Vivo. Chances are you haven’t heard of this mobile company before the MWX 2018 (unless, of course, you are reading this post from India – more on that later though). Vivo has grabbed the world’s attention at the MWC 2018 by the launching the world’s first smartphone with a fingerprint sensor under the screen! They call it the “Vivo Apex”. No gadget lover expected this phenomenal launch from them – not from a phone company which mainly focuses on front-cameras, the selfie phones. Before the Vivo Apex, there wasn’t much to Vivo’s name, apart from their cameras. I should also mention at this point that Vivo’s market share in India has doubled to 10% of the total market share in 2017, which makes it the 3rd mobile phone company – after Samsung and Xiaomi. From nowhere to a market share of 10% in a span of 2 years is no easy task by any means. Vivo mobiles come from the house BBK Electronics who also markets OnePlus and Oppo. Let’s look at the journey of Vivo in the mobile world.
In the beginning,
Vivo entered the Indian smartphone by launching its flagship device X5Max in December 2014. Vivo began with the tagline “Live Smart, Play Smart“. The X5Max was the slimmest smartphone by that time. It wasn’t much of a success thanks to its price tag of over 30k. It did gain Vivo some attention, though.
After the flagship launch, Vivo launched a series of budget and mid-range phones such as Vivo Y series in early 2015 and the successful Vivo V5 in mid-2015 which brought the company a lot of fame and name. Though they launched a lot of phones in Vivo V and Y series, Vivo V5 was heavily promoted during the IPL cricket league and was one of their best selling phones both online and offline. They also started to manufacture and assemble their phones in India making good use of Make in India campaign and released their first assembled phone Vivo Y51L.
Heavy marketing and the Selfie Trend
From 2016, Vivo started to focus on selling and promoting its mid-range flagship the relaunched Vivo V5 instead launching more number of phones. Though they launched many low budget phones, they focused mainly on selling them over the counter rather than online – which is quite the different technique in comparison with its counterparts. Vivo V5 and Vivo v5 Plus were promoted by Moonlight Selfie front flash, which became a catchy phrase in the market. The Moonlight Selfie Vivo phones were well promoted through television media and their campaigns were a huge success which made them double their manufacturing power in India. They changed their tagline to Camera and Music, highlighting their Moonlight Selfie Cameras and Hi-Fi speakers.
From mid-2016 to 2017, they launched Vivo V5s, V5 Plus, V7 and the V7+. All the products were slowly promoted and received well, though there is a backlash from technical community opposing them and their brother company Oppo for launching mobiles that concentrate only on cameras and using outdated processors. At one point in time, their marketing was off the charts! For instance, I go to watch a movie, I see tonnes of Vivo billboards en route. I’m seated in the theatre – guess which commercial pops up? Vivo! Later I see a video commercial starring Ranveer Singh, their brand ambassador promoting the V7+. The movie is done, I come out of the theatre – I see a small mobile shop with a huge Vivo billboard sprawled across its top. You get the idea. Moreover, great commissions were offered to every sale of the mobile through offline mediums which increased their service throughout the country.
So, it gets us to today, where Vivo with all its antics, is still holding up strong. Though BBK Electronics’ modus operandi seems starkly different, they still seem to be doing fine. In fact, they seem to be playing quite the strategic game – with three different mobile brands, each with a very different marketing technique. They have, in fact, managed to target the market in a way no other company could even have imagined; with three different niches and price ranges. An Oppo onslaught on the lower price segment, a Vivo brand to offer an alternative to Oppo (Genius, right?), and the enigmatic OnePlus – which does not even advertise.
I can add little about their marketing techniques, but I will say is this – BBK Electronics is here to stay. They have steadily gained a strong hold on the Indian market. And with the OnePlus, they’ve gained quite the following worldwide. With the Vivo Apex, Vivo phones, meant for the middle price segment as they are, seem to be redeeming themselves, breaking from the shackles of the camera tag. Anyway, as the end-user, you should be happy that Vivo is stepping their game up. If nothing, it only means that other phones will compete that much harder – which is good news, one way or the other.