Nokia recently rebranded, what does that mean for Africa?

In late February this year, Nokia surprised everyone by announcing a rebrand. This involved a redesign of its logo, which has not happened in 60 years, along with a refocus of the company’s strategy.

Our immediate reaction, like many others in the industry, was why? The Nokia logo is one of the more iconic and easily distinguishable in the technology industry.

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it right?

To gain a bit more understanding as to what went into this rebrand, as well as what the adjustment in strategy will mean for territories in the African continent, we spoke with Nokia’s field marketing manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, Nthabeleng Mokitimi-Dlamini (pictured below).

Here’s some of the insight that Mokitimi-Dlamini was able to share with us, along with whether Nokia’s engagement on the African continent will change in any way moving forward.

Hypertext: Our first question is whether the choice to change such an iconic logo was a difficult one? 

Nthabeleng Mokitimi-Dlamini: The brand refresh directly supports Nokia’s company and technology strategy to deliver sustained long-term growth, as we capture the opportunity of digital transformation, in every industry.

Our aim is to make high-performance connectivity more consumable and sustainable. Through ‘networks that sense, think and act’ we are delivering the future ready performance, AI automation and as-a-service flexibility that enterprises need to realise the full potential of digital.

The refreshed brand is a visual representation of Nokia’s purpose: ‘To create technology that helps the world act together.’

The new visual identity is also a way to illustrate how we are pioneering the next evolution of networking to deliver high performance connectivity with the consumability associated with cloud. We work to open networks for innovation and collaboration, sustainably and securely.

Hypertext: How have Nokia’s partners and customers have reacted to the change?

NM-D: We are just beginning to see reactions.

The design has been extensively researched through an independent study conducted by IPSOS and the findings were conclusive: 100% recognition, no foreign language issues of note with ‘positive and consistent cognitive effects’.

Additionally, the logo has been checked for accessibility in a digital environment.

We have conducted multiple studies to better understand Nokia’s brand values and elements of our culture that are most important for our customers, our people and our partners. 

Hypertext: How does the shift in strategy impact Nokia’s current and ongoing projects/initiatives in South Africa and the African continent, if at all?

NM-D: Nokia is refreshing its brand to signal our B2B focus and reflect who we are today.

Our new visual identity is emblematic of an energised, dynamic, and modern Nokia. It reflects the sole focus of Nokia’s business as a B2B technology innovation leader.

Nokia’s refreshed strategy includes six pillars that will drive its success and underpin its transformation: 

  • Grow market share with service providers, driven by technology leadership,
  • Expand the share of Enterprises in its customer mix. Drive more than €3 billion in organic sales annually by 2025, up from €2 billion today,
  • Actively manage business portfolio to ensure a leading position in all segments where it has decided to compete,
  • Nokia Technologies to seize opportunities from sectors outside mobile devices and continue investments in R&D,
  • Implement new business models and expand into adjacencies,
  • Develop ESG into a competitive advantage and become the ‘trusted provider of choice’ in the industry. 

These pillars are underpinned by four enablers: 

  • Develop future-fit talent by building on its people strategy with a strong focus on growth, skills, and development,
  • Invest in long-term research, especially in key domains such as 6G,
  • Digitalise its own operations and invest to further improve agility, productivity, customer relationships and the employee experience,
  • Refresh the brand to signal the focus on being a B2B technology innovation leader.

Hypertext: Will the primary focus of the company change at all in the coming year. Will messaging and engagement at events like AfricaCom be different in anyway for 2023?

NM-D: The renewed brand aligns with Nokia’s sustained long-term growth strategy and is part of a bigger initiative to reset, accelerate and scale the business – which has been underway since 2021. 

We want to capture and drive the opportunity of digital transformation, in every industry. We believe there are huge productivity, sustainability and accessibility gains possible in a future where more people and industries have access to the performance of digital.

We are excited about the role Nokia can play in pioneering the future of B2B networking and  want to develop ESG into a competitive advantage and become the ‘trusted provider of choice’ in the industry.

Hypertext: Looking at the South African landscape, what will Nokia’s key focus areas be moving forward?

NM-D: As mentioned earlier, our strategy is to deliver sustained long-term growth, as we capture the opportunity of digital transformation, in every industry.

Hypertext: While the mobile side of the business does not fall under your company’s purview, do you expect the HMD Global-led Nokia Mobile brand to change. It too leverages the same design language and branding that your company uses?

NM-D: There are many well-known global technology businesses that successfully run both B2B and B2C brands, in parallel.

The brand refresh will enable and empower Nokia’s B2B and B2C teams through more distinct personalities and branding, as we continue delivering on our purpose: “to create technology that helps the world act together.”

Hypertext: Lastly, sustainability has been a key focus for Nokia in recent years. What, if anything, happens to those objectives for the company following this change in brand/strategy?

NM-D: The ESG strategy is aligned with the topics that are most material to Nokia and its stakeholders. Sustainability is a core component of Nokia’s business and technology strategies because we believe there is no green without digital.

On 31st October 2022, we announced our enhanced Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy, designed to maximise Nokia’s impact. Combining its technology, solutions and capabilities to address some of the biggest global challenges, the strategy also aims to create increased value.

We have been chosen as one of the Most Ethical companies for several years in a row. We pride ourselves on our ethics and compliance practices.


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