ZTE has taken a number of bold steps to move beyond the B2B market and reach out to consumers to build brand awareness for its lineup of smartphones.
In the US it has signed a one-year corporate sponsorship deal with the Houston Rockets basketball team for an undisclosed amount. The agreement, which can be extended to three years, is the first of its kind for ZTE and is a major shift for the company that is well known among telcos but lacks brand recognition among consumers in most markets outside of China.
The company held a press conference in Taipei on Sunday (before the pre-season game between the Rockets and Indiana Pacers) to announce to the Asian media the agreement that also includes being the official smartphone partner of the Rockets for the 2013-14 season. ZTE introduced a special edition white Grand S with the Rockets’ logo, which the company says will be carried by the team’s personnel.
On hand for the Taipei media event for the Rockets were CEO Tad Brown, VP of corporate development John Croley as well as Rockets’ star Chandler Parsons and Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler.
As part of the agreement, ZTE will receive use of Rockets marketing rights, TV-visible branded signage, and can target fans for giveaways and promotions at branded kiosks at home games and through in-game activations. The deal was first announced in early October in Houston.