Motorola: Making Moto Cool Again


In 2004, Motorola, a company with an 80+ year heritage, was more proud of its past than its present. It had a history of firsts… the first car radio, the first walkie-talkie, and then in 1996, the introduction of the StarTAC cellphone which was so popular it enabled Motorola to own more than half the global cellphone market. But in 1998, Nokia zoomed past Motorola in global marketshare, because Motorola was slow to move to digital technology from analog and ignored style and design. How do you revitalize a once iconic brand and company around the world…a brand that was known as innovative and cutting edge, but then became out of touch and uncool.

Enter Ed Zander, the first CEO who was brought in from outside the company. During an R&D review of new products one item stood out to him and the CMO: an ultra slim cellphone that looked very different from previous versions. It was decided to make this the focus of marketing and communications efforts at Motorola. It was named the RAZR, and a star was born. The new product took off following initial launch communications. But how do you sustain the momentum?


The RAZR was successfully launched as a new and exciting technology product. To further fuel the revitalization of the brand and move from “geek to chic,” the following corporate communications strategies were put in place:


– Media campaign with key select outlets: cover stories in Barron’s, Business Week;
Forbes, Fortune, WSJ/Boss Talk, Reuters, CEO of the Year by Dow Jones Market
Watch, CNBC, Charlie Rose.
– Extensive program of speaking engagements at international though-leader venues such
as the World Economic Forum at Davos, MIT and China’s Tsinghua University.
– MOTOFRWD (Moto Forward), Motorola’s first program designed for college students, an
 influential target audience. The on-campus competition, propelled by social media,
challenged students to develop the future of Seamless Mobility. Program launched in the 
US, and then rolled out to UK, France, Germany, India and China.
– Re-engineering of financial communications, earnings releases and annual report.
– Comprehensive internal i’MOTO campaign worldwide, including the launch of new
values,to engage all employees.


– Led all competitors in positive media share of voice worldwide from 19 percent in 2004 to
31 percent in 2005.
– Motorola moved to #3 from #5 on “Fortune’s Most Admired” list in its industry category in
one year.