Brown and Proud Movement – A Tech Brand with MLM Strategy (Part 1)

Last week, the parent company of MyPhone launched a new phone brand called the Brown and Proud Movement. I did not receive an invite for the event but I was amazed that most of the tech media were also not there. After seeing reactions from fellow tech bloggers on my Facebook feed the day after, B&P is not just a new phone brand but a MLM business.

WHAT IS MLM?

Multi-Level Marketing or MLM is defined by Forbes as a “marketing strategy in which the sales force is compensated not only for sales they personally generate, but also for the sales of others they recruit, creating a downline of distributors and a hierarchy of multiple levels of compensation.” Some of you may have joined, been invited or “kidnapped” by these people associated with MLM companies and forced you to listen to their business pitches. Sadly, MLM is a term that a lot of people tend to avoid. While there were stories of success from lucky people who earned millions and buying sports cars, most people who tried their luck in joining this so-called business failed, if not miserably.

Solid Group, Inc., the parent company of MyPhone came up with Brown and Proud Movement as a new phone brand to use this method. They are the first local brand to do so, and they have the balls to make it happen. I visited their website last weekend and downloaded the B&P kit. I have joined a couple of MLM groups before (yes, I became a sucker in my youth in desperation to earn some quick cash) so the format was very familiar to me.

COMPANY BACKGROUND

In order to gain the trust of a potential downline (recruitee), the upline (recruiter) must include in his business presentation that their company is financially liquid. Solid Group has a lot to boast, being the distributor of Sony, Samsung, Aiwa, Destiny Cable and of course MyPhone. They’ve been in business for 70 years as mentioned by Solid Group President David Lim in previous events, so naturally the potential downline will have some peace of mind.

PRODUCTS

This is where I start to get concerned. According to their kit, B&P has three products to offer. Brown 1 and Brown 2 are smartphones and Brown Tab 1 as their sole tablet. I learned that Brown 1 which has a 4.7″ IPS screen, a MediaTek processor, 16GB Internal Storage and 2GB RAM, and a 13 Megapixel camera is priced at P9,500.00. To be honest, this is priced way too high. One can buy a Cherry Mobile Desire R7 which almost has the same specs of the Brown 1 for almost half the price at only P4,999! Don’t want to compare it with a local brand? Okay, let’s compare it with an international brand. A Vivo Y55s that possess a more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 3GB RAM for P8,990. How about a Nokia? A Nokia 3 that almost has the same specs except for its main 8 Megapixel camera but housed in a aluminum frame can be purchased for P6,990.

These arguments are valid, but I already know how B&P Movement will respond – “We are not selling you phones or gadgets. We are offering you a business.”

(To be continued…)

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