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Building Brand Awareness Will Be Critical As Nokia’s HERE Announces Its B2C Strategy

by Nitesh Patel | Sep 11, 2014

Building Brand Awareness Will Be Critical As Nokia’s HERE Announces Its B2C Strategy

Last week on Tuesday 2nd September I attended a briefing from HERE where it laid out its strategy across three core pillars of its business, consumer, automotive and enterprise. With my focus on consumer mobile media and services what HERE communicated about its consumer strategy was particularly relevant, and reinforced the progress it has made with its horizontal strategy: 

Continued positive momentum in its business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C) strategy, which accounts for the bulk (~70%) of HERE’s consumer revenue:

  • One of HERE’s main challenges is to overcome the power Google wields in the consumer online and mobile map and navigation space. HERE’s strategy here has focused on licensing its APIs, SDK or Apps to OEMs, Internet companies and Enterprises – a B2B2C approach rather than direct business-to-consumer (B2C). Up until HERE’s licensing agreement on Samsung’s Galaxy devices and Samsung’s Tizen based Gear watch, I would argue that its success has been modest. Licensing to Microsoft, Yahoo, Jolla, Tizen and Amazon is certainly validation of its platform, but these players do not provide the same scale on mobile that rival Google benefits from as the default map and navigation app on Android handsets and tablets.    
  • However, following on from the Samsung win Strategy Analytics is confident HERE can maintain this momentum and create a cascade effect, with more handset OEMs, internet companies and enterprises licensing its HERE mobile app, using HERE APIs and SDKs. Strategy Analytics expects HERE to announce further deals in the coming months to strengthen and extend its partnership ecosystem.

HERE’s aims to leverage its B2B2C partnerships to expand its capability, brand and reach,  which in turn will create momentum for its push into B2C - which is an area HERE has until recently been relatively quiet about…..

HERE’s B2C strategy is to compete head-to-head with map and navigation applications in Android and iOS app market places. If HERE is to compete effectively I believe it must promote its hybrid map – I can tell you the offline mode has got me out of trouble in a number of occasions when I am out of network coverage, a capability significantly lacking in the Google Maps app. Another key differentiator is LiveSight, which is a pretty cool way for users to see what’s around them. Communicating these benefits and convincing consumers to use a one-stop-shop HERE app – a relatively new and unknown brand for consumers - must be a priority as HERE executes its strategy. HERE is said to be prepared to resurrect the ill-fated HERE Maps for iOS before the end of the year, as was reported by The Wall Street Journal If it can pull this one off and win enough traction, HERE would be in a much healthier position with its horizontal strategy and continue its upward momentum.

Importantly, monetization is not the initial goal for its B2C approach; building scale and user engagement initially, and then monetization.

In my view HERE will need to also better serve long-tail of developers if it is to achieve this scale – however this is not low hanging fruit and therefore not perceived as an immediate priority. Google democratized its maps by enabling the long tail of developers and web publishers to integrate Google Maps and Map APIs into their content. Google Maps could then be seen almost everywhere.

  • Convincing developers and publishers to switch away from Google Map APIs to HERE is a challenge from a technical perspective. HERE acknowledges its APIs are more complex than Google Map APIs. Therefore, convincing users to switch without a strong incentive has been a significant challenge. HERE is in the process of addressing this barrier by simplifying its APIs and evaluating how to expand beyond “me too.” This is non-trivial and so has been less of a priority so far.


And finally, the integration of Desti (the semantic search platform it acquired in May 2014) will be integrated into the HERE platform’s search capability in the next iteration, providing an enhanced search experience. However, Medio’s integration is likely to take some time – but will benefit consumer, enterprise and automotive customers by bringing in the “personalized” map concept. 

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