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HTC Change Robert Downey Jr

Was marketing to blame for HTC’s problems?

After launching major brand campaigns and signing on Robert Downey Jr. for US$12 million, HTC is saying its marketing was poorly done.

Just over two years ago, the brand supplied one in every 10 smartphones sold around the world, according to Reuters. But by 2013 its global market share had fallen to just 2 %  said the article. HTC has also reported its second straight quarter of operating losses.

Co-founder and chairwoman Cher Wang admitted that marketing was an area that the company “didn’t do well” in 2013.

This was despite the fact it had earlier launched a new global campaign in August that year, “Here’s to Change” after dropping its “Quietly Brilliant” slogan in March.

Last year, HTC also reportedly spent US$12 million signing on actor Robert Downey Jr. for a two year period.  Meanwhile in New York, in an attempt to boost its digital engagement with consumers, HTC also launched “The Most Beautiful Smartphone” campaign through an interactive outdoor billboard at Time Square.

However, it appears this wasn’t enough – not translating to strong sales for its flagship HTC One phone. Company executives added that HTC needs a “very aggressive campaign” to broaden its market beyond tech-savvy 20 to 30-year-olds.

It is now heavily targeting the mid-tier market, launching products in the US$150 to US$300 range in both its emerging and developed markets, expecting that the higher volumes of cheaper phones would make up for the difference in price with its higher-end phones. Its higher-end phones sell at prices of US$600 and over.

It has also signed a patent and technology collaboration agreement with Nokia and settled patent disputes between two companies. Effectively, this means that the two would be collaborating on HTC’s LTE patent portfolio and could explore future technology collaboration opportunities.

HTC has also entered into a strategic partnership with China Mobile and launched HTC One Max as the first TD-LTE device in China.

The company has also already introduced new additions to its mid-range product portfolio across Europe, Asia and Middle East in an attempt to gain market share.

A HTC spokesperson told Marketing, however, that its HTC One and HTC Desire series are selling well in Singapore, though he did not offer figures. He also declined to comment on future business plans.

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