community and the community is Honor, so we always make sure we are really speaking on an eye-to-eye level with our very proficient customers and fans. Fans are not your amplified tool like the whole KOL (Key Opinion Leader) hype suggests, they are part of our product development process, communication process and friends to hang out with at our online and offline activities. Our brand is also just growing up like many of our customers, so we try to be as authentic as we can be. If we mess up, we apologize and  learn. If we do great, we celebrate together. Our content can be entertaining, funny, interesting, polarizing, educational, technical, fashionable, or party driven at times – it is not about our brand on that level, but about our attitude: For the Brave.

S: Machine learning, AI assistants and chabots are all the rage, especially in the world of retail and consumer products. Will Honor also follow suit of its parent company with regards to the AI chipset Huawei plans to launch?
EW: In this fast moving digital consumer products world, you need to be on trend and our tech savvy target audience always expects the latest in features, technology, design and continuous innovation in our products. Honor was the brand that introduced the dual camera and lens in the global market 1,5 years ago before large brands followed a year later. So our products differentiate through trendy design and are equipped with newest technology and best usability even for the not so proficient user, eg. in the camera – the software understands lighting, distance and apertures while most of us only snap shoot pictures nowadays and still want them to look great instantly.

Actually, with Honor  we launched our first AI device in DEC 2016 already – the Honor Magic. So far we have not launched it in Europe, though.

Honor was the brand that introduced the dual camera and lens in the global market 1.5 years ago before large brands followed a year later

Also read our interview with Mascha Driessen, Sr. Director Strategic Search at Microsoft and her views on AI Assistants, Chatbots and Advertising

S: Omnichannel marketing is a buzz every company talks of, yet many are still developing new practices to strengthen their brand engagement and access to new customers. What are your experiences and what practices have you put in place to compete with the established and more recent brands.
EW: True, it is a buzz word and can and should be interpreted in many different ways. Our omnichannel is not a traditional one, as we are a brand who mostly work with e-marketing. So we have a digital omnichannel in place. With our strong community we have managed to create multiple touch points, not just sales, where we interact with the fans and give them the real honor experience. A customer touch point can be many different things.

S: What incremental and real innovations do you envision in mobile advertising in 2018? 
EW: I’m a huge fan of content. Technology allows today to maintain a mobile video strategy on youtube, snapchat or vine to be watched and consumed by viewers on the go in fluid picture and video quality. In content, it is important to find the right approach to be credible to your brand and credible in the community you want to address. This is not always easy. When I was at GamesCom with Honor a few weeks ago, I saw a few poor attempts by banks and insurance companies that neither represented their brand well nor did it fit into that hard core gamer environment. The issue is, that with this target group, the money invested does not just go useless on you, if poorly implemented, but it actually pays to make that target group actively dislike you.

Honor 9i

So as technology enables us now, in digital advertising and in content, we will start moving from pictures to video and from text to voice, so video ads vs. picture ads for example. Voice search for example. will be a complete game changer for all parts of marketing. Maybe not so much in 2018, but growing in the next years. Imagine if you look for a new espresso-machine in 2020, you will ask your voice PA i.e. Alexa for the best espresso maker. It will know the top 5 you will ask if any of your facebook or instagram friends likes one of those machines. Then you can order directly to your home and it may be there within 2 hrs. Imagine what all this means to the world of affiliate marketing, to SEO and everyone else who sell on pages your PA did not recommend.

S: Recently Huawei’s Honor 8 Pro has been recognized for its innovation and performance by the European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA) as the Consumer Smartphone 2017-2018. Congratulations to you and the team!
What new features and upgrades should we expect in the smartphone industry in 2018?
EW: Thank you, we are very proud of that award. It is important to us to innovate on the feature side, like we did with the dual camera. Today, smartphones  have features, power and speed that were unthinkable only 5 years ago. However, for the savvy user there is also a whole world around improving usability and also around how the smartphone makes our lives better and how it eliminates more and more things from my purse. I’d love to see the day when I will use it as my door key and my all in one wallet so that the only thing I carry most of the time is my smartphone. In China, you can pay in most supermarkets, coffee shops etc. with your smartphone already.

You can also read the Research into cashless payments in China

Huawei grew to be a multi-billion technology leader on creating top notch technology infrastructure for network providers for mobile, fixed line and internet communication before we became a consumer brand 7 years ago. The connection between the two drives our innovation thinking and produces high quality devices. AI is of course one of the markets big developments. And I mean AI, not IA = Intelligent Assistant as some interpret AI. I see us as the technology providers behind it and we are in close cooperation with our large corporate customers to develop solutions.
Also, AR is a big trend. If you walk over a trade show on these topics, you will see that industry and b2b are already majorly invested in these new technologies. We as a smart phone company have to meet the needs of the industry 4.0 as well as the needs that the rising number of b2c customers bring to the market.

Eva Wimmers - Honor

Don’t miss your opportunity to meet Eva in person and learn more on developing a disruptive and creative leader in your market segment at Savage Marketing 2018 Conference. Sign up to receive a notification when a new speaker is confirmed here.

 

 

 

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