Huawei doesn’t need to attack rivals to promote new products

As Huawei tries to boost its position in the global smartphone arena, the company doesn’t miss a chance to brag about the advanced hardware and features that it is putting into its new devices. During product launches, the Chinese firm’s executives appear obsessed with scoring points over key rivals Samsung and Apple as they draw up comparisons on aspects such as phone cameras.

The pitch may be understandable but it is still jarring given the seeming over-eagerness to put down competitors. The company might do better if it adopts a less aggressive tone and focuses on taking about its own products rather than dissing rivals. While unveiling new gadgets, Huawei needs to realize that soft-selling can sometimes pay more dividends than brash talk.

The company’s latest product event only reinforces the view that Huawei needs to adjust its marketing tactics and media game.

On Tuesday, Huawei unveiled its new flagship phones, the P30 and the P30 Pro, at a press conference in Paris. The overseas location was not surprising as Huawei loves to stage product launches outside its home country. Also, Europe is one of the firm’s major markets, with the region gaining even more in importance due to Huawei’s problems in the United States.

According to Canalys, Huawei ranked third in the European market with 23.6 percent market share in the fourth quarter last year, trailing Samsung and Apple. But Huawei saw its shipments record year-on-year growth of 55.7 percent in the period, while Samsung and Apple posted slight declines.

The P30 series signals Huawei’s ambition to surpass Samsung and Apple as the market leader. The Chinese firm absorbed ideas from the bigger rivals and sought to make the P30 an all-rounder to compete against new iPhone and Galaxy offerings.

For example, adoption of multi-color strategy in P30 and P30 Pro takes reference from the success of iPhone XR and Galaxy 10e. Deploying two screen sizes in a flagship series also learns from Apple’s iPhone Plus series several years ago. The real new feature that surprised users, however, was the Leica camera system.

Huawei has been pouring a lot of resources into mobile camera development in the past few years. After the company has partnered with Leica for the mobile camera system, users have been wondering as to what new mobile photography technology will emerge from the tie-up. This time, P30 Pro equips with a Leica quad-camera system.

The four cameras include a 20 megapixel ultra wide angle camera, a 40 megapixel main camera with optical image stabilization, a telephoto camera and a time-of-flight camera for depth detection. There is also a selfie camera at the front supporting HDR and super low light shot.

One of the breakthrough points of Huawei-Leica camera system is the use of new Red Yellow Yellow Blue “SuperSpectrum” sensor for the main camera that replaces the traditional Red Green Blue sensor found in most smartphones, tech news websites have noted.

By using yellow sub-pixels instead of green, Huawei said the new sensor will let in up to 40 percent more light than a Red Green Blue one.

In addition, P30 Pro has a new periscope zoom lens. It starts with a 5-times optical zoom. By combining that with additional data from the main sensor, Huawei claims to have achieved a lossless 10-times hybrid zoom. The company is also touting a massive 50-times digital zoom.

Huawei has been winning recognition from the industry as well as consumers about the firm’s product quality. Users understand Huawei products can no longer be deemed “cheap” or “low tier”. Given this, it was surprising why Huawei devoted a lot of time during the Tuesday presentation to compare the photo quality taken by P30 Pro with images captured by iPhone XS Max and Samsung Galaxy S10+.

Huawei might be thinking that the more it compares its camera photos with those from its rivals, the more the prospect of luring people away from Apple and Samsung products. However, the Chinese firm seems to have forgotten that customers will not just go by the hype at launch events.

Before making a purchase, people will consider the brand image, aftersales services and other aspects. Huawei should realize that too much hard-selling, boastful product comparisons and talking down rival brands may actually backfire, as customers may feel that the firm is trying too hard.

Also, if a customer purchases a P30 Pro and fails to take photos with similar quality and effect as shown in the press event or promotional material, the person could feel cheated.

Apple and Samsung, during product presentations, seldom compare their products with those of rivals. The global giants understand the focus should be on their own products, and the customer experience of using their products, rather than bad-mouthing rivals’ gadgets.

Huawei is still a young player in the global brand marketing game. With its track record in technology development, the company can afford to let its products speak for themselves and find their position in the market.

Rather than hard-selling in a high profile manner, the firm should make its case with a softer and friendly tone and gain the trust of more consumers. It can follow the example of Apple and learn that a brand can build a devoted fan-following without screaming or talking down rivals.

A columnist in political development in Greater China region, technology and gadgets, media industry, parenting and other interesting topics.

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