The Nokia Asha Touch range of smartphones has been a big success all over the world since they were first released last summer.
One country where the people have taken the phones to their hearts is in Russia, where, for the six months after launch, the Nokia Asha 311 was consistently the number one, top-selling device at its price point (4,990 roubles, about 125 euros) and in the top 3 of all smartphones sold by volume.
There are several factors why Asha Touch has proved so popular in Russia: clever marketing, the launch of special ‘Nokia Charme’ editions, 40 free EA Games and of course, the inherent features and brilliance of the devices themselves.
In an interview with Conversations, Irina Nechaeva, Nokia Russia’s head of marketing says:
“The key to our success is that it’s a very affordable and easy-to-use smartphone.”
“In Russia there is a very big percentage of feature phone users who aspire to own a smartphone but have limited budgets so they are concerned that it would be too difficult to switch.
“Also, the Nokia brand is still quite important in our market, so a smartphone from Nokia was a big driver.”
The Russian market
Irina told me that as of February 2013, Russia’s mobile phones market consisted of 39% smartphones and 61% in mobile phones. Clearly, that leaves a lot of people who are still eager to experience their first touchscreen smartphone.
From the beginning, Asha Touch devices were positioned as entry-level smartphones in Russia. The slogan for the campaign was a Russian phrase with a double meaning: affordable and easy to use:
Мир смартфонов стал доступным
This slogan turned out to be ‘perfect’ for the campaign.
“Asha consumers in Russia are a bit older and are first-time smartphone buyers. A lot of them fear that if they buy a smartphone, it will be too difficult to use. Of course, when they use a Nokia Asha it is really easy,” says Irina.
The Russian Nokia Asha project team of 12 also found clever ways of making the devices visible to large audiences, such as the Nokia Asha 311 being regularly used in a popular TV shows, like “Dom 2” and “Big dances”.
Another innovative approach that has contributed to the strong momentum behind Asha Touch in Russia was the introduction of Nokia Asha Charme.
These are special editions of the Nokia Asha 311, the Asha 308 and Asha 309, decorated in a pretty floral pattern of chrysanthemums aimed directly at women.
The pattern on the cover of the phone is complemented with additional elements such as special screensavers, wallpapers and pre-loaded, local social networks.
The availability of Nokia Asha Charme smartphones coincided with Women’s Day in Russia, when it is traditional for men to buy women flowers and nice gifts. What could be nicer than a new smartphone?
Successful and important
The Asha Charme initiative – designed and managed entirely by the local team in Russia – has been a big success, with the potential to also be in used in China and other Asian countries.
Asha Touch isn’t just popular in Russia, but it’s important, too.
Many people buying Asha Touch smartphones will be connecting to the mobile Internet for the first time. This opens up a world of new possibilities and experiences for every Nokia Asha owner in Russia.