When I first heard that Nokia was re-launching the 3310 I felt mixed emotions. As a lover of retro technology, it made me smile and I was instantly taken back to one of those insanely long games of Snake I used to enjoy.
But soon after I started to question how far nostalgia really goes in terms of boosting sales. Yes, a lot of people have shown an 'interest' so far in the 3310 (according to Google search results and the Carphone warehouse), but how many consumers will end up parting with their cash and give up their beloved Samsung's and Apple's in exchange for a product first released in 2000? Lots, perhaps? I guess we will have to wait and see but I think it's an interesting strategy in 2017.
With so much hype around IoT, Industry 4, smart factories, digital manufacturing (and any other buzz word you care to throw in) you have to stop and wonder if we're all heading in the right direction. Are we racing to invent a product we 'think' our customers want instead of stepping back and reacting to what they need? Have you been guilty in the past of re-designing a product just to keep up with the competition? Do all those extra 'features' really need to be crammed into the PCB and how many do you think the end user cares about? Is now the time to dust off the drawings for your 2004 'best seller' and give it a facelift?
Regardless of which side of the technology timeline you find yourself on, the pace of change remains fascinating. And as Nokia's chief marketer Barry French touches on in this article, it's imperative to make sure your message is clear and your market understands where you are heading - even if that's back in time.
But Nokia’s chief marketer Barry French is concerned. He fears the interest in the 3310 shows people “don’t understand who we are today” or how much it has evolved away from being a mobile phone business in the last 12 months. Speaking to Marketing Week, he says: “If you look at Nokia today we are so much more than a lovely 3310 or Nokia 6, the vast business of Nokia is making networks work really well. We’re a $24bn business and the amount that comes from mobile phones is fairly small.” With Nokia moving into 5G, wearables, VR and the internet of things, French has a job to do in protecting the Nokia brand and says he works “closely with [HMD Global] because we are sensitive about our brand and how it is portrayed”.