HTC to storm SA with One

2013-03-20 08:26
The HTC One will be launched in SA. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

The HTC One will be launched in SA. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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HTC One camera

2013-03-20 08:22

HTC's Jon French chats about the light sensor of the One smartphone in this YouTube video.WATCH

Johannesburg – HTC is on a charge to grow its user base in South Africa as the company prepares to launch its One in the local market.

"The last year has been a year of growth, but also learning as well, learning about the market, and learning a lot about ourselves, to be honest," Jon French, HTC vice president of sales and operations for the EMEA region told News24.

The One represents HTC's challenge to South Korean rival Samsung which launched the latest version of its Galaxy S smartphone.

Samsung dominates the Android market, even though HTC was one of the first manufactures to employ the mobile operating system on its devices.

In SA, HTC opened a dedicated office as the company looks to grow market share, but it has been difficult.

Marketing message

"You won't find many people in the organisation - in fact, anybody in the organisation - who's happy with the results over the last 12 months," said French.

He indicated that despite the impressive HTC hardware, the marketing message had not succeeded in creating brand awareness.

"We've got great products; we've got great features, and maybe we didn't communicate them as clearly as we should have done."

For the HTC One, expected in stores in May, the company plans a multi-layered campaign that will focus on the user experience of the device.

"We learned that lesson, so the marketing you'll see of the HTC one will be all around the features including the design as well.

"It’s a difficult thing to get across in advertising, but when you touch it; feel it, pick it up, it really does become a unique selling point for the product itself," French said of the unibody aluminium device.

HTC brand ambassadors are actively engaged in training store managers and staff on what the device offers as part of the company's strategy to grow its base.

Strategic planning

It has also employed a new distribution company that has a higher capacity to deliver devices to customers faster than was possible previously.

"I think where we're going to put our focus, our time, energy and our money, is making sure we get this product in the hands of people," said French.

He conceded that HTC had a smaller marketing budget than rivals, but insisted that strategic planning would see a growing footprint for the brand in SA.

"We're being quite selective with our partners, in trying to understand which of those stores, which of those channels, really sell HTC phones today."

French said that HTC's long term plan over the next year included a selective approach to maximise the move toward smartphones that could see more customers buying more HTC devices.

"We're not going to put everything on the table all at once in a kind of do-or-die approach. What we want to do is we want to focus our investments; focus our efforts with the customers."

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