Founded in 1995, Opera boasts more than 350 million users across the globe, with 277 million unique mobile users and more than 300 million using its suite of mobile apps.
The most popular app is the Opera Mini browser, with India and Indonesia representing the company’s first and second largest user base, respectively.
In addition, the Oslo-headquartered company lays claim to being the world's third-largest ad platform after Google and Facebook, reaching 1.1 billion people.
In fact, it's mobile advertising subsidiary, Opera Mediaworks, contributed 64 percent of the company’s total revenues of US$146 million in Q2 2015.
In an email interview with Campaign Asia-Pacific, Sean D'Arcy, VP of global marketing and distribution at Opera, said many factors drove the rebranding.
First and foremost was the need for a brand platform that better described why the company exists.
“Opera is all about empowering people to do more in their lives. The new 'O' is no longer just a letter,” he said. “It’s a symbol, a portal, that enables people to do more on the Internet.”
The company also needed to reposition itself as an internet company, and not just a browser maker, with products such as the Opera Max data-compression app and increasing focus on entering new consumer app categories.
“We also had a need to create a visual system, where we could expand our app and sub-brand portfolio, but still keep an Opera family feel,” said D'Arcy. “We wanted to make a fresh visual departure from our feature-phone past and into our smartphone and smart-device future.”
To achieve this, the company spent close to 17 months on the project, and worked with three agencies: DixonBaxi in the UK on brand strategy, Anti in Norway on the visual profile, and Icon Factory in the UK on making sure the app icons look their best on any screen.
The result is a refreshed logo and a new tagline of ‘Do More’, and D'Arcy said the new identity is already well in play.
“Last week we updated our desktop product with the new O. This week we updated our mobile products,” he added. “From a B2B perspective, we are using the new identity everywhere.”
The next steps for the company will be to revamp Opera.com, and to complete the sub-branding. Then it will be to execute a few campaigns that will showcase Opera’s “Do More” brand promise in a meaningful way.
“We’re very focused on digital marketing and communications, so the advertising and digital touchpoints we’re doing are already up and running,” said D'Arcy.
Opera recently conducted a launch event for consumers and members of the press in Indonesia, where more than 30 million users access the web through Opera mobile browsers every month.
“We localised and expand the brand message, "Do More" for Indonesians,” said D'Arcy. “October 28, was Youth Pledge Day, and the team invited the communities to share what they did and how they can do more for the youth in Indonesia.”
Opera has a significant following on Indonesian social channels with over seven million followers on Facebook, LINE and Mig33.
“We promoted these communities and their contribution to Indonesia. Overall the campaign generated millions of impressions on Twitter, LINE and Facebook,” D'Arcy added.
Opera’s marketing mix
Asked how much the company spends on its marketing efforts annually, D’Arcy replied with “millions of dollars”.
He added Opera’s marketing is focused primarily on digital channels.
“Our social-media channels are growing four times our user base, and we work with hundreds of internet influencers who can engage millennial audiences,” he said. “We also focus on app store and web optimization to ensure the traffic finds Opera, and do CPI-based performance advertising on both mobile and desktop.”
In Asia, D’Arcy added that the company continues to have good partnerships with mobile operators who do co-marketing, and it has a sizeable footprint with mobile handset markers that distribute its products.
“This past year we’ve also approached customer care as a way to build brand,” said D’Arcy. “We’re excited to do more of this.”
He added that the company has spent the past two years getting its digital marketing, distribution, and analytics “to be best in class.”
For the coming year, Opera Max, which compresses data to save the user's bandwidth allotment, will be a big focus, D’Arcy said.
“I think the brand refresh is a good signal that we’re interested in getting back to doing more organic activities. Doing excellent storytelling, engaging our loyal fans and followers, and doing smart cross-promotion,” he said.
“We’re also spending a lot more time better understanding the lifecycle of a customer, and ensuring they can get the most out of our products,” he added.
Asked about his personal approach to marketing, D’Arcy shared the following:
- Know where you are going, but don’t be afraid to experiment along the way.
- Try to measure everything so you can to continuously learn, improve, and share.
- Above all else, be authentic with your customers - over commit to helping them and stay true to your brand promise.