1 year ago

Day 6 - IFA International

  • Text
  • Smartphones
  • Products
  • Mobile
  • Smartphone
  • Berlin
  • Consumer
  • Global
  • Wireless
  • Ctia
  • Audio

Exclusive Interview Head

Exclusive Interview Head Monster Noel Lee Evangelises Collaboration Beats headphones co-founder tells how the audio market is evolving and how retailers can increase sales Monster founder Noel Lee started coming to IFA in the 1980s when he was selling high-end audio cables. Lee soon began to innovate, using his cable technology to create accessories like headphones and speakers. In 2006, when he co-founded Beats with Jimmy Iovine, the illustrious record producer, and rapper Dr Dre, Lee’s technology underpinned a headphone revolution. Monster has since parted ways with the brand, which Apple acquired recently for US.2 bn. Lee talks to us about his new strategy in retail Jimmy [Iovine] originally got into the hardware part of selling music because he had content. Today, download services are devaluating daily because you’ve got streaming for free… and no streaming company has ever made money. Jimmy had content that was also devaluating. So he and I, by starting Beats, allowed a content company to monetise the content, by selling speakers and headphones at the end. Our model now is to go to streaming companies, saying, “You want to profitise your music? You want to profitise on subscribers paying for your service? Let’s collaborate. Let’s talk”. We are also going to handset manufacturers. What we have created is an environment or a platform for innovation, creativity and collaboration. There is little point for us for example to start our own streaming audio service, because frankly we are of more value providing a revenue stream and a profit stream to the companies who do that. I would rather be in the background supporting them from a business model point of view. The way for a retailer to benefit from all this and to sell more headphones is to offer a streaming music service along with their headphones. They can tell their clients, “Buy the headphones from us, and we’ll give you a year’s worth of streaming music”. So instead of giving a discount on the headphones, which everybody has, you get a year’s free music. Now you have a platform for Our theme at this year’s IFA is the diversity of Monster, which isn’t just a headphone company collaboration between the streaming music company and the retailer that we help broker, and we benefit, because it’s our headphone. That’s an opportunity on a massive scale. This is suitable for bricks and mortar and telcos. So this fits in with your “powerful partners” concept? Exactly. Furthemore our collaboration with brands like Adidas or Chanel gives us a lot more brand caché than we could possibly do ourselves. All this makes Monster much bigger than Monster. When Adidas introduced their headphones with the Monster brand on it, it was cool. Is it Adidas promoting Monster, bringing more authenticity and caché to the Monster brand? You bet! Why is Monster now competing in the crowded wireless speaker market? We’re reinventing ourselves all the time. This is our 35th year in business. Our theme at this year’s IFA is the diversity of Monster, which isn’t just a headphone company. Our theme is that we uncommoditise products and innovate them. Bluetooth speakers, which we started five years ago, we kept quiet while others came out with a killer product with Superstar. So we’re more than a headphone company. With wireless speakers, we couldn’t just jump into the fray with everybody else. It had to be truly unique, something differentiated, because again, we’re looking to be one of the category leaders. But just like we did in the past, when we came out with Beats headphones and grew everybody’s market share, our idea is to grow the pie. With our SoundStage wireless speaker contribution, we think we’re going to significantly blow up the pie. Noel Lee Head Monster US companies can be the most innovative companies globally, but there are very few here. What should American companies be doing to be more global? They should go to IFA for one thing. It’s not so smart not being here. They should engage with press and let their presence be known, especially for smaller companies that don’t have a high profile. 8

Exclusive Interview It’s the Mid-market That Counts Alcatel onetouch works to strengthen brand image and “goes for the gap” Alcatel onetouch’s continuing growth in the smartphone market is testament to TCL Communications’ position as one of the largest CE companies in the world. Here Dan Dery, Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, Global Marketing & Products Centre with Alcatel onetouch, outlines the company’s strategy and products and its prime objectives for the future. Our main goal is to bring innovation to the mass market. We have two key products that we are announcing here. The first is the Hero 2 smartphone, which you could say is our phablet product. That’s a creativity tool that will enable people to do more and that’s a big innovation brought to the mass market. At the other extreme we have the Alcatel onetouch Pop 2. Our one aim at IFA is to bring an innovation that becomes a must-have and to make it extremely affordable to the mass market. Pop 2 brings 4G LTE and comes in many display sizes and colours. What are the ambitions of Alcatel onetouch on a global and European scale and what is your strategy to achieve those goals? We’re here to demonstrate that the biggest part of the market has not been well addressed so far in smartphones. What we try to do in the market is to design a product for those people who decide not to spend a fortune every two years on a smartphone. We are trying to be an H&M or a Zara – neither low cost, nor luxury, but that doesn’t prevent people who buy luxury products shopping there. Like them, we are trying to create a shopping experience that has a lot of choice, with pleasing colours and designs, and is very attractive to a broad spectrum of buyers. Consumers are interested in seeing what the smartphone can do for them but not necessarily interested in all the details of the technology. So we try to be very much downto-earth and consumercentric, explaining the direct benefits of the technology so that it makes sense to them and to offer quite a broad and flexible portfolio. What differentiates you from your competitors? One of the major differences is that we’re a global company, so we are very careful about quality, about experience and about how we develop and source the biggest part of the market has not been well addressed so far in smartphones and manufacture, because we actually own the whole value chain. We conceive, design, manufacture, develop, ship and do the customer support all on our own. We have a very structured strategy and very strict quality requirements. We have demonstrated our quality and growth in emerging markets – in Latin America, with very fast growth in the US and a long presence in Europe – so we are definitely global players. I guess IFA is ideal in terms of getting distribution channels? The main distribution channels for us have been carriers. There’s been a lot of change in Europe in the last few years especially the SIM-free market and the fact that retail has become a very important part of it. There is this different approach between the brick-and-mortar store and the way you shop online, so it is mandatory in our profession in the mass market to address all those trends. We need to make sure we have the proper products for carriers, because when we go down the carrier route, we are B2B2C. How successful are you with European retailers Dan Dery Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, Global Marketing & Products Centre, Alcatel onetouch as opposed to carriers? In Europe, we have the right balance now, when you look at our numbers, between what we are doing with carriers and with retail. You have retail with SIM card and retail with SIM-free, and there are a lot of different types of retailers – concentrating more on business or IT worlds. Smartphone is at the intersection of all those businesses. Retail and carrier are both equally important and it’s not going to change. We will never let down our carrier customers. IFA International • Wednesday 10 th September 2014 9

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