CMO Q&A: Anand Chandrasekher, Qualcomm

Qualcomm's Anand Chandrasekher talks to Lindsay Stein about being in the mobile technology game for almost 30 years and newfound success.

Qualcomm's Anand Chandrasekher talks to Lindsay Stein about being in the mobile technology game for almost 30 years and newfound success. 

Tell me about Qualcomm.
Qualcomm is a company that is in the mobile and wireless sector and has been in business for more than 27 years.

If you use a smartphone or a mobile phone, much of the founding technology that goes into that device was invented by Qualcomm and we license those technologies to our partners so they can build phones. We also manufacture the core chips that go into these mobile devices that make them perform the way they do.

What are some of your focus areas and goals for the next six months?
I joined in August 2012 and the main focus area for me, as well as for the marketing organization, is to increase brand awareness of Qualcomm. We're probably the largest, yet least known, $100 billion-plus market cap company. Another focus area will be increasing the preference for our products' use in both smartphones and cellphones.

How are you raising brand awareness?
We created a little dragon mascot to represent Qualcomm Snapdragon and we are using that to make a connection with the consumer, who is ultimately buying our product.

The dragon mascot was released this year at the International Consumer Electronics Show. Our CEO Paul Jacobs was invited to give the opening keynote at CES, which for the last 14 years was delivered by Microsoft, so it was an honor and privilege for us to be able to speak about Qualcomm.

We opened up a section of the keynote introducing the dragon and used it to talk about two new products we're releasing this year, the Snapdragon 600 and 800. A commercial featuring the dragon was originally piloted in cinemas in five different cities and then went national in March.

We have other plans for the dragon as well. We will use him a lot during events to talk about things consumers find special or cool. The challenge with any marketing organization is to break through the clutter and we are hoping to use viral videos, featuring the dragon, to do that.

We are also fortunate that our product is part of the smartphone, a device loved by consumers. We will get past the clutter by making a connection via the smartphone.

What is the new brand campaign about?
The Born Mobile campaign is something we started at CES with Jacobs' keynote. The point of it is that Qualcomm has been in business for 27 years, and many people are now realizing that as smartphones be-come the main device we carry. It almost feels like we are an overnight success, but we have been a story for 27 years that has now become some sort of overnight success.

The point we want to convey is that in this environment, where basically everyone is targeting mobile, there's one company that has been doing it for a really long time, and that's Qualcomm.

Genetics are in the roots of mobility and the roots of this are difficult to replicate. It is the equivalent to me training for a professional sporting event for 30 years or if I just woke up and said, "I'm going to compete in that event." It would not be easy to do, and that is the point of the campaign.

The Snapdragon mascot will be featured in commercials and special events in the future.

How do marketing and PR work together at the organization?
We view PR, social, and marketing as one group and all of our campaigns are integrated. Everyone has to work together to get the message out. It's important be-cause you can get a "one plus one is greater than two" effect.

Measuring the ROI on one channel alone is irrelevant today because you might do something wonderful on social, but it might trigger a bunch of reactions on the PR side, and that could cause a consumer to do some research on Qualcomm Snapdragon. If the consumer goes on the Snapdragon website, or another site, was it from the PR or the social? The correct answer is probably a combination of the two - so integrated campaigns will get the results we desire and not focus on any one silo.

How are you leveraging social media?
The beauty of being a marketer in 2013 as opposed to 2003 is the ubiquity of social media and the number and variety of digital channels available to get a brand's message out in the market.

We are making the most of that and we are taking advantage of our social media and digital channels quite extensively and aggressively in our campaigns. We started a lot of that in 2012 and we are going to increase it in 2013.

Some of our viral videos include the Butter Benchmark, the Bug Circus, and the recently released Born Mobile. The videos are on both our YouTube and Facebook pages. Also, as part of the Born Mobile campaign, there will be a Snapdragon sweepstakes and a quiz we're asking consumers to do. On social, if you don't have engagement, you won't get the activity or traffic you need. 

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