HTC ‘firing on all cylinders’ to reverse financial slump

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Year-on-year profits down by 91.5 per cent in Q1, but Q2 expected to show improvements

HTC says it is now “firing on all cylinders” to help drive sales and boost its brand awareness.

The comments were made by HTC CEO Peter Chou (pictured), who was speaking as the manufacturer’s financial woes reached a new low, with profits dipping by 91.5 per cent year on year.

But Chou, who was addressing the media from the company’s headquarters in Taiwan, said recent efforts to improve its marketing strategy will be key to turning its fortunes around.

In January, Chou blamed HTC’s 90 per cent decline in quarterly profits on a “lack of marketing” of its brand and products.

The company appointed Benjamin Ho as its chief marketing officer to lead a project called ‘Marketing 2.0’, refocusing HTC’s efforts around holistic marketing and mass-market brand outreach.

Chou revealed in those three months, digital marketing spend increased by 250 per cent, and there was a 100 per cent increase in traditional media marketing, focused predominantly on driving sales of the HTC One.

The device is said to have broken all previous records on pre-orders, and UK and EMEA head Philip Blair suggested last month it is on track to become HTC’s fastest-selling handset of all time, branding it “the world’s best smartphone”.

Ho also took the decision to retire its ‘quietly brilliant’ slogan after a decade.

Strong momentum

Chou said: “We are going to run a very successful campaign on the marketing side and on the sales side. So we are firing on all cylinders.

“We expect this to be a very crucial quarter, coming out strong with momentum sustaining until the third quarter.

“Brand awareness is so important for us given a lot of suppliers are coming out strong and there is no differentiation in the market. That’s why we are extremely focused on getting better brand awareness. We are doing this through design innovation of the HTC One.

“And, of course, we also know that we have to greatly improve our go-tomarket approach in terms of marketing, in terms of channel. We have made great improvements in terms of HTC marketing and execution.

“This is probably the first time HTC has developed an HTC brand, and we are able to really integrate the brand, product and marketing execution all together at one time.”

HTC chief financial officer Chia-Lin Chang added: “We have improved a lot. We have a very good marketing strategy as well as execution strategy to support our HTC One launch. We are pretty confident this marketing campaign will propel us to the next level.

“It’s very important once you start launching the product, to have strong momentum coming out of the gate and to sustain that. So, we believe our spending has been optimal to support sales momentum.”

Full article in Mobile News issue 539 (May 20, 2013).

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