A rumor emerged last night about yet another change in HTC’s branding strategy. According to Twitter user @evleaks, HTC’s upcoming flagship phone will be simply called the HTC One.
Previously, what was supposedly a leaked promotional material of a French retailer suggested that HTC would sell the successor to the One X under the M7 name. Moreover, company CEO Peter Chou was recorded chanting “M7!” at a recent company event.
However, @evleaks has a proven record of supplying insider information related to HTC, so there’s a good chance the report is accurate.
HTC M7 coming to market as simply the HTC One.
— @evleaks (@evleaks) February 8, 2013
Regardless of which rumor you choose to believe, I think it’s obvious that HTC has a problem with creating and maintaining a well-defined brand image.
Neither of the two options is a good choice for a name, in my opinion. M7 may sound good, but what happens next year? Will HTC invent a brand new name in 2014?
HTC One could be turned into an evergreen brand, but it conflicts with last year’s naming convention. As my colleague Derek Ross commented on Google Plus, which phone would a new customer pick as top of the line, based solely on their names? HTC One X, or HTC One X+, or HTC One? I think most non-fan, non-techy buyers would consider last year’s One X+ the top of the line. And what happens to the other phones that HTC plans to launch this year? How will the successors to the One S or One V be called?
In my opinion, HTC should pick a distinctive brand name for its top of the line devices and stick with it, like Samsung did with the Galaxy S. People know that S phones are top of the line, even if Samsung markets about a million other Galaxy models.
HTC could even stick with last year’s convention and release the One X2. It has a nice ring to it, and people will instinctively recognize it as the newer and better smartphone.
In the past few months, the Taiwanese have repeatedly emphasized their “newfound” focus on marketing. Hopefully, it will be more than just talk this time, because the clear branding strategy that HTC promised for last year eventually devolved into a mess.
We should find out pretty soon – HTC has scheduled the launch of its new hero phone on February 19, with twin events in London and New York. We’ll be there to bring you all the good stuff.