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How Qualcomm developed a status as a market leader

How Qualcomm developed a status as a market leader


Without the need for much in the way of formal branding or marketing efforts, Qualcomm had quietly established itself as a pillar in the world of telecommunications innovation.

This all changed in 2008, when the company developed Snapdragon—a powerful new chipset that paved the way to introduce a new category of ultra-mobile computing devices: Smartbooks.


For the first time in its history, Qualcomm had a potential blockbuster consumer brand on its hands. Snapdragon needed a brand platform that was up to the challenge.

Taming the dragon Siegel+Gale began by identifying and defining an early-adopter consumer audience for Snapdragon, which we dubbed "firestarters."

If Qualcomm could engage this core audience of influencers, the brand's reputation would proliferate socially and create consumer demand.


To grab the firestarters’ attention and win their interest, Siegel+Gale brought the product brand to life with the promise of “igniting a mobile computer revolution” and a visual identity inspired by ideas of fire and dragons.

That strategic foundation gave ample room to articulate a set of brand values and a distinctive brand voice that capture the sizzling innovation and energy of Snapdragon.

Additionally, to help Qualcomm manage its dynamic new offering, they developed a marketing plan that mapped out a three-year brand trajectory.


In the words of Qualcomm’s head of marketing, “Siegel+Gale was spot on in identifying our target audience and developing the right brand essence for Snapdragon.” The high-profile launch of Snapdragon and other brands (such as Gobi, broadband technology to provide mobile internet) created the happy dilemma of needing to manage a growing portfolio of marquee brands.

To accommodate Qualcomm's growth without brand dilution or confusion, Siegel+Gale clarified the corporate brand story around Qualcomm's leadership position, and recommended a hybrid brand architecture to elevate the Qualcomm masterbrand and a limited set of strategically selected product brands.

This "most valuable player" model focuses on the chipsets and platforms that are expected to provide the most significant return on investment—concentrating excitement on Qualcomm’s key offerings in terms of innovation or consumer appeal.

They also established a standard naming structure from which only the MVP brands may deviate for intended differentiation, and extended the visual signature system to mirror the strategic relationship between Qualcomm and its entities.

The pace and depth of technological innovation—both in Qualcomm's offerings and across the industry as a whole—continue to pose unique branding challenges.

With a clear rationale for brand architecture and a simple decision tree to determine the level of branding for any current and future offerings, Qualcomm is armed with the tools needed to make well-aligned strategic decisions and maintain its identity as a market leader.

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