What Nokia needs to learn from Apple Keynotes. Pointers from Steve Job's iPhone 4 announcement.

| June 8, 2010 | 69 Replies

This is mainly a tongue in cheek rant, written very late so it probably may not make sense.  Note – if you are reading this, you are not the “public” which is described in this article.

Again, press X now or prepare for walls of text.

Perception, perception perception.

What Nokia needs to learn from Apple Keynotes. Pointers from Steve Job’s iPhone 4 announcement.

(There could equally be a post on what Nokia could learn from Apple products)

Via Gizmodo

Every time there’s an Apple event, we see that above all else, perception is somewhat more important than the product or service itself. (In the sense of effectiveness of message towards the general public)

At your product launches, you should get to control the intended first impression (unless you “lose” your proto and it gets reviewed, forcing an early launch) so make the most of this opportunity.

What Steve and Apple do best is explain why features are great, why they’re useful to you. Regardless if it’s mundane, it helps general public and the press vomit it verbatim. It helps in direct word of mouth conversation and even more so in online social media. Even if people are retweeting nonsensical bullshit, people are talking about your product in the positive way you choreographed it.

Elaborate on your features.

When announcing N9/MeeGo phone, please take note. Don’t just dispense of it quickly and ignore it. (aka N900 and X6 announcements that were literally sneezed into existence). Don’t just rattle off features. Take time with it, demonstrate to people what a feature does, why a particular feature is good, why it’s useful and how the N9/MeeGo Phone does this well.

This gets people emotionally connected to a feature as they can personally relate with your examples and place themselves in positions where they could benefit from such features/services offered by your device/brand.

It’s no good just listing out screen resolution. Even if it’s not that much more than others. Don’t leave it to a users imagination of what they can do with a feature.

Implant situations where they’d have a need for a feature. Look what Apple did.

No one else could have made a better song or dance about increasing screen resolution. Great job at keeping the screen at 3.5" as now they can boast super high DPI. Image from Engadget

They showed you why the higher resolution is more beneficial, dragging on about seeing much more detail, smoother images/fonts. Apple even went as far as creating a pseudo-scientific (for retards) term, “Retina Display” to make the “increased screen resolution” all that more exciting.

Point out the obvious. You may have so many great features, you over look something you consider minute. e.g. in video calling, point out you can use both front camera and main camera. But don’t just mention it, e.g. create a side feature in being able to “see what you see with the back of the camera”. It’s simple, but again gives a context of that feature in action. e.g. 2, with front camera, point out how the depth of field is perfectly aligned to be in focus at arms length – focusing on your face for video calling.

It doesn’t matter if other handsets have an identical feature. If yours performs the same, don’t bother making comparisons. e.g. Not much talking on how good the 5MP camera is. If yours works better, point out how yours is better.

Create new terminology for old features.

Pseudoscience makes something exceed your ability to understand it, thus making it "magical".

As just mentioned, if you’re introducing a feature that’s years old, buff it up with new names to make it seem different and cutting edge. e.g. Instead of video calling, use “FaceTime”, instead of high resolution screen, use “retina display”, instead of iPhone OS4, call it iOS4. It’s like calling the janitor Chief Hygiene and Sanitation engineer.

Or if you’re not changing the name, just make a statement of how your feature is somehow better. e.g. “Multitasking – Done the right way”. Many mobile users aren’t aware of multitasking therefore claiming yours does it the right way (lies that may be or not) you imply others are doing it wrong (even though they may be the ones  giving you proper multitasking).

Retina Display (Via Engadget).

Marketing babble – Hyperbole power

It also helps to douse with ample hyperbole. “Amazing, magical, wonderful, phenomenal, great, fantastic, beautiful, slimmest, fastest” blah blah blah. Rinse and Repeat.

These subliminally etch into the mind that what you’re talking about is pretty special. Most people won’t have time to make their own decisions. They’ll just agree.

Furthermore, add some stats about how good your features are. It doesn’t really matter what they mean.

1) public avoids having to think and manually deduce comparisons; you’ve made it for them. N% thinner, N% faster, N% higher res etc.

2) It adds to what people can repeat. Instead of being a random specification 9.3mm think, stats give significance – i.e. N% thinner than Y.

I love Steve. Despite being an iDictator, he's a true Mobile Visionary who's revitalized the mobile market. (Edited engadget pic.)

E.G. Instead of just 960×640, you have, 4x resolution, 326 DPI. I doubt the majority even knew resolution iPhone was on previously, but that doesn’t matter. Now they know they have 4x resolution in new iPhone and 326 dots per inch (which they probably won’t understand either but hey, another thing to spout about).


Public don’t know what they want – you need to tell them.

Make them need what you want them to need. (via Gimodo)

What we have seen from Apple is that they don’t necessarily always bring new things to the table, but they do polish old features and make people want it. They weren’t the first with a touch screen, or a tablet, or to try and sell apps. They weren’t the first with 3mp cameras, 3G, GPS, Copy and Paste, Multitasking, Wallpapers, Folders, digital zoom and now Video Calling. But they do make a scene when they finally get certain old industry standard features and demonstrate to everyone that they do that feature better than anyone else (be it true or not e.g. multitasking).

The public, God bless them, has no recollection of these years old features and just blindly accepts them as yet another fantastic thing by Apple.

Nokia is the complete antithesis. They’ve always been pretty poor at shouting about things they do really well. They overlook fantastic features which Jobs would spend 10 minutes and 20 slides on were they to appear on iPhone.

Why does it work? Because the general public aren’t geeks. They don’t know what they want. They need to be told what they need. That’s why advertisements/commercials are so powerful. We just do what we’re told.

Apple has been the best in recent years of dictating exactly what you want in your devices and what features you don’t want. Even if it means being hypocritical years down the line, that doesn’t matter as the public won’t remember. e.g. When talking about Kindle in 2008, Jobs said, “People don’t read anymore”, but with launch of iPad, it’s all about iBooks, ePrint, eMagazines. If you aren’t good at something, dismiss it as useless, or even better, detrimental to mobile phone industry. e.g. Flash. MMS isn’t important, who sends MMS…Multitasking isn’t important it drains battery….

It’s all about creating the perception of need: Make your own game with your own rules

Jedi Mind Tricks not necessary to influence perception of others beyond their realms of logic. image via Gizmodo

Smartphones are luxury items, borne out of want not need. To be desirable you have to meet certain requirements, certain characteristics, certain needs. You can either meet the needs of an already established market or create your own niche. The latter more powerful as you’re in the driving seat. You make your audience need what you want them to need.

When apple announced the iPhone in 2007, they made a game changer. With that, they wrote the rule book. You want touch screens only, you want swishy UIs, you want apps, you don’t want hardware keyboards. Everyone else followed and played along, but it’s impossible to score points, catch up and over take when Apple is in charge and constantly changing these rules.

You must step out and make your own game, create your own set of rules, produce a new paradigm of mobile. Innovate, focus the public’s attention into wanting something else. e.g. how Nintendo broke away from the graphics race.

If you have a feature that you do particularly well, make that seem like the most important thing in the world. Establish that phone as the best in the world at doing that. Or at least make a deal of that feature if indeed it’s new for your device or a unique/rare feature in the market.

Smoke and Mirrors

In the end, all that matters is that people prefer your product over competitors. Manipulating perception destroys logical thinking, removing any sense of practicality. Just make them crave your device.

Of course it’s necessary to have a really good product, but when smartphones are becoming extremely similar (basically just a window) you need to separate yourself from the competition.

You need to have a believable, friendly, and really motivated speaker.

Steve Jobs is to the Tech world what Barrack Obama is to Politics. They both seem to speak with purpose. You kinda want to listen to what they have to say.

You’ve got a great presentation ahead of you, positioned your killer key points, now you need a fantastic speaker to sell it to the public.

We want someone who is used to speaking in public. Someone maybe who is used to following a script, or is excellent at speaking impromptu without hesitation.

E.G. Whilst it was great to see a product manager talking to honestly about the N8, it did seem terribly rushed and unprofessional.

Whilst Nokia has learnt from the N97 about only producing truthful video performance demoes, it doesn’t hurt to polish the delivery of your presentation, aka sales pitch. It’s not merely about content – how something is said maybe just as important as what has been said.

One way to assist excellent delivery is to pepper the presentation with  highly choreographed and well directed videos (perhaps at start or at the end). These videos must show people/families using your product like it’s the easiest and most wonderful thing ever created. Use popular slogans, even if they’re not your own.

Sell ASAP.

Now they’ve bought in to your pitch, you have to get them ready to hand over their wallet.

What apple do best is they create and concentrate hype and within that window they sell you that product. Hype, hype, hype – sell, sell, sell.

Once sold, people can share their love for that device, bring more hype and attract more sales.

What Nokia’s doing with their flagships is announcing them months in advance, creating lots of hype, hype, hype, but then making people wait, and wait, delay maybe, and more wait to the point where it maybe forgotten and no one cares as other devices have been announced.

In that time, that Nokia handset has aged. and released amongst newer competitors e.g. N97. Announced 6-7 months prior to launch. I had hoped for only a 30-60 day wait at best for N8. Perhaps Nokia’s hand was pushed to announce it early given the scathing report/preview on a lost Proto N8.

Fortunately, the N8 still has some pretty advanced features that won’t grow too stale by August/Sept. The timing of release however, is not haphazardly decided. Unfortunately it seems more due to the unreadiness of Symbian^3 here and Symbian^1 in N97.


So come on Nokia. There’s still over a couple of months left till big Nokia World 2010. We want to see some magic!


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Category: aPPLE, Nokia, Rant, Suggestions

About the Author ()

Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]
  • Insane Reindeer

    “Perception, Perception, Perception” – I may be woefully out of synchronization with the rest of the mobile phone buying public for saying this, but I like the fact that Nokia do not go round ramming their products down people’s throats like Apple do. Those Apple Keynotes are, for the most part, just cases of self-aggrandising drivel of the highest order. I like the perception that I have of Nokia, namely one of them wanting people to use their phones. For, and in, what ever way they so choose. Without them first needing/wanting to tell me how.

    “Create new terminology for old features (‘FaceTime’, ‘Retina Display’)” – Nokia are not totally guilt free on this, but like with many companies I can manage to ignore it, however if they were to sink to the level of Apple on this then, quite simply I would never use another one of their products again, and would use what ever influence I have with my family and friends to ensure they would not either. It is, in my opinion some of the most insulting and unethical behaviour any company in any field can partake in. The message that sort of thing sends to me is something like “We don’t give a damn when this feature came out, we like acting like we invented it and we think our customers are so insanely gullible they will believe what ever we say!”

    “Marketing babble – Hyperbole power” – I am not stupid. I do not want not to be sold a “dream” device. I want the facts. With zero garnish. I want to be able to make my own mind up. And the assumption stated in the article that “Most people won’t have time to make their own decisions. They’ll just agree.” makes me so angry that I have smoke coming out of my ears! Seriously insulting. Even if I am not “most people” I have been brought up to believe that making sweeping generalisations of, and about, people like that is tantamount to racist behaviour of the highest order.

    “The public don’t know what they want – you need to tell them” – Well, this is as the above point.

    “It’s all about creating the perception of need: Make your own game with your own rules” – The sub heading of “Smoke and Mirrors” says it all. The forthcoming N8 will have plenty to offer, and I cringe, really cringe, when I think that Nokia might try this trick with it. I mean how is anyone meant to make an honest and assertive choice about buying this device when someone is trying to flog them a line. Yes, companies want to sell their products so they will not go negative at a launch, but if they don’t get sucked into a game of smoke and mirrors then when people make their own minds up about a product, I believe, and if it is a negative one then at least they will not feel massively deceived! And when it is a positive one they will feel more positive about the company as a whole, given that they themselves have reached the conclusion that it is a great device and that in turn will lead to much better, and ultimately more worthy personal recommendations than people just blindly buying into the hype and then telling other people, that essentially, they believe the hype.

    “You need to have a believable, friendly, and really motivated speaker” – Not if it is just someone up there for the hell of it! We would all benefit much more from having the project manage/engineer/developer stand up and share their thoughts and processes behind the latest phone from Nokia. After all we are fed so much marketing/PR crap in so many other purchases we make wouldn’t it be nice for once to just get the real inside line. This point also links to points 3 to 6, inclusive. It all comes down to if you want to be spoon fed every thought, if you want all your decisions made for you, if you want to buy in to the dream or if you want to be a human being.

    • Thanks for the comment.

      Just to reiterate:

      1. this was a tongue in cheek rant.

      I don’t want everything I’ve mentioned implemented. All I want Nokia to do is be better at selling themselves. I don’t want them to make bullshit up like retina display or make false claims of bringing features to the world that we’ve had for 6 years already.

      2. You are not the target of this marketing, but the casual watcher that doesn’t really know mobile phone X from mobile phone Y. These are the people that could be swayed from one handset to another if another company convinces them so on what features are important.

      There are many facets of course to selling a product, this is just one of them that needs to be addressed by Nokia. They’re en route to making some fantastic flagships so that’s good hardware sorted. They’ve got Qt apps, many developers, growing Ovi Maps, Ovi Mail so that’s services improving too. Now they just have to focus on properly declaring to the world they’ve got some excellent products at hand.

      Not with swishy, artsy fartsy adverts that don’t tell you anything. They need straight to the point, we do this, you want this, we can bring you this better than everyone else (if true).

      So to repeat, I don’t want Nokia to make obscene lies like Apple. I want them to better improve their self image. There are many ways to do this without lying to customers.

      Commerce is cut throat, and unless governments make it illegal to market in the way apple is doing, you have to fight Apple (almost) at their level.

      This is the nature of advertising. Ideally, yes they’d all just speak the truth without marketing or PR crap. But no one would buy their product. We don’t need the things we see on TV. Advertising is used to convince us otherwise. Advertising is all about controlling the perception of your product. Some do it better than others. Apple are really pushing the limit. If Subliminal ads weren’t illegal, they’d probably do that too.

      • Insane Reindeer

        Ah, yes, I should of added the title “My rant to answer your rant!” Thanks for taking the time to read through mine as well! All good points and I loved the comment about subliminal ads! That is something I have been banging on about for ages! In all honesty, the people who call me “a total bore” are right in the respect that I never seem to buy, or buy in to, anything without reading as many, contrasting, views on it as possible. What ever it may be. Even if this then means that I make my purchase days, weeks or months after everyone else! This then leads me to being somewhat more opinionated about “it” than most people, and having learnt so much about whatever it is I have been asked about I tend to come over as “a total bore” or “don’t ask him you will never get a straight answer”.

        • Thank you also for the epic first reply, must be the longest on here by far.

          I think you’re a lucky one if you’re not influenced too heavily by advertising or trends. You can really decide for yourself and differentiate what you want and what you need.

          As Apple has shown the world time and time again, the general public aren’t like that. They are extremely easily moulded. And such, if you can exploit that, then why not.

  • Pingback: What Nokia needs to learn from Apple Keynotes | Mobile Industry Review()

  • Evo

    JayZ Jobs gona Patent this post! Be careful. Joke’s apart

    This is ai gr8 post mate. Love ur writing! U have big hands! And big brains! 😛


    • Thanks bro 🙂

      What you mean big hands? 😛

  • Jay, you are right of course and you hit on many of the strengths of Apple and the weaknesses of Nokia. However I feel you haven’t fully recognised the massive cultural difference in these two organisations that sets them apart in just about every conceivable way. The presentation of a new product is just the tip of the iceberg, but a highly visible tip that cruelly exposes the inadequacies of Nokia.

    Geographically, Apple sits in the heart of the throbbing centre of global technology – the Valley. In contrast, Nokia sits right on the edge of the inhabitable World. Each and every employee of both organisations is a product of their environment, thereafter they become the producers of their companies products and services. A depth of influence that feeds Apple’s consumer focused approach, and saps Nokia of consumer relevance and effective communications. Nokia were great when it was technology that drove mobile phone development but now that we are in the era of content they have been woefully exposed.

    Apple is media savvy, it places ‘liberal arts’ alongside ‘technology’ at the signpost of it’s purpose. Nokia meanwhile is engineering based and delivers well engineered products, but that is simply not enough anymore (except for techies and geeks… maybe!). The mobile world is about content – Apple understands consumers, entertainment and more importantly its consumption. Nokia understands Symbian for goodness sakes- No one else does!

    Oh how great it would be to simply suggest to Nokia that they should get their act together and start to fight back (imho they haven’t even started yet) but the reality is that they need an entire cultural shift if they are ever going to understand their consumers sufficiently to be able to produce attractive products and services, and to communicate and market them effectively.

    I hope and wish that Nokia make themselves relevant to the future of mobile, but somehow I just don’t see it happening. But go on Nokia, prove me wrong.

    • Thanks for the very insightful comment Julian.

      Yes, you are right, the presentation of a product is just the very tip of the iceberg, the very first page of a long novel of what Nokia needs to get sorted.

      The rant would have gotten 200 times longer were we to cover all the bases.

      Right now, it IS much about the ecosystem, the content of apps and music of which Apple has NO rival. Even if iPhone 4 was not announced, iPhone 3GS would still have been equally compelling for the ecosystem alone.

      Nokia are attempting to address this with Qt framework that along with Intel and the host of partners will help to proliferate the number of apps for their new operating system, MeeGo. These apps will be cross platform, not only for Tablets, netbooks and MeeGo phones but also for Symbian Qt enabled devices.

      I think from September and Nokia World we’ll see Nokia start to really fight back. Symbian^4 and MeeGo is maturing. They’re getting the hardware demanded of high end products and with time will get the ecosystem too.

      [Many other things left to consider, the brand image of Apple – e.g. buying into the lifestyle/image rather than out of logic/need]

  • Pingback: Nokia’s Smartphone Strategy in the right direction? – Intelectual exchange between Robert Scoble and Tomi Ahonen | My Nokia Blog()

  • Roni

    (You don’t need to read this)(Though after this my advice on campaigns are not maybe convincing – I can’t even sell myself!)

    Do you people think that you have something to offer for Nokia, besides marketing advice? I do. However, I will not post anything here, except that… what do you say about open source code applications, or should I say programs and platforms? Also collective development would be great. Finished products do not work. Of course there’s quality, but I’m not saying we need to diminish the quality. This sounds stupid, obvious, but let’s take a look at Apple’s phones etc. They are “ready”, and not very modifiable after all. Also adding applications is too hard. That’s where Nokia is better, but could do it better. One example is Ovi player. Maybe it’s designed for phones, but running it on computer it’s not great. Just look at other media players… WMP, foobar2000, MediaMonkey. They’re also better than iTunes, which is very great, but there’s been numerous problems with compatibility. Compatibility is one of the most valuable things for computer users, and perhaps even the most important. And speaking of media players (and everything!), lightness is important. Having many features is good, but many times people have their own needs, so lighter “one feature” applications would be good. In the promo video, even sliding effects on menus are slow.

    I hate N8, and everything. There’s clearly much to develop. So it’s a good thing. There’s still much to run. But who wins? Apple listens to it’s consumers – I guess much better than others. And it has great “ecosystem”, even social one. But they’re all trapped in a game.

    One example that Apple would probably not change is the menus. Actually I don’t know about all the view modes, but at least in Nokia phones there could be more of them, a bit like in Windows. But we’ll see it. I’m sure that more “data mining” friendly appearance will be coming. I hate those big icons!

    But I guess it’s not so easy, because they’re touch screen phones. What to do? Maybe nothing, because every people would not like it. But some would. Apple is too simple. Nokia is rather simple too, but if it would become more diverse, modifiable, it would be MORE simple. Simple is what is most close to you. So yes, it’s the culture. When will we see Linux in a phone?

    Multicultural phone. The Valley vs. Finland, the land of polar beer collectors. I would make a Nokia phone that is compatible with Apple products! Freedom and “hackers” are what we need.

    Advertising some applications (Ovi Map, Player etc) is good, but actually, I think even mentioning them makes the product worse. Why? Because I get a picture that they are the ONLY applications like that. I NEVER want to use Ovi player. I have been talking about “creating applications”, but there already is plenty of them (we just need much more power into that development). For example Spotify is there, in both phones, I think. Haven’t seen it being advertised.

    I’ve talked about other things than advertising, but when we have the things well, there’s no need for scam ads.

    One ad thing that came into my mind is comparing things. Really, it’s not bad to say “this is here better than in iPhone” though maybe not directly pointing to iPhone.

    After all, even I could enjoy N8, because the things I’ve said may even be there in N8, like diverse applications.

    So there’s a complaint. Even Nokia isn’t enough informative/boring. For example the music applications I’ve seen in promo videos are just visual browsing of album covers (Maybe some videos are better. But they should be right away accessible). And it didn’t even look smooth! WTF, I’d say. But I’m SURE that for example, should the media players be reviewed, Ovi would definitely not win, but probably would be ranked very low. “How to control most media players with iPhone” – Well, this is something, at least.

    You really need applications that you can say are BEST, or at least BEASTS, and it should be advertised like that.

    In advertises, it should be more intense too. In 3 minutes video, there should be for example 15 main features shown, some only briefly of course.

    But what comes to your blog post, I actually agree (but merely with the titles), but ONLY if the product is really great. “Make your own game and rules” is anyway great ONLY if the player has real power. I think it is not commonly acknowledged that it is good. Of course “own game & rules” is good to make a difference between competitors. But what comes to the players’ culture, many Nokia fans don’t want the same social mass winner status. They want to win their own ways. Of course this is partly imaginary and it would be hard to use it in advertising. But for example even advertising it as ALSO a nerds (use another word, lol) choice would be good. Most people are still using computers, and they like it. The difference between phones should be only some speed things, like menu button and returning to the menu right away, unlike in computers, where system performance is linked to other performance. One great example is PS3, where there’s different chip for the main system.

    So the speed… so there should be some fundamental light applications too, well synchronized with the system. It’s hard to realize, and this is of course vague, but they should be the part of system, not applications, lol.

    So in that case, the old “computer” view mode is not good. These phones have nice shortcut icons, simple ones, but when you want to switch from other “application” to another, for example make a call or play music, you probably have to browse a bit first.

    In N8, there could be some fixed shortcuts. Well, it’s not that simple, for example if you’re playing a game, a phone call shortcut in the screen would be stupid. Anyway, with modifications, people would have more freedom. They could have the shortcuts buttons or not. Maybe they don’t even use the phone for calling (?!!). Nokia probably needs real “computers” too. That’s my advice.

  • Thank you also for the epic first reply, must be the longest on here by far.

    I think you’re a lucky one if you’re not influenced too heavily by advertising or trends. You can really decide for yourself and differentiate what you want and what you need.

    As Apple has shown the world time and time again, the general public aren’t like that. They are extremely easily moulded. And such, if you can exploit that, then why not 🙂

  • I’ve been surfing on-line greater than three hours today, but I by no means found any interesting article like yours. It is lovely value sufficient for me. In my view, if all web owners and bloggers made good content material as you probably did, the net will likely be much more helpful than ever before.

  • Thanks , I’ve just been looking for info approximately this subject for a while and yours is the greatest I’ve
    discovered till now. However, what concerning the bottom line?
    Are you certain concerning the supply?

  • My brother recommended I may like this web site. He was once entirely right.
    This put up actually made my day. You can not consider just how so much time I had
    spent for this info! Thanks!

  • I don’t comment, but I looked at a bunch of remarks on What Nokia needs to learn from Apple Keynotes. Pointers from Steve Job’s iPhone 4 announcement.
    : My Nokia Blog. I actually do have 2 questions for you
    if it’s allright. Is it only me or do some of the responses look like they are coming from brain dead people? 😛 And, if you are writing on additional social sites, I would like to follow anything fresh you have to post. Could you make a list of the complete urls of all your social networking sites like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

  • Pingback: Press Release: Nokia renews marketing strategy, retains JWT Worldwide as creative agency [#Rant] : My Nokia Blog()

  • Please let me know if you’re looking for a article author
    for your weblog. You have some really good posts and I believe
    I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d really like to write some content for your blog in exchange
    for a link back to mine. Please shoot me an e-mail
    if interested. Thanks!