Decoding the cultural driving force of TECNO Mobile

TECNO Mobile has recently been recognised in Africa’s Top Brands 2021 for its brand leadership and by Counterpoint Research for its technological prowess. Why is the company so admired in Africa and how does it intend to maintain its leadership? We examine the key factors behind TECNO’s success.

In the recently released African Top Brands ranking 2021, TECNO ranks among the Top 6 brands on the African continent for the fifth consecutive year, another highly prestigious recognition of the brand’s leadership in Africa. Earlier this year, Counterpoint Research ranked TECNO as Africa’s number one smartphone brand in 2020, stating that TECNO made its breakthroughs in mobile photography technology and continued investment in the market throughout the pandemic despite a challenging year.

Speaking on these remarkable achievements, TECNO gave a very humble response by thanking African consumers’ trust and support for the brand, and also openly shared that the company always looked towards the future to tackle the challenges presented by societal and technology trends. 

With the rise of African economies and young consumers, Africa’s smartphone landscape is changing rapidly. Looking back on the historical rankings, Samsung and TECNO have for the most part led the change in the past five years. It’s not too much to say that to see the future of Africa’s smartphone market, we have to look at the trends that TECNO and Samsung are embracing.

Globally, TECNO is undoubtedly a dark horse that is championing the African market while gaining significant momentum and robust growth world-wide. So what makes TECNO a brand most admired by Africa? In a world driven by the rise of social media and young users, what is TECNO’s strategy to hold on to and strengthen its leadership among future users? And what can we expect from the brand?  

Daring to challenge and commit to a neglected demand

As much as Samsung and Apple may dominate the international headlines, the real competition on the continent is taking place in the middle range smartphone brackets. TECNO is leading the challenge, where its products and services target every African market without discriminating or needing to restrict its geographical focus, relying on the quality of its products and the features it can offer. 

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Looking at TECNO’s culture, it’s no surprise that the customer is at the very centre of everything they do. By simply listening and daring to do what seems impossible to some, and pursuing these challenges, they have reaped the rewards of Africa’s admiration.

TECNO has set numerous records in the industry that define its success. To name a few, it was the first to launch dual SIM cards in Africa over a decade ago to solve the expensive data-roaming problem and the complexity of telecom service providers, the first to develop larger and longer-lasting batteries that provided 72 hours of battery life and up to six days standby time to solve power supply issues, the first to bring a dark-skin camera solution, which is now a recognised leader in this regard at global level, and has been named a leader by Counterpoint Research report in AI-led camera performance in the new era. 

The culmination of these achievements certainly puts TECNO at the forefront of meeting neglected market demand; developing uniquely designed smartphones for consumers they know well has resulted in TECNO’s leadership today. With their innovation and industry leading technologies, it’s no surprise their devices are more accessible and priced favourably compared to other brands in the mid-range smartphone segment. 

Looking to the future, TECNO shared that they will cherish the consumers’ real demand from a smartphone brand and carry forward their strategy of connecting consumers with the latest contemporary technologies so their customers can pursue a better, smarter digitally connected life and uncover a world of possibilities. 

Innovation with a close watch on societal changes

The evolution of their products is closely related to the development of technology and societal changes. The rise of short, snackable content has recently dominated our media consumption behaviours. People in general love consuming short-format media, especially the younger generation. They are often criticised for the selfie revolution and being too self-centred and narcissistic.

TECNO is on the one hand innovating to bring the latest camera tech to consumers with optimisation for new social applications, and on the other hand calling for the public to employ devices in a positive way, as demonstrated in their recent #SelfieforGood short film which looks at the different sides of the selfie.

TECNO branded film The Rise of the Selfie on Youtube.

Through thorough consumer studies, TECNO has found that more and more people want to have a perfect moment to capture the perfect selfie on their devices to express “real life” and to show their “real self”. However, this also leads to polarised opinions around the selfie.

TECNO re-examined this phenomenon and launched its first branded documentary online, The Rise of The Selfie, which is not only the first short film by the brand, revealing the past and present of the selfie to consumers around the world, but also discusses in-depth techniques and applications of photography; ranging from the contribution of photography to the rise of the selfie, the emotional and human side behind the selfie, the power of the selfie generation and the future of this cultural phenomenon.

The recent launch of TECNO CAMON 17 ushers in the trend of the “real self” and pays attention to selfie technology, hoping that each individual can further express their unique self, and always “be young at heart”. It also further encourages young people to use the selfie for good in positive ways to speak to their dreams. 

International strategy and design thinking for the future

More and more mainstream media and industry organisations are beginning to take note of TECNO’s momentum in recent years toward further globalisation – continuous technological innovation, artistic excellence, and expanding their presence in more than 60 emerging markets around the world. To TECNO, this also means more responsibility for serving these consumers well for the future with an international mindset.

Chris Evans, TECNO brand ambassador.

Globally there is a prevailing trend for user-centred design, which TECNO has always been committed to embracing, as demonstrated in its products. In the first decade, TECNO’s product design started with fully understanding everyday problems their consumers faced. Today is no different. Although their customers’ needs will increasingly diversify, they will continue to pay close attention to these needs while broadening their consumer-centered designs to match.