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A Smartphone or the Underestimated Power of Visual Positioning

Do you remember when Steve Jobs presented the first iPhone in 2007? One, if not the most important slide he presented was the one showing three conventional smartphones from 2007. All these three smartphones had one thing in common, namely a keyboard. The iPhone was different. It didn't have one and thus also created a new design standard.

A Christmas brochure 2020

Last week, a folder from a major telecommunications provider was added to a daily newspaper as a supplement to the breakfast table. It presented the top smartphones for Christmas. The brands advertised were of course Apple, Samsung, Huawei, LG, OnePlus, ZTE, and Nokia. In total there were 16 similar devices. (Only Emporia, the seventeenth device used the image of a father with daughter on the screen).

The interesting thing from a brand perspective: all these 16 devices looked pretty much the same. If you sent out this folder (without the respective brand name on the devices) it would probably only be possible for hardcore insiders to identify the brands at first sight. (And even the Emporia image of a father with the daughter is far too generic from a brand perspective to really work as a visual positioning).

Brand instead of a screen saver

The central point: Today all modern smartphones look like or almost like an iPhone. This is not untypical, as success attracts imitators. So products become more similar over time. While in 2007 the iPhone was recognizable to everyone at first glance, today we have to take a closer look at it. That should not be the case.

One of the main reasons for this development is that apparently, a colourful screensaver on the display is more important than the brand. Here are three questions, the answers to which would interest me greatly from a brand perspective:

(1) Why doesn't Apple use the bitten apple as a screen saver on its iPhones?

(2) Why doesn't Samsung use a galaxy typical of the brand as its screen saver on the Samsung Galaxy?

(3) Why does OnePlus not use a brand logo as a screensaver that perfectly visualizes the brand name, i.e. a 1 with a plus sign?

Visual positioning

For brands such as Huawei, LG, ZTE, Nokia or Emporia it may be more difficult to find a strong visual positioning that hammers the brand name visually into our memory. For Apple, Samsung and OnePlus, on the other hand, this idea of visual positioning may be so obvious that it is already overlooked. Not a good idea! Because especially in a world in which products are becoming more and more similar, the brand on the products should make a big difference. The makers of smartphones should also bear this in mind!

Read the original German article here


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