Over the past three years, HTC has struggled in the face of Samsung’s incredible rise to the top of the Android smartphone market, however the company is far from done. They might not sell as many devices, or push quite as many high-end devices as Samsung do, but they’ve resolved to do fewer things, better, rather than spread themselves too thin. One area that HTC arguably still needs to work on is their marketing, but over the years they’ve made some strategic moves. Signing Robert Downey Jr to promote their brands seems to have helped a little, but outside of North America, the Taiwanese firm has turned to Soccer. HTC have been the official sponsor of Europe’s UEFA Cup for a number of years now. In India, HTC has enjoyed a sponsorship program with the Indian Soccer League’s NorthEast United FC and recently they have agreed to extend this partnership.
Not only have HTC and NorthEast United FC agreed to continue their sponsorship program, but they’ve also signed John Abraham as their “Brand Evangelist” for the Indian market. Abraham is not only the co-owner of NorthEast United, but also a well known Bollywood actor and all-round personality in India, and will be a big coup for HTC. India has become a big market for HTC – as well as the likes of Motorola, Samsung and Sony – and Cher Wang said during an event that HTC is “excited to continue our support of NorthEast United FC, and we look forward to seizing this opportunity to revolutionize the face of Indian Soccer and sports in India as a whole. ISL is the fourth-highest attended football league in the world, and more than 430 million viewers tuned in last year.” Meanwhile, their new brand evangelist has said that “HTC stands for substance and elegance, it and has a strong connection with the youth; traits which are amply reflected in my own life. We are delighted that HTC will be supporting us again this season.”
Soccer has started to really take off in India, and while any sport will struggle to pry people’s eyes away from Cricket in the region, this is a good move for HTC. Perhaps this will lead to stronger sales and certainly an increased brand awareness for HTC in India among a younger audience.