Is OnePlus Changing Its Strategy – Strategy With RS
Did you notice the advertisement released in today’s Times of India (Mumbai edition) – referenced above.
It seems that OnePlus is straying away from the strategy that catapulted it to pinnacles of success.
What was OnePlus’ strategy?
It had intelligently embedded principles of Behavioral Sciences into its Business Model.
Behavioral Sciences principles seeks to understand why people intuitively / subconsciously behave the way they do – without much or any persuasion. Then companies seek to strategically embed these principles into their business model & place triggers, which get customers to behave the way, they desire.
Let us come to OnePlus.
They have embedded 3 principles of behavioral Sciences into their business model:
1. Scarcity Effect: Anything that is scare becomes valuable to humans. By making OnePlus accessible ‘By Invite Only’ ensured that it was not easily available – hence it became ‘valuable’ & desirable.
2. Social Proof: When I handled Bagpiper whiskey, we always put in every communication, ‘India’s largest selling whiskey’. What was the objective? To subliminally indicate to people who were not buying Bagpiper that if it is India’s largest selling whiskey then large number of people must be buying it – and so many people cannot be wrong. Let us come to OnePlus – because it is available only through invite, hence it becomes valuable & desirable. What happens next? People frantically send message to each other to find out who has an invite & then request them to share it … when people see so ‘many’ of there friends frantically searching for an invite it subliminally indicate to them that OnePlus has to be good … because so many people cannot be wrong.
3. Tribal Feeling: For survival, evolutionary biology has encoded in all humans to belong / be a part of a ‘tribe’. Today when we can survive ‘alone’ even then this feeling persists. The ‘invite’ strategy seems to indicate to people, who have not got an invite, that they are not a part of the tribe … and they make effort to join it.
What did embedding these Behavioural Sciences strategy do for OnePlus?
It helped ‘differentiate’ itself; carve out a unique place for them & stand out in the crowded Hand set market.
The advertisement seems to indicate that OnePlus seems to be jettisoning its ‘Invite Only’ strategy. By doing it is following the footsteps of its peers .
This will make them similar / undistinguished form their peers. And in the long run it could become fatal.
I can sense a question taking root in you mind?
Can’t a company change its strategy over time?
Of course it can. But the new strategy should make it more unique … more differentiated compared to its competitors – not make them ‘same’.
By change in its strategy OnePlus may become undifferentiated vis-a-vias its competitors. And in the long run it can prove to be fatal.
Yes, I understand this shift in strategy is only for 3 days. But the moment a company deviates form its chosen strategy, even if it is for a limited time only, then the cleverly embedded principle of behavioral sciences become less potent to influence its users behavior.
By pursing this short term strategy OnePlus is shifting from creating a phone that uses desire & seek out to selling more & more handsets to make more & more profit – just like there peers.
Result – in the short run they will succeed but in the long run they may come to grief.
BTW the OnePlus 2 handset is an extremely great product.
Friends I have candidly shared my take on there strategy. What do you feel about it? I look forward to your comments.
In this series, Rajesh Srivastava, Business Strategist and Visiting Faculty at IIM Indore gives you a regular dose of strategy case studies to help you think and keep you one step ahead as a professional as compared to your peers. Rajesh is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore and IIT Kanpur and has over 2 decades of experience in the FMCG industry. All previous Strategy with RS posts can be found here