If I asked you to make brand associations with a semiconductor-focused company like Qualcomm and its Snapdragon line of products, I guess you might not be offering Ferrari, Louis Vuitton or Manchester United, the power of English Premier League. And yet, over the past year, these are the companies and organizations that Qualcomm has partnered with to raise awareness of its Snapdragon products.
The deal with Manchester United, in fact, has just been announced and represents Qualcomm’s latest effort to promote the Snapdragon brand to a much wider consumer audience. Full details of the partnership remain to be seen, but it’s certainly not hard to imagine things like Snapdragon-powered AR/VR experiences at Man Utd matches, in addition to typical sponsorship deals.
The interesting part of these various brand partnerships is that they are also synchronized with a strategic diversification of the company’s efforts to enter new product categories and different industries. Long recognized as a key player in the development of chips for smartphones and other mobile devices, as well as a leading developer of critical IPs for telecommunications industry standards like 5G, Qualcomm recently set out to to extend its influence to several advanced smart computing applications.
On the automotive side, for example, the strategic technology partnership with Ferrari is part of Qualcomm’s efforts in its automotive-focused Snapdragon Digital Chassis platform. As cars become increasingly smarter and more connected (as well as electrified), a massive influx of major chipmakers have made inroads into the auto industry to help with these efforts.
The Snapdragon Digital Chassis effort consists of four parts which cover cockpit controls, connectivity, autonomous driving and the car-to-cloud platform, with Ferrari initially focusing on Qualcomm’s Cockpit platform. Like many of its competitors, Qualcomm is working with many automakers, including BMW, GM, and Stellantis (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, etc.), on different combinations of these different capabilities.
As it’s still early days for these efforts, revenue on the automotive side is currently modest, but during last week’s positive quarterly earnings call, the company mentioned that it had built an impressive $19 billion pipeline. orders in the automotive industry. (Because of the way cars are designed and built, orders often arrive years before the cars are finished and revenues are recorded).
Louis Vuitton’s connection is part of the company’s latest efforts in wearables (see “Qualcomm Accelerates Wearables with W5 Platforms”), as the market for devices such as the smart watches continue to evolve and expand. While many wearables have focused primarily on fitness, there has also been a growing push to turn them into fashion-conscious accessories, especially with the smaller and thinner designs than the latest Snapdragon W5 chips. generation allow for the first time.
In the case of the new partnership with Manchester United, it is arguably an extension of the company’s existing sports-focused marketing efforts, such as the branding of the new Snapdragon Stadium, located near the headquarters. of the company in San Diego. (The previous stadium, located on the same site, had been named Qualcomm Stadium from 1997 to 2017 and served as home stadium for both San Diego State University and the San Diego Chargers NFL team.) Man Utd , however, has much more global appeal and reflects the company’s desire to make Snapdragon a global consumer tech ingredient brand, conceptually similar to what Intel did with its long-running Intel Inside campaign.
Part of Qualcomm’s diversification efforts is very pragmatic, as the global smartphone market that has helped the company’s recent growth has shrunk (although, to be clear, it’s still a very big market ). To continue growing, the company must diversify in new directions. Beyond pragmatism, however, the company’s expertise in connectivity and compute is strategically timely. As more devices are connected and demand for energy-efficient SOCs grows, Qualcomm’s suite of products and technologies is proving to be a good choice for an increasingly diverse range of industries. With this in mind, increasing the brand exposure of the company’s core product line just makes sense.
Disclosure: TECHanalysis Research is a market research and consulting company in the technology sector and, like all companies in this field, works with many technology providers as clients, some of which can be listed in this article.