Wednesday, 12 June 2013

personal or celebrity MVNO Jennifer Lopez mobile mvno marketing

One of my more popular posts of just over a year ago was around the plans for Samuel Eto'o to Launch an MVNO in his native Cameroon, and it was for good reason: there is a lot of mileage in the personal mvno, or as it is now becoming more commonly referenced as celebrity MVNO.

So along comes Jennifer Lopez and announces an Hispanic MVNO or strategic alliance with Verizon to sell phones. What is more interesting about the JLO mobile deal however are two things: firstly that there have already been some Hispanic MVNO plays in the US market with Movida, Tuyo and Dexa among others, and secondly that it is in a market and host operator that has done this kind of thing before... yes, I am saying it will take a little longer to launch (the first) MVNO in Cameroon than an existing model, in an established market with a celebrity twist.
MVNOs need more than just a brand now, they need a brand that plays in many spaces and moves forward
This Celebrity twist may be the key, as so far the Hispanic MVNOs have had initial success, but ultimately have failed, and this is due to a mixture of two things:
  1. The customer outgrowing the brand: most Ethnic MVNOs sell on the USP of having a native language IVR, something which a customer can quickly outgrow
  2. Most MVNOs are very good at getting the first customers on board, the early adopter, however those that fail typically do so due to not evolving the product marketing to the second wave of "me-too" and mass market
So how can someone like JLO help? well it depends on how much she is involved, but on a simplistic level the customer is less likely to outgrow the product when they ground themselves in their environment.

Secondly, if someone like Jennifer Lopez is involved in the product cycle, even if at a very high level like the Intel innovation can really help to keep the customer engaged and the product evolved for longer.

You only have to Google "Jennifer Lopez Enterprises" to uncover companies such as BioWE, Nuyorican productions (nice!) and more, all this can add a much needed injection of ongoing product development and innovation to a mobile model, both the MNO and MVNOs that is in need of a different approach to product development and innovation that the new wave of celebrity or personal MVNO could add.

The celebrity in technology is not new, Clive Sinclair was the centre of the ZX spectrum,
The entrepreneur behind the spectrum was key, tho not enough for his next venture, the C5
Richard Branson was as bigger part of the value of Virgin Mobile as the trade mark itself, even beyond its native brand strong-hold, the UK
Launch publicity like this costs millions... or you can hand a celebrity / personality behind the brand from a rope!
Steve Jobs was the centre of Apple's ability to enter the mobile space that everybody, and it is hard to believe, everybody thought they would fail at. Indeed the then Nokia CEO famously expressed; "if I launched a 2G phone with those specs..." (the first iPhones were technically behind, but the OS and eco system more advanced, driven by vision, not typical technology product development.
Steve Jobs, and his vision of UX and eco system over hardware, were key to the success of  the iPhone
and many of the Victorian industrial revolutionists were a key part of the evolution of the brand and products and innovations. the Rocket, is not known as the rocket, but Stephenson's Rocket
Rocket? ah... you mean Stephenson's rocket!
The ideal is to return to business to attract the right people, which will happen, but in today's safe, grey and boring corporate world were management salaries are lagging, the talent is elsewhere and in entrepreneurial roles, and recruiting celebrities and personalities to inject a bit of life into your technology product is no bad thing.