How can a brand drive understanding of its purpose and be perceived as a thought leader when none of the traditional mechanisms for changing perception are available?
Nokia: familiar to all, understood by few
Nokia is a brand that billions of people feel is familiar to them. But after a series of significant business transformations, many of Nokia’s audiences were unsure of what the brand stood for or even what business it was in. Against this background Nokia needed to raise its profile as a thought leader, drive understanding of its purpose and create fertile ground for the reentry of its brand into the consumer market — all without access to the traditional change mechanisms of advertising, new product launches and identity change. Nokia turned to one agency to tackle that challenge: Lippincott.
Connecting themes and memes
The company’s newly adopted purpose — To enable the human possibilities of technology — was founded on the belief that the wave of technological change sweeping the world had challenges as well as possibilities. Nokia believed it wasn’t enough to simply ride the wave. It should be shaped, by all of us, for the benefit of mankind.
At the same time as people were considering their perspective on WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden, there was a prominent open letter warning of the dangers of Artificial Intelligence; the European Union was considering the “Right to be Forgotten” privacy and security question; there was a steady, almost daily drumbeat of financial and e-commerce security breaches; and a significant proportion of Hollywood and TV output was exploring the relationship between technology and humanity. The relationship was and still is, the meme of our time.
We conceived a solution to the challenge that brought what was happening in society, politics and media together with Nokia’s new purpose. We created a global debate about the possibilities and concerns of the relationship between technology and people and placed Nokia at the heart of it.
Barry French, Nokia’s chief marketing officer, said: “As the role of technology continues to expand our lives, we feel it’s time to start a conversation to ensure that technology serves humanity and not the other way around. Our aim is to expand the human possibilities of the connected world and, true to that vision, we look forward to the future with a desire to talk about both the challenges and extraordinary potential of our path ahead.”
Kick-starting the debate
We reasoned that the debate would have more power to command interest, encourage partnerships and earn media if we followed four principles:
Current: It tapped into current concerns that were being explored in the public domain.
Controversial: It was unafraid of argument and controversy.
Considered: It had content created by globally respected thought leaders.
Celebrity: It included high-profile people who would attract attention in their own right.
We therefore opened the maketechhuman debate by partnering with WIRED and asking 20 thought leaders at TED 2015 what excited and worried them about technology and used this as content to seed the debate.
The number of press and social media impressions generated by the maketechhuman campaign.
The percentage of people aware of the campaign that actively engaged in the debate.
The percentage increase in people that consider Nokia a thought leader in technology.
Over the year
Over the course of a year the debate became multi-platform. An online hub was created for articles and interviews alongside a series of events in the United States, China, India, Finland and Brazil. The debate featured podcasts from Monica Lewinsky on cyberbullying and privacy, the United States Chief Technology Officer, Megan Smith and two Reddit AMAs (Ask Me Anythings) with Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Stephen Hawking. We also created a showcase for community-nominated influencers who have used technology to impact humanity. We summarized the issues and implications uncovered over the year in an e-book.
maketechhuman placed Nokia at the heart of the world’s hottest tech debate.
The campaign drove over 1.5 billion press and social media impressions and 1.5 million digital engagements. Stephen Hawking’s Reddit AMA was the second most popular ever, with 58 percent of its social media impressions citing Nokia’s brand. A WIRED readership survey found that 87 percent of the people aware of the campaign had engaged in the debate through discussions, articles, podcasts and sharing content — and 31 percent had improved their opinion of Nokia because of it. And perhaps the strongest measure of the campaign’s impact was the 33 percent increase in those familiar with the debate viewing Nokia as a thought leader in technology.