Hello again Moto: Lenovo revives Motorola

Moto's MWC exhibit announcing the return of the brand

Lenovo has returned to prominence brands Moto, and Motorola in some markets, globally as a means of capitalising upon the recognition afforded by the retro brand.

The Drum caught up with Jan Huckfeldt, vice president and chief marketing officer of Motorola, at MWC to see just where the Motorola piece fits into the Lenovo jigsaw.

The Moto identity, batwings logo and sonic identity 'Hello Moto' has returned to the fold, in marketing and on products, contrasting with the announcement it would close up the Motorola brand, made in November: “Although it will not be the focus of our marketing, it will continue to be used on packaging and elsewhere, so as to ensure that the rich history and association is never lost. The legacy and the goodwill associated with the Motorola brand will also live on through our licensees.”

On the miscommunication, Huckfeldt admitted: “We had in the past said that we would no longer use the brand, we see this very differently now, ultimately it is a brand that lives in the hearts and minds of the consumer, what lives in them is Motorola, when they think of the smartphone brand they think of Motorola, it would be foolish to dismantle that.

“We will build on it, like in the heydays, some ten years ago, with the Razr, there were many executions were you see the branding and Razr, Motorola was not mentioned but everyone was thinking Motorola.”

Moto offers a level of brand recognition and awareness Lenovo would struggle to reach, especially in the Americas, claimed Huckfeldt.

On the duplicitous nature of the brand, Jo Moore, worldwide executive brand director at Lenovo, likened Motorola and Moto to Coca-Cola and Coke, Budweiser and Bud: “Everyone likes to shorten names, branding is shorthand, whether its visual or sonic or a name, you get there, the two are interchangeable, if people call it Moto or Motorola, it is ultimately one in the same. People will always have that.

“The heart of our brand is the never-stand-still-spirit, we are constantly innovating and changing and tweaking, hence so is our identity. Nimble and quick, as opposed to on older brand that is set in its way."

The company is targeting ‘eccentrics’ with its ‘Different is Better’ strapline, Huckfeldt said: “We have a visual identity and personality that is distinctive from the competition and we took the attitude if the challenger brand," as part of this challenge it launched an assault on Samsung and Apple and the US with the following Skip The Sevens TV ad – extended edition below.”

It also continued the attack with print ads in the NYT and WSJ.

He added that Lenovo and Moto bring different products and marketing tones, ultimately attracting separate demographics: “there’s as little cannibalization as possible”.

And it looks like there’s more changing and tweaking to come. Earlier this year, Lenovo was named as the number one Chinese global brand builder by WPP-owned Kantar Millward Brown’s report BrandZ, that looks to have been accelerated by the aforementioned Moto announcement.

It follows a Mobile World Congress defined by a single public relations masterclass – the return of the Nokia 3310, manufactured under license by HMD Global. The product, has shown that mobile users are looking to return to their clunky, analogue roots.

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