How OnePlus Came To Enter The Top 5 Premium Smartphone Brands 

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Growth Story is a weekly podcast that breaks down the strategy and tactics utilized by high growth companies, in a short case study format hosted by Scott D. Clary (@scottdclary)

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Welcome to success story, the mostuseful podcast in the world. I'm your host, Scott D clary. Thesuccess story podcast is part of the hub spot podcast network. The hup spotpodcast network is the audio destination for business professionals who seek the best education andinspiration on how to grow a business. House spot podcast network hosts act ason demand mentors. Two entrepreneurs startups and scale ups through practical tips and inspirationalstories. Listen, learn and grow with a hup spot podcast network at hupspotcom podcast network. Today I am going to break down the story of oneplus how, in just a few short years, with a dream and threehundred dollars, they became a premium smartphone brand that competes with the likes ofapple and Samsung Globally. I'm going to walk through their origin story. I'mgoing to speak about the founders, where they came from, as well assome of the strategies that they've used to become a top premium smartphone brand andnow compete with apple and Samsung on a...

...global scale. This is a businesscase study. This is one plus's growth story. So let's be honest,you don't have to be big to make a big splash. This has beena common theme and start ups. The story of one plus is no differentthis. One plus is an electronics company that's start it in two thousand andthirteen with three hundred dollars and a dream, and it sounds like the typical startup story, but one plus took it a step further and is nowone of the most notable premium smartphone brands in the world. One plus sawan enormous opportunity in the high priced premium smartphone market. They created a highend smartphone with no compromises and started by offering their device at half the priceof other premium smartphones. They adopted the slogan never settle, which is stillused today by all the hand sets that...

...they produced, indicating that they wouldnever settle for less when it came to the quality of their products. Sojust take a second and think about that. They were putting out the premium products, top grade, top shelf. Never settle is their slogan, yetthey're selling them at half price. They went from zero to hero in amatter of a year and became the fastest growing android device company. But let'spause there. Let's take it back to the early days, early years.Let's talk about the founders. Where did they come from? So the storyof one plus starts in two thousand and eight. And two thousand and eight, the founder, Pete Laugh, who was the cofounder of one plus,left his job in Google's engineering department to START OPO electronics. It began asan ODM, or original design manufacturing that primarily made devices for other brands inChina and eventually found it its own company, one plus. One plus was alsoco founded by Carl pay and is...

...a subsidiary of bbk electronics, alongwith Vivo, real me and Iqoo. The first ever product they brought tomarket was dubbed the flagship killer, meaning that it was the killer of allother brands flagship, premium, top of the line phone. They called itthe one. The company wanted to make a statement. They wanted to attractthe attention of tech buffs and professionals looking to buy smartphones in high end marketslike North America and Europe. And obviously, if we fast forward to today,the strategy work, because now they are one of the premium smartphone brands. But how do they actually get there? So how did one plus become whothey are today? They had a great concept, they put it agreat product, but even though the phone was not available worldwide, people stilltook notice. So what made them different? Let's break down the components of theone plus strategy that truly contributed to the company's success. So first wasthe affordability of the phone. I touched on this briefly, but one ofthe main features that made one plus so...

...unique was its ability to offer highend specs at a much lower price point than any other smartphones out there,especially with the feature sets that these phones had used. Were impressed with thequality the photos it produced and its sleek design, as well as the factthat it was just a well built, well manufactured, felt good in yourhand device and besides, it had all of the features of all the otherpremium, flagship model smartphones. It was being offered at half the price comparedto all other of smartphones, and that became a central selling point for potentialcustomers. So they hit the market with a great product. They didn't justtry and win on price, but then they also won on price. Soremember, you will never win market over by introducing a shitty product at ashitty price or a lower price. People will eventually still want a premium offering, but if you can find a way to navigate the margin, that is, the other companies profit margin, by introducing a premium product and then reducingthat price, maybe you take less profit margin on that sale, but thatis an opportunity for you to win over...

...the market. This is the samestrategy that Amazon did. By the way, Jeff Bezos is famous for quoting,and I may miss quote slightly, but it's along the lines of yourprofit margin is my opportunity. So Jeff Bezos took a quality premium product tomarket, Aka the same product that other people were selling, with the samefeatures or to the same standard, and what he was doing was he wastaking less profit margin. Okay, fine, you're not going to make as muchmoney on every single sale, but you dominate the market that way.The second thing that really pushed one plus to the top, along with thegreat value they lowered the price point they still offered a premium product, issocial media. Will actually, let's bring back that. Had A ton ofreally creative marketing strategies. They are very well known for unique advertising tactics,such as social media, viral guerrilla marketing. They created a lot of word ofmouth, buzz around the product, and that's also, of course,helped with their success. So let's talk about some of their marketing strategies.So social media was one. They were very active on social media. Fromthe ghetto. They constantly should news about...

...upcoming products, features releases. Theycreated contest with giveaways for fans, like free tickets to concerts. They didthings that maybe some smartphone companies were doing, but they doubled down on these thingsand they were really generous to their customers. They created a community andan incredibly loyal fan base. They also kept launching marketing campaign so one ofthe campaigns that they launched was called smash the past, where selected participants wereasked to destroy their existing phones while being recorded to buy a one plus smartphonefor only a dollar. No other company did this. This was viral,this was shock value and this was highly shareable, entertaining content. On topof that, it got people to convert to the one plus phone earlier onin their business life cycle. They also created an invitation system where someone wouldneed to have an invitation to they created I've spoken of a Pomo a lot, but someone had to have an invitation to buy one of their phones.This helped the manage a massive demand for their phones and gave their brand anexclusive vibe. You see this with a...

...lot of luxury retailers. Another thingthat they did, another campaign that they ran, was VR, or virtualreality events. So they opted for a virtual reality launch event, and thisalso placed them on the map as the world's first virtual reality shopping experience.So let's just break let's just recap quickly. They had a viral social campaign,they had a smash the past, where it's a shock value. Theybuilt in Fomo and exclusivity, and then they also leverage emerging trends and technologieswith virtual reality. Another marketing strategy they used, and you've seen this alot of spoken about these types of programs a lot, where brand ambassadors andpartnerships. So India is one of the countries that contributed to the majority ofone plus sales. The company collaborated with wellknown singers and actors in India toendorse their smartphones. So this is influencer marketing. One on one, theyalso worked with famous ambassadors such as Robert Downey Jr and brands like Hasselblad.This further help boost sales for the company.

So if you can find an influencerthat really has a connection with your target market, it definitely helps.And keep in mind I want to point out something. So they used influencermarketing, plus, you know all the other things I just mentioned. Butthey didn't just use one of these things. They tried and tested and they useda multitude of different strategies to bring a product to market. So onething that I'm not a huge fan of is when somebody says, Oh,influencer marketing works, or Oh, creating fomo or exclusivity around a product works, or Oh, let's do some sort of viral ad campaign or something alongthose lines. All of those work. Martin Marketing. A lot of stuffworks. It's about finding the right mix, it's about trying different things and testing, and then is doubling down on the things that have the best result, and that's they did very well. Now, beyond marketing, something thatthey did well as a company, not marketing related but still very important,was to focus on user feedback. They any company that is successful. You'llnotice a common thread. Again, I feel like I'm just putting myself onon repeat with some of these past case...

...studies, but any company that's trulysuccessful, you'll notice that they have an obsession with customer feedback and they finda way to build customer feedback into their communication cadence with customers, or intotheir product updates or into the product itself. I've spoken about some products that actuallyhave customer feedback built into the software, but one plus had an excellent trackrecord of listening to customer feedback. One plus was always looking for waysto improve their smartphones. They regularly sent out updates that fixed various bugs andtheir smartphones and improve the overall experience based on direct feedback from their customers.They did not wait for a major release. If there was a problem, theyfixed it asap. They were respond they were proactive. Rather, theywere not reactive. They want their devices to be known as a premium qualityphone, being on par with iphones or Samsung, but at a much lowerprice point, and they achieve that by making sure that if there was anythingthat could potentially go wrong with their phones, they were on it. They alsofocused on the continuous upgrading of their...

...phone feature so not just fixing theproblems or just being very engaged and building a feedback loop with their community.They were always upgrading features so they had top of the line everything. Sothey continue perfecting their products, adding new features like fingerprint readers or usb seports and later models. In addition, in two thousand and sixteen, oneplus started producing phones designed specifically for virtual reality, something that nobody else wasdoing, building on top of existing technology found in the most highend devices suchas Google cardboard or Samsung gear VR headsets. The latest model from one plus,this was released in two thousand and twenty. One is called the Nordto and has a unique feature called a smart skin that automatically adjust the phonesettings to suit your current needs. They also have pioneered next generation G incountries such as UK and Finland. So they are trying to be the marketleaders and new features. They are not trying to copy what the next Iphone puts out into the market or the next Samsung device puts out into themarket. They're trying to lead the way and come up with features that othercompanies haven't even explored yet. So,...

...inclosing, what can we learn fromone plus has rise to fame incredible success in such a short period of time. Well, number one build a solid customer base. It takes time andpatients to build up your loyal customers who will help you stay afloat even ifsomething goes wrong. The company has been through multiple controversies over the past fewyears. They could have brought them down. However, they could resolve these issuesquickly because of that customer that loyal customer base and that feedback loop thatthey created to constantly communicate with customers, and that's why they continue on anupward slope today. That's why they continue on an upward, upward trend andthat is why they're still competing as one of the top premium smartphone brands.Second will be you listen to your customers. So, of course, to builda loyal customer base you have to listen to your customers. So companiesalways have to be open about their development, their product roadmap, listen to feedbackof those who have purchased the product. One plus engages with its consumers throughsocial media. They're highly active. It helps them build a strong communityaround the brand itself even before they launch other initiatives. And again, becausethere was some controversies and there was some...

...problems with the phones, having thatloyal community plus, having that feed butt feedback loop built into your company soyou're always listening to your customers. Does nothing but help you rectify problems quickly. And then, of course, that leads to long term success and,of course, loyalty and community that you need to have with with your customersif you want to if you want to succeed as a company in two thousandand twenty one, build relationships with influential people and companies. So work together, collaborate. This is something that one plus did as well, so theyworked together with a lot of partner companies. They were also working with influencers onsocial media, partnering up for events or marketing strategies, sharing sales channels. By joining forces as a startup, you give yourself access to a biggeraudience that will bring more value to your business. So you don't have togo at it alone. You can find lots of partners, vendors, throughbusiness development, influencer channels. There's a million and one types of partnerships thatyou can strike up as brand, as a startup, so leverage those sothat you don't have to reinvent the wheel.

And then the last lesson would bebe unique, but not too weird. So the key here is bounced.So try and stand out from the crowd without going too far. Soone plus has successfully developed a unique brand, but it is not seen as toomuch of an outlier by most of its customers. It is easy toattract new customers because they have some unique features, but it's also easy toretain those that have bought previous versions of their device because they don't look outwardsand they don't see one plus as something that is too far from what theother options, other smartphone options, are. So they're unique, but they're notso unique that they're going to turn somebody off if they've only ever usedan iphone or a Samsung or any other smartphone device. So, conclusion,one plus started from the bottom built its way up very quickly. The companyis now a top competitor in a very short period of time in comparison tothe other players in smartphones, in phones, and they are selling premium smartphones aroundthe globe. One plus is a prime example of how brands should payclose attention to what their customers actually want,...

...and if they do that, thenthey can massively expedite their growth by observing what the market needs and drawingideas from the customers, one plus became one of the companies to beat.They have accomplished something spectacular in an extremely short period of time and it willbe exciting to see how they compete with the the he myths of the smartphoneindustry in the next few years.

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