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Charting Samsung's meteoric rise

Rise: The Samsung brand has captured public attention

From kicking off its Olympic sponsorship with David Beckham to launching its best selling Galaxy S III, the past year was highly eventful for Samsung and culminated in it being crowned brand of the year at The Drum Marketing Awards. Here we take a look at a year in the life of the electronics giant.

2012 was a significant year for Samsung, with the South Korean electronics giant’s brand value soaring as its sponsorship of the London Olympic Games was bolstered by an array of new products and campaigns across all of its lines. Seventeenth in Ipsos Mori’s influential brands rankings and ninth in Interbrand’s global brand scales, there’s no doubt that this is a company worth keeping an eye on as it continues its meteoric rise to the top. And it is a success story that has not gone unnoticed by the judges of this year’s The Drum Marketing Awards, who voted Samsung their brand of the year. Here we take a look at what marketers can learn from a successful year for Samsung.THE BIG CAMPAIGNSponsorship of 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games: By far one of the most important moves from Samsung was its sponsorship of the Games, particularly the Torch Relay, which resulted in an estimated 14 million people across the UK seeing the Samsung branded bus.Samsung capitalised on the massive public interest in the Games by putting interaction high on the priorities list. With the slogan ‘Everyone’s Olympic Games’, people were given opportunities ranging from carrying the Olympic Flame to taking part in a Samsung Hope Relay, interacting digitally with ‘Team Samsung’ ambassadors and tagging themselves in the Samsung ‘Big Cheer’. It formed part of Samsung’s strategy to use the Games as an opportunity to directly engage with as many people as possible before, during and after the Games through technology and taking the brand into the nation’s homes.Samsung’s online presence was helped by the integration of its Galaxy S III and Note into the opening ceremony of the Olympics, which further increased social media interest.LAUNCHES AND PARTNERSHIPSIn addition to Olympics sponsorship, 2012 saw Samsung launch an impressive array of new innovative products and bespoke partnerships to help elevate the brand’s aspirational qualities and establish prime positioning within the market.We Are David Bailey: Working with the world-famous photographer, Samsung found a group of amateurs sharing his name, in a fully integrated, wide-reaching campaign to highlight the capabilities of the Samsung NX Smart Camera via advertising, retail, PR and social media.Galaxy S III launch: Samsung welcomed the world’s media to the global launch of its flagship Galaxy S III mobile device at London’s Earls Court. Samsung then employed the services of singing star Pixie Lott to heighten interest in the product with a special appearance at the Samsung brand store in Westfield Stratford City in May, together with a launch event for lifestyle media at the Natural History Museum’s Darwin Centre. The brand used the opportunity to promote a ‘human’ and ‘nature-inspired’ characteristics of the Galaxy S III.Galaxy Note 10.1 launch: Samsung again used the celebrity pull to generate interest in a launch event. A star-studded VIP event at One Mayfair in central London saw Kylie Minogue perform in a bespoke dress made from the Galaxy Note 10.1, designed exclusively by Matthew Williamson to an audience of UK media, celebrities and Samsung partners.Robbie Williams sponsorship: And so the celebs continue, this time with Samsung’s headline sponsorship of the Robbie Williams’ Take The Crown tour show, which showcased the Galaxy camera as a hero product. The sponsorship was an opportunity for extensive branding - including 60 branded taxis across London, Manchester and Glasgow offering fans a chance to meet the star by tweeting pictures of them – experiential activity and product giveaways at his O2 London gigs. A programme of media interviews saw the former Take That star discussing his relationship with the Samsung brand.Win a Pro Contract: Samsung targeted young males and the youth market with a pioneering campaign offering the opportunity of a lifetime for football fans – to become professional footballers. The campaign maximised impact via media partnerships and high-reaching social channels, as well as increasing brand awareness among the key audience of football fans.The X Factor sponsorship: Samsung achieved invaluable TV audience access with its high profile sponsorship of the 2012 series of The X Factor, which delivered regular TV ad spots throughout the entire series and provided a media value of £5m. Online exposure was gained by contestants recording a total of 20 online video diaries using the Galaxy Note 10.1 and Samsung branding appearing on the show’s website. In addition, an exclusive X Factor Android app for Samsung customer was trailed prominently during the live shows.The Prince’s Trust and Samsung Celebrate Success Awards: Samsung acted as the title sponsor for this awards programme, which celebrates young people who have changed their lives and those who have played a part in supporting the work of The Prince’s Trust.Jubilee Time Capsule: Samsung didn’t let the buzz of the Royal Jubilee pass it by and again used it as an opportunity to engage directly with the public. As a Royal warrant holder, Samsung provided a Galaxy Note 10.1 to store content relating to the memories and recollections of the past 60 years from over 37,000 people to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The brand provided screen for displaying the digital content submissions at the presentation to Her Majesty and enable overseas contributors to get involved via Skype.Conde Nast partnerships: Samsung reached out to print audiences when it partnered with GQ and Wired to publicise its smart TV range and raise its brand perception with their readers. Samsung Smart TV sponsored an invitation-only breakfast event at the Wired 2012 conference, with guests discussing the potential and impact of the smart revolution. An exclusive reader event with Olympic hero Alex Partridge took place with GQ.RESULTSDuring the Olympics, the brand experienced significant direct results, such as brand connection growing 29 per cent and brand sentiment by 35 per cent, while visits to the brand’s website saw a 111 per cent uplift – a bigger increase than any other Olympic sponsor. The Galaxy S III went on to become the UK’s top selling handset following the Olympic opening ceremony, while sales of its smartphones in general led the way to a strong position over competitors, with Samsung becoming the global leader for smartphone shipments ahead of Apple and Nokia. This buzz carried through to social media, where Samsung added an extra 32,000 Twitter followers and 100,000 Facebook fans during the Olympic Torch Relay and Olympic Games period, with the electronics giant claiming the largest share of voice through social media and the best UK Twitter reach among the Olympics worldwide partners.2012 saw Samsung overtake Nokia as the world’s biggest smartphone manufacturer and its smartphone market share grew from 27 per cent in January 2012 to over 20 per cent in July 2012. Samsung is currently the number one TV manufacturer and the most awarded TV brand in the UK.Samsung announced a host of new products at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas at the beginning of the year, including the S9 4K TV, and is showing no signs of slowing down as its brand value continues to climb and further infiltrate its varying markets.Having worked with Samsung on a series of campaigns, agency Cheil spoke to The Drum about the success of the brand.MD of Cheil UK, Matt Pye, said: The key objective for Samsung last year was to increase their most preferred score. Following successful launches of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the activation around the London 2012 – Samsung achieved a 93 per cent uplift in brand scores and the most successful Olympic activation in history – all of which were worked on by Cheil. The Galaxy S3 launch helped make the Galaxy S3 most successful of the time, while the Olympics activation – from the Torch Bearer Relay float to the pop up PIN stores – created a compelling platform for consumer engagement. Cheil’s idea to launch the NX camera range, by working with David Bailey to recruit an army of his namesakes to showcase the NX range as a camera that turns everyday people into professionals, formed the basis of an integrated campaign through the line using everything from print, TV, PR and social media. The NX campaign saw its latest iteration recently with an eBay auction featuring photography from David Bailey namesakes as well as the man himself, at a star-studded bash in London which raised a significant amount of money for Marie Curie Cancer Care.Samsung has always been synonymous with great, innovative products. We’ve started to deliver more emotional engagement so that people are starting to have a deeper relationship with the brand than they’ve ever had before; Samsung works with its agencies to help people accelerate discoveries and possibilities through its innovative products.Samsung was named Brand of the Year at this year's Drum Marketing Awards earlier this month. The full list of winners from the night can be viewed here.For more information about The Drum Marketing Awards, or to register your interest for next year’s Awards, visit The Drum Marketing Awards website

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