Engadget had an exclusive interview with Stephen Elop, CEO and President of Nokia, where a lot of information is revealed about Nokia’s U.S debut. Of course nothing specific was revealed, but I have to say that certainly more information than usual was given: that might be a sign that Elop has very concrete plans and can talk with confidence about them–very reassuring to hear from a company that seemed to randomly steer in a sea of confusion just months ago.
The most important detail that was given is Nokia will enter the American market by early 2012 with multiple operators. We used to know the first detail, but not the second one. We don’t know a specific number, but ‘multiple’ certainly sounds like more than two. In order to make the U.S take-over successful, Elop revealed that Nokia will make the “necessary” investment in marketing: something that Nokia has never done in the U.S.
Elop then talks about the exclusive partnership with ESPN they announced a few weeks ago. Nokia agreed to ship Lumia products with an exclusive ESPN application, and by exclusive they mean no other Windows Phone manufacturer is getting it. There was a demo over at Nokia World; I got to try the app and have to admit it’s impressive. However, not much attention was given to the ESPN app after it was introduced: it’s certainly cool but nothing that would drive significant sales. But now the app and the partnership retake a whole new level of importance as there is a clever strategy behind it, it basically goes like this: ESPN is a very well known brand in the U.S while Nokia is not. What the partnership attempts to do is “exchange” popularity and credibility for each company. The goal is for people here in the U.S (who for the most part *love* sports) to have yet another compelling reason to buy the smartphone from the manufacturer that just came into the game. In exchange, Nokia will “force” the ESPN app in Europe and other parts of the world so those interested in sports can get their fix. Sounds like a really good strategy; Nokia could certainly benefit from marketing that specific exclusive app here in the U.S right before the important sporting events season in early 2012, which is when Nokia is debuting in the American market. Wouldn’t it be nice to see Nokia ads playing in the SuperBowl XLVI featuring some clever and funny scene that relates to the exclusive ESPN app on Nokia phones? That certainly sounds like the “necessary” marketing investment Elop was talking about.