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Samsung Techonology@Home: Story of a Brand

12 January 2010 4,751 views 2 Comments
Kishore Bhargava

Kishore Bhargava

Event: Samsung India (LED and LCD TV) organized a unique workshop on future technology & aesthetics – Technology@Home. Date: Saturday, Jan 09, 2010. Location: Chocó La in Khan Market, New Delhi.

I remember a German colleague being amused on seeing a lubricant being sold with the byline “superior German technology”  at a petrol pump in Delhi! Whenever we see a label like “Made in German” or “Made in China” immediately our mind throws up stereotypes! So, what is YOUR image about the Brand “Korea” and more specifically “Samsung”? Any pre-conceived notions? Do send in your comments!

There has been a pereception about Koreans being clutter-oriented and going for overkill in design.

But, my experience has been different. If fact, there is an interesting 500 year old story on how Koreans designed their own alphabet to carve a unique identity (Branding Strategy?) seperate from Chinese (and later with Japanese).

In 1414, Sejong the Great initiated a project to create the unique Korean Script (till then they were using Chinese characters with special symbols). It took about 2 years to design the script, but the resulting system is a LESSON in simplicty.  The script, now  known as Hangul (or Hangeul or Hankul), has been variously applauded as “remarkable,” “the most perfect phonetic system devised,” and “brilliant, so deliberately does it fit the language like a glove”.

For example, visually, Hangul scripts starts off with ㄱ ㄴ ㄷ ㄹ ㅁ- How simpler can you get!  There are other interesting elements like shapes of consonants matching shape of the mouth when you make the sound! (A personal tidbit: I enjoyed learning the Korean alphabet when I was associated with QuarkXpress Korean team in India – but, no comments in Korean language please, that was long ago!).

Fast forward to the last decade when Samsung was a low-end consumer electronics company and they decided to accelerate up the “Value-Chain” and give “Samsung TV” a central role in overall Branding strategy. As Businessweek reported:

Most people carry their mobile phones with them everywhere, while their TV is the center of the family room. “We wanted the brand in users’ presence 24/7,” says Peter Weedfald, head of Samsung’s North American marketing and consumer electronics unit.

Jez Frampton shares how the Samsung mamagement transformed their “attitude, behavior, and business strategy” by making brand value a key performance indicator (KPI) for its top executives:

It (KPI) enabled the team to focus on the activities, messages, and business areas (not to mention a focus on design and experience) – all of which we knew would lead to the greatest increase in brand value. This affects budget-setting, allocation and, of course, provides a simple metric for success: “Did we create brand value?”

History reveals that this was a clever move. Samsung witnessed a significant increase in both brand and shareholder value. They soon outgrew Sony, the original challenge that Samsung’s executives had set for themselves before the KPI program was initiated.

Interbrand, the international Brand Consultancy, has played a role in this process as they have helped Samsung raise its brand value to US $16.8 billion. Interbrand’s Best Global Brands 2009 lists Samsung at 19th position (up 2 from 21), but a 1% dip in overall Brand value.

So, what are some of the Branding lessons here? Let us list a few:

  • First, send a clear and consistent message INTERNALLY across all teams
  • Second, have a long-term branding building strategy – you cannot keep shuffling on short-term trends
  • Third, sweat the small stuff – if “innovation” is your brand recall message then you need put in more effort in research than anyone else

Coming to Chocó La event, Technology consultant & Open Source Wizard Kishore Bhargava gave a captivating presentation on how one can create a centralized set-up to integrate all your Audio-Visual needs at home – movies, music, images and games.

Next, Interior Designer and columnist Rekha Nambiar  gave a fluent talk on the challenges of the Indian Home (“loose wiring”, et al) with some handy tips on lighting & acoustics.

Later, Abhishek Rajan, Senior Product Executive and Prateek Seal, Senior Manager, Marketing, shared interesting facts and stories about LCD & LED technology (including how salesmen of some brands make you feel the “Liquid” in an LCD to indicate better quality!).

The event was organized by Blogworks: Rajesh Lalwani, Rajika Talwar, Manpreet, Amita and everyone else did a nice job in making eveyone comfortable and ensure good participation.

Disclosure: Received this Twitter T-Shirt like everyone else present. But, did NOT receive the LCD TV which was bagged by Hardik in a quiz contest:-))

Twitter Shirt for @amarsrivastava

Twitter Shirt for @amarsrivastava

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