RIP Ovi

It was announced yesterday that Nokia’s service brand Ovi would be dissolved, bringing their internet services offer back under the Nokia brand.

Moving Brands worked with Nokia to create the Ovi identity in 2007. It was a turning point for the Nokia organization, who were then the global market leader in mobile phones. We had been working with Nokia (re-branding their master brand and re-designing their online experience) to ensure their visual identity reflected their narrative of “Connecting people,” in a changing environment where connections were no longer made one to one, but many to many. The new identity we created reflected this, but it was Ovi, and all that this platform enabled, that ensured their business offer reflected the growing meaning of ‘connection’ in the telecommunications space. Four years on, and despite fierce competition, recent figures show that global users are downloading on average five million products a day.

Reading the comments and articles online, there have been many over-simplified responses to the dissolution of Ovi. Many see the move as inevitable, and on the back of the announcement of their agreement with Microsoft, this isn’t surprising. Other responses have questioned why a distinct service brand was ever created, and labeled it a short-sighted approach when their key competitor was busy launching the iPhone.

According to Nokia’s EVP and Chief Marketing Officer, Jerri DeVard, the decision to change their service branding from Ovi to Nokia is to “reinforce the powerful master brand of Nokia and unify our brand architecture.”

According to MB’s CEO Ben, “It should always have been called Nokia – because it’s about ‘connecting people’ beyond a phone call. That’s what we recommended from as early as 2004! It was politics that divided it – and politics that broke it!”

The death of Ovi is just another step in the life-cyle of a company that has historically thrived on its ability to transform. Up until the 1990’s, Nokia was, at varying times, better known for their gas masks, wellington boots or tyres. We wonder what the next few years will bring?

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