Keynote Focus: Nokia and The Social Business of Being a Global Brand.


SMW13 started today in London and other 7 cities around the world. SMW founder & CEO, Toby Daniels, kicked it off with a great interview with Craig Hepburn, Global Director, Digital & Social Media at Nokia, longtime friend and one of the men that helped drive and inspire Nokia from its toughest moments to the Microsoft acquisition.

Between 2008 and 2013, a lot has changed in the IT industry that has affected our society in ways nobody had anticipated. New players, new technology and an incredibly more demanding audience forced everyone to challenge themselves. That affected deeply the mobile industry too. Nokia lost longterm #1 position while still making incredibly good hardware. So they doubled down on mission, partnerships and more importantly on building a new relationship with their customers. We asked Craig what challenges they had to face in this period of time, how they reorganized themselves to turn around a potentially dangerous situations and found a new way for the company to adjust to the change of times.

The answer is easy but not immediate: they focused on product and rebuilt their image from scratch. From the overarching strategical approach, embracing social and digital in the company as a whole (top management included!), investing in the info structure, redesigning their marketing strategy, changing their entire mindset, to the more tactical things like putting feeds of social networks on screens on the walls of the HQ, connecting with VIPs, creating strong advocacy programs, building the app ecosystem, and yes, partnering with SMW of course! The shift in thinking, in behavior and in mindset, really moved the needle for Nokia.

The Instagram case is one exampleof how they put these principles into place. The absence of Instagram from WP has been a huge pain point for both consumers and Nokia. So they put themselves out there, approaching the problem in a very public, transparent way [foto],  they invested in the ecosystem and brought the app to WindowsPhones (well an unofficial app, but approved by Systrom). There’s still a common misperception that WindowsPhones does not have a strong ecosystem. And that might have been true in the past. But we took a look at what key apps are missing now and we honestly couldn’t find any. As Craig pointed out 90% of the big apps are on WindowsPhones.

A new era
So where is Nokia heading now? The best manufacturer marries a strong and powerful software house, and the possible outcomes are not hard to see. The Lumia 1020 is an awesome device [review link], and people who tried it loved it. And, have you seen the “imitation is the best for of flattery” campaign [foto]? Like the Oreo Tweet it went viral because it was genuine,[link]. In Craigs words “we didn’t anticipate that [..] and we hope that more of this stuff will happen”. And that’s just the start. Nokia’s problem was to getting the device in people’s hands, which any marketer knows costs a great deals of money. Miscrosoft will make that possible. This is a great opportunity and a new start. In the Game of Phones you win or you die. Or you make alliances. Together this 2 houses are pretty powerful.

Takeaways from the conversation

Here are 21 takeaways from the conversation with one of the leaders who brought Nokia from a possible BlackBerry scenario” to being among the 3 best mobile phone player again:

  1. When you get started with digital and social you need to understand that social is not so much about FB or tactical things but about transparency and openness
  2. Make big part of the senior management understand that SM has to be part of the strategy (Nokia management did a great job at that we have to say!)
  3. Do things with innovative content and push content into other networks
  4. Build advocacy, be more open
  5. Understand what “build on social media” really means (if you are confused on what that means see #5)
  6. Make a shift in the mindset is the though part from tradition to digital
  7. Sit down with  a lotos people in the industry (included who don’t really understand or lie social) and t their feedback, tried to explore scenarios with them, explain the advantages of social media and suggest ideas.
  8. Don’t try to be the smartest one in the room, be humble listen to what people have to say .
  9. Social media is not just hiring a guy who can tweet. It’s a great medium. Invest in it at a local AND global level
  10. Build the infrastructure, to enable your company to really embrace it
  11. Make social media visually appealing & digestible (we’ve all struggled at some point with the abstractness of it)
  12. Make your team and the entire organization part of the process
  13. Built a huge database of the most influential people in the world
  14. Invest in advocacy: when launching a new product make sure there are VIPs and not only press and media in the room (you need the real people who will use it!)
  15. Build a great team that is passionate about what they’re building  (that’s the starting point but it’s always a good reminder)
  16. Build relationships, it’ll drive your company forward
  17. Put devices (or any other product) in the advocates’ hands, let them be our voice. No need to pay them
  18. Unlearn the way the things were done
  19. Think about how to build engagement and have that drive all your departments’ strategies
  20. Be transparent, direct, honest with your consumers
  21. Beware of vanity metrics–you need to do more that just have a fan base. Address problems upfront with engagement metrics underneath

All the above are the reasons why Nokia got involved with SMW: to meet people, start conversations, build relationships, engage people in the physical world, so that it becomes more meaningful when you engage them online.

And what we do here at SMW is help foster conversations and build true relationships with our audience around the world that helps them better understand how tech is impacting their industry, to grow their business and be better at their jobs. And that’s why we work so well together.

Social Media Week