SINGAPORE: As the focus shifted to ‘Asia to the World’ on Day 3 of AdAsia 05 here, Samsung became the case study of a great Asian success in ‘Rising to the global challenge’. How did this South Korean conglomerate achieve the position of a global brand?
Said Seong Soo (Sunny) Hwang, VP and Head of Worldwide Sports Marketing and Communications, Samsung Electronics, “Samsung creates the future; it does not wait for the future to arrive.”
Seong pointed out that till less than a decade ago, Samsung was seen as a “me-too brand”. The group undertook a major brand repositioning initiative starting 1999 to raise the awareness level of the brand to make it a global power brand.
“Today, Samsung is the No. 7 brand in the world and is the most profitable IT company,” he said, adding, “We achieved this through a holistic marketing system, and centralisation of our global communication. Stage One of this exercise established us as a value for money brand.”
In Stage Two of its branding strategy, Samsung wants to pitch the brand and its products at “high life seekers to become a premium, Tier I brand. So, we have launched our ‘Imagine’ campaign this year to achieve this next level,” Seong explained.
He further informed that behind all this was the digital convergence that Samsung as a brand espoused in its communication. “We had the technology. We saw the changes in the market. We realised the importance of convergence in the digital, mobile age. So, Samsung achieved product leadership through Samsung Design,” he said.
The brand building initiative was buttressed by another communication plank – sports marketing. “We are sponsors of almost all major sporting events worldwide. We sponsor Chelsea in the English Premier League. We have been present in all Olympic Games since 1998,” Seong said, adding, “Today, we are a global premium brand and we have achieved this through our success in mobile phones (No. 2 after Nokia), brand management and sports sponsorship marketing.”
Adding to the discussion, Bharat Patel, Chairman, P&G India, said, “Surround marketing is the new buzz, and public relations plays a big role in the external communication for brands.”
Patel provided an interesting insight – companies spend the biggest chunk of their marketing budgets on retailers, followed by advertising, PR and word of mouth. “But surveys have shown that maximum sales are generated in reverse proportion. Word of mouth generates most sales, followed by PR communication and then advertising.”
Shahar Noor, Associate Director, Corporate Communications, Panasonic Malaysia, commented that Samsung had done a “great job of brand building by making mobile phones the pivot of its brand strategy”. He pointed out that advertising and promotions could help build global brands only if the brand “engages its consumers”.