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As one of the world’s leading smartphone manufacturers, the Chinese brand vivo is widely known for its exceptional technological innovation, and enjoys a reputation as a leader in photography and gaming hardware. But in an increasingly saturated phone market, vivo understood that it wasn’t enough to lead the pack based solely on technological excellence. To win the hearts of young Chinese consumers, they needed to become a beloved consumer technology brand.

China consumes roughly 30 percent of the world’s smartphones, presenting a tremendous market opportunity to brands who capture young consumers’ loyalty. In order to achieve that, vivo wanted to design a complete brand experience beyond the devices themselves—one that would express the joyful vivo brand spirit through services and retails. One of their first key initiatives was to build its first concept store in an iconic building of Shenzhen, China.

vivo's ambition does not stop at being the world's top smartphone manufacturer. We also want to be loved by the Chinese young people as an exciting brand.

Seon Hwang, Senior Director Brand Strategy, vivo

Before building the concept store, vivo approached IDEO to explore what kind of experience would not only resonate with the Chinese young people, but also express the vivo brand? To help shift how vivo thinks as a company, from a focus on products to a focus on brand-building, IDEO set out to help vivo understand how their young consumers experience fun—a core tenet of the vivo brand. The concept store needed to convey joy and fun in a meaningful and memorable way. It was not just about designing the space, but about piloting into vivo’s future brand systems.

After researching in four different cities, IDEO shared the stories of young Chinese consumers back with the vivo team.Their interviews revealed that young people value experiences that enrich their lives and create a feeling of positive personal transformation. They seek opportunities to expose themselves to new experiences, express themselves in different ways, expand and deepen their social connections, and build knowledge and skills. Through this understanding of how young Chinese define “enjoyment,” IDEO helped vivo identify the value proposition of the concept store as expressing oneself in new and different ways. The store would allow every visitor to see something unique and find a fresh perspective. The vivo team took that value proposition into a design brief and later built out the space and interactive experiences.

Vivo Concept Store Collage

vivo's first concept store vivo Lab in Shenzhen, China. All images are provided by vivo.

The concept store launched at Shenzhen on March 22, 2019. The second floor of the store is dedicated entirely to interactive experiences using photo booths, sound recording, and lighting technology. This is an important milestone in vivo’s transformation from a smart phone maker to a consumer brand.

Official launch video provided by vivo.