In an effort to build brand loyalty, Intel is lobbying to get chipmakers prominently featured on our quintessential smartphones, Reuters reports. Intel is doing so by rebooting its 1991 “Intel Inside” marketing campaign, and hopes to bring the campaign to the U.S. next year.
This issue raises two questions, in my mind:
1. Do consumers really care whose logo is on the back of their phones?
Read this question carefully. Do not interpret it as, “Do consumers care which brand their phone is?” Of course we do. An iPhone is not a Samsung Galaxy, and users of each phone will passionately tell you why theirs is a winner. But it is not the logo on the back of the phone that separates these devices. It is in their internal structure and external flash, and logo or not, those elements do not change.
I’d argue that no, consumers aren’t picky about the little logo sketches on the back of their phones. As long as they have the brand they want—or the best functioning phone, whichever is more important to them—the logo is irrelevant. And probably going to be covered up by a case anyway.
2. How much brand loyalty will a chipmaker logo steal?
3 points to consider here:
- First, according to the Reuters article, “The highest-profile smartphone maker so far to use Intel’s branding is Google’s Motorola Mobility, which launched the Razr i in London on Sept 18.” Interesting that Google, as owner of Motorola, is unafraid to co-brand with Intel.
- The article also points out that Apple will never share branding on its devices, preferring to keep its brand loyalty all to itself. We’d expect as much.
- And lastly, the article makes the case that smartphone brands new on the market may find it beneficial to partner with a well-known brand such as Intel.
The fact that Google shared surface area with the Intel logo on its Razr i means Google is OK risking the deflection of brand loyalty from its own name to Intel’s. I do not think the deflection will hurt Google in any way. Intel and Google are not rivals, in this sense; Google is providing an operating system, and Intel the chip. Shuffling some of Google’s loyalists toward Intel should not hurt its own brand.
Apple’s stance is understandable, but for different reasons. For Apple to feature another brand prominently on its phones would reject the brand ideals the company has worked toward for so long, that Apple is its own designer, manufacturer, and seller; for others to get in on the game would decimate this optimal model.
Ultimately, I’d say Intel is smart to lobby for recognition on its hard work. For Apple enthusiasts, the move won’t matter, and for other brands, they risk very little in letting Intel get credit for its part in the smartphone algorithm. In fact, for the lesser known brands, they may have a lot to gain.