Samsung brand strategy / positioning case study

Brand essence

Creating a better future by enriching people’s lives with innovation.

Brand values

Innovation, creativity, inspiration, empowerment.

Brand character

Pioneering, innovative, creative, bold, trendy.

Dominating archetype
EVIDENCE
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Alongside LG and Hyundai, Samsung is one of the few globally recognized Korean conglomerates. Although the company is best known for its consumer electronics products, its remit is much wider. It is not only one of the largest producers of smartphones and tablets, but also a major player in the life insurance market (Samsung Life) and one of the world’s biggest shipbuilders (Samsung Heavy Industries). It owns high-end golf courses, fashion brands (e.g., 8 Seconds and Beanpole) and a global advertising agency (Cheil Worldwide) and has the largest catering service company in Korea (Samsung Welstory).

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The company has come a long way – where it once positioned itself as a cheaper alternative for cost-conscious consumers, it is now one of the most valuable brands in the world. Samsung has not only improved the quality of its products, but also invested heavily in improving its marketing efforts. It has even overtaken Procter & Gamble to become the world’s largest advertiser. Samsung’s brand strategy is encapsulated in its so called “Vision 2020” and revolves around inspiring the world, creating a better future and enriching people’s lives[1]. Increasingly, Samsung’s communication focuses on the themes related to overcoming barriers and achieving things previously considered impossible. “Do what you can’t” was a communication platform for Samsung Galaxy smartphones (e.g., “Ostrich”[2]), but more recently the company started using it also for its umbrella brand campaigns (e.g., “Samsung’s Belief”[3]).

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Samsung in the past used to emphasize in communication the technology behind its products and their key features. Younghee Lee, one of the Samsung top marketing executives, described the firm from that period as a “boring and monotonous engineering company[4]. Samsung understood that in order to become a global leader in the more image-driven categories (including, for example, smartphones), it had to alter consumer perceptions of the company. The brand’s communication has shifted from product-driven to more consumer-centric. It now focuses on how various products and technologies can “create meaning in the lives of consumers”[5] and consistently builds the image of a modern, pioneering, creative and innovative brand.

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When Samsung is compared to Appleits biggest competitor for many years (a position now being challenged by the Chinese phenomenon Huawei), certain similarities are apparent, in particular on the visual level of the communication of both brands. What distinguishes Samsung is how much effort the brand puts into building relationships with its consumers, especially through social media channelsApple, though currently more active, seems to be consciously increasing distance between its brand and consumers. Samsung does the opposite – it is one of the most active brands on social media, is famous for its non-standard content marketing approach and builds multiple partnerships to reach new audiences.

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Samsung is primarily a Creator brand as it has been constantly proving its commitment to creativity and innovation. However, it also uses the narrative characteristic of the Hero archetype – like Microsoft, it communicates how people can feel empowered to achieve more in their lives with Samsung products. Moonsoo Kim, Executive Vice President of Global Marketing Center at Samsung Electronics said: “We believe that our innovations open opportunities for people to reach higher and dream bigger. At Samsung, enriching people’s lives is at the center of everything we do, and our marketing reflects this philosophy.[6]

Tagline
Most important campaigns

1. “Samsung’s Belief ‘Do What You Can’t’” (2019)

2. “Samsung Galaxy: Be Together” (2018)

3. “Samsung QLED 8K TV : 2018 Perfect Reality” (2018)

4. “Galaxy Note9: Fortnite Victory Dance” (2018)

5. “Ostrich” (2017)

6. “Samsung Galaxy: Growing Up” (2017)

Official brand statement:

Vision 2020
‘Inspire the World, Create the Future’.

The Vision 2020 is at the core of our commitment to create a better world full of richer digital experiences, through innovative technology and products. The goal of the vision is to become a beloved brand, an innovative company, and an admired company. For this, we dedicate our efforts to creativity and innovation, shared value with our partners, and our great people.
We have delivered world best products and services through passion for innovation and optimal operation.
We look forward to exploring new business areas such as healthcare and automotive electronics, and continue our journey through history of innovation. Samsung Electronics will welcome new challenges and opportunities with joy.[7]

Interesting facts:

Samsung is a major manufacturer of electronic components (batteries, semiconductors, chips, flash memory etc.) for some of its biggest competitors including Apple, Sony and HTC.[8]

Must-reads

1. Samsung’s press release about the future of its smart TV business
“3 Ways That Samsung’s 2019 Smart TVs Will Change How You Interact With Your TV”, Samsung Newsroom, Jan 2019,
https://news.samsung.com/global/3-ways-that-samsungs-2019-smart-tv-will-change-how-you-interact-with-your-tv

2. Samsung’s marketing case study
M. Roll, “Samsung – The Global Asian Brand”, Martin Roll, Nov 2017,
https://martinroll.com/resources/articles/marketing/samsung-global-asian-brand/

3. Campaign on the “Do what you can’t” communication platform
E. Tan, “Samsung Underscores #Dowhatyoucant Brand Strategy With New Global Ad For S8 Galaxy”, Campaign, Apr 2017,
https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/samsung-underscores-dowhatyoucant-brand-strategy-new-global-ad-s8-galaxy/1429949

4. Interview with Younghee Lee, CMO of Samsung Electronics
N. O’Leary, “Q&A: How Samsung Embraced Innovation To Become A Global Master Of Brand Marketing”, Adweek, Jun 2016,
https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/qa-how-samsung-embraced-innovation-become-global-master-brand-marketing-171893/

Sources:
SIMILAR BRANDS

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