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Why Samsung is Most Attractive and Trusted, but not Samsung Mobiles?

27-October-2017
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Why Samsung is Most Attractive and Trusted, but not Samsung Mobiles?

Samsung, the South Korean durable goods maker, is winning hearts in India, but the mobile phone brand is still reeling from the after-effects of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 device disaster from last year. While Samsung the consumer electronics brand has regained its lead and topped the charts in both the Most Attractive Brands (MAB) list and Most Trusted Brands index, Samsung Mobiles ranked 215 in the MAB index and in the same index Samsung Galaxy Note was ranked 473. 

Despite the resurgence of Samsung, Samsung Mobiles has not managed to make a come back after last year’s disaster. This year, among Mobile Phones brands Chinese brand Oppo came in at 20 in the overall Most Attractive Brands list, followed by Vivo at 26, and Nokia at 28. Samsung Mobiles lagged behind all other major mobile phone brands like Micromax, Blackberry, Motorola, HTC, Apple iPhone, Redmi, Xiaomi, etc. Samsung, which was ranked 18 in the Most Trusted Brands Index in 2016, climbed 17 ranks over the previous year to grab the top spot in 2017. Samsung Mobiles, which was the Most Trusted Brand in 2016, has been badly hit and has seen a significant drop. In 2015, Samsung Mobiles from the personal gadgets category led the 1000 Most Attractive Brands index. The brand took a beating in 2016 after Samsung’s flagship product the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 began blowing up because of faulty batteries.

The brand will take some time to rebuild trust and make a come back, said Harish Bijoor brand guru and Founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc. “What blows up in your face causes damage and leaves a scar behind. That scar will take a while for Samsung to erase. The scar the exploding battery left on the brand properties of "Samsung", "Galaxy" and "Note8" were deep.”

A number of factors have impacted the brand attractiveness and brand trust of Samsung Mobiles. “There is also the issue of the on-going leadership crisis at Samsung in South Korea due to a corruption case. News like this reaches Indian audiences,” N Chandramouli, CEO, Trust Research Advisory, said.

Given that both the consumer durables brand and the mobile phone brand are name Samsung, there may be some transference of brand trust and brand attractiveness from the mother brand to the sub-brand. However, the transference of the impact seems to have curbed. “Samsung is verticalised very well. Consumers understood that what happened to the phone was a battery fault. That localised the issue and the brand damage was to that extent, less,” Bijoor said.

Chandramouli cautioned that the brand could stay away from using the words Galaxy, and Note for its next offerings to insulate itself from losing trust and attractiveness.

But Samsung is on a path to recovery. “Subsequent quick, clear and dramatic actions taken by Samsung have helped the brand. But erasing the scars will take time. Possibly two generations of consumers will remember it. Fortunately, in mobile phone space, one generation is just 18 months!,” Bijoor said. The recovery is also driven by Samsung’s response the problem. “Firstly the brand got off the pedestal and said that there was a fault. it owned it. It sorted it out. It pulled out the faulty offering. It rectified it. And brought it all back. All this very swiftly and with a great degree of open-ness. That worked for Samsung,” he added.

The Most Attractive Brands index and the Most Trusted Brands index are compiled by brand analytics firm, TRA Research.

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