Digital Transformation Brand Purpose Brand Strategy

Samsung’s marketing makes the commonplace feel transformative

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By Chris Sutcliffe | Senior reporter

February 22, 2022 | 9 min read

Samsung has been a regular feature in Interbrands’s Global Brands report, this year being named one of the top 10 fastest-growing brands. As a new generation of consumer enters the market, raised with access to amazing tech, how is Samsung changing the way it markets products that are now ubiquitous? The Drum catches up with its top UK marketer for the latest Deep Dive into the marketing secrets of fast-growth brands.

The latest Samsung Unpacked – its biannual showcase of technology – saw it extend into the metaverse with a virtual Valentine’s Day event. While the event itself was a mixed bag due to technical issues with the Decentraland platform, it spoke to Samsung’s commitment to getting in on the ground floor of new marketing opportunities. It builds upon the work it has already done around custom esports partnerships and radical new CTV opportunities in demonstrating that the brand itself is not content to simply rest on its reputational laurels.

Samsung Tiger KL

Samsung’s omnichannel marketing approach goes beyond a single product launch

During Unpacked, that ethos was also on display through its Tiger in the City out-of-home (OOH) campaign (pictured above), which was deployed on curved screens in cities including New York, Seoul and London. It featured a tiger appearing to burst through the bounds of the screens, and was designed to allow the public to “feel Samsung’s vision up close at street level.”

It was a tone-setting advertisement, one that shied away from displaying flat technical specs to instead demonstrate Samsung’s philosophy. Annika Bizon is Samsung’s marketing and omni channel director for Samsung UK and Ireland. She explains that it was in service of brand growth through demonstrating “the art of the possible.”

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“The one-size-fits-all way of marketing of the past has gone. Now it’s about segmenting your audience, understanding what they’re using their phone for, and how they want to communicate,” she says.

“It’s incredibly important that we understand all of the different touchpoints that people transact with. We know that the average consumer has 12 to 15 different touchpoints before they make a purchase decision – at minimum.”

To that end she says that Samsung has recognized the drive among audiences – particularly younger ones – for powerful cameras that allow them to share their experiences in an optimum way. The Tiger in the City execution was designed in part to communicate how well the cameras in its Galaxy S22 series perform in the dark. It is an iteration on existing tech, yes – but in a way that speaks to how users now interact with one another.

Multiplicity of marketing channels

David Norris, European head of creative strategy at Snap Inc, has previously told The Drum that “culture now breaks in the camera.” It is a recognition of that generational shift that both software and hardware manufacturers are dealing with. The most successful, like Samsung, are using the change in how people use preexisting tech as the hook around which they can base their marketing.

Bizon says that the key message Samsung wishes to impart is that its products are inherently personal, and that its marketing strategy reflects that: “We have to start the consumer journey with the consumer versus with the product. That’s the difference, [it] is actually putting the consumer right at the center of that conversation.

“We’ve got to have meticulous touchpoint planning so that we delight customers in as personalized and authentic a way as possible through that digital journey. The role social plays in this – as we’ve just spoken to – is incredibly important. That sits alongside personalizing journeys, because it’s just important that people feel you’re talking to them, you’re not just talking to everybody.”

She says that the legacy companies that struggle to break out of their legacy status have a limiting focus on one or two channels. That both limits their ability to demonstrate any new features of their products and – more importantly – locks them out of creating those multiple touchpoints that lead to a sale.

That extends to the rapidly accelerating opportunities around web3 and the metaverse. Bizon says: “I think every single marketing organization is looking at the metaverse and trying to understand, ‘what does that mean to us? What does that look like in the future?’ And we’ve got various plans around that.

“Everything we’ve done in the past is the past. Looking forward, any marketeer [needs to be] looking at their mix because the consumer is changing all the time.”

Beyond the one-off campaign

That ethos also extends to partnerships. Earlier this year the Samsung Galaxy brand partnered with marketplace and reseller Depop – both because it gives Samsung access to Depop’s predominantly gen Z audience, and also because it allows it to demonstrate its technological capability.

The statement from Depop around the partnership intimated that sellers would see more success if they used Samsung’s camera tech: “The Galaxy S21 Ultra makes your outfits shine with pro-grade video; the Galaxy Z Fold2 gives you flexibility to up your side hustle; the Galaxy Z Flip helps you take hands-free photos and videos.”

Samsung has also made overtures to gaming audiences, recognizing both the rapid rise of mobile gaming and the lucrative nature of that marketplace. It has previously launched campaigns solely to show off the processing power of its mobile devices, and has a dedicated strategy for reaching the legions of esports audiences emerging globally.

Those strategies are powered in part by the data Samsung has on its audiences, helped by the ubiquity of its products such as connected TVs (CTVs). These devices – in addition to its other hardware – allows it access to extremely granular data about user habits and changing trends. It is the happy consequence of Samsung’s hardware focus, one that allows it to speak to advertisers with more authority and also to adapt its own strategies.

Samsung is not short of competitors. It is deeply embedded in a consumer market that is saturated with products, with each new launch attempting to eke out an advantage by marketing a small step forward in technology. Samsung’s winning marketing strategy, then, is to create enough touchpoints with consumers that all those small changes add up to something that feels transformational, personal and empowering.

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