Battle of Brands- The Last Combat!!
Well just how did Samsung get to where it is today? How did they beat Nokia in the mobile handset business? What did Nokia do wrong in Africa? There's sad story of a brand called gerber; when it started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the United States with a cute baby on the label. Later on they found out that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the label of what's inside because most people can't read!!This story depicts what happens to most multinationals when they come to Africa, although we are not a dark continent anymore we are still not at par with the west. As you read this blog don't count yourself as part of the "kawaida Mwananchi" you are way past that; so as you sell your service or product in the rural areas don't employ tactics the Nairobi hawkers use in Ngara,they will not work!!! My long story simply depicts that if you are going to succeed in any market, region or county then you've got to do what's right for that market!Samsung has done that better than anyone else in Kenya today! Samsung Electronics East Africa yesterday unveiled the Galaxy Pocket Smartphone which will retail at Ksh 9,999 particularly targeted at the African users who love social media and entertainment. Nokia launched their Nokia Asha series of phones a few weeks ago while Huawei have also launched Huawei Gaga priced and 8799 to compete with Samsung’s Galaxy pocket phone. The heat & stiff competition in the affordable smart phone market is huge in Kenya but somehow Samsung is winning every round in these battles with every product they launch.
All these brands face one challenge; they are all targeting the generation Y or millennials as they are commonly referred to who are people born in between 1980 to the early 90’s. We are the current youth and a key market for several of their products. We form the bulk of the informed shoppers who stick to tight budgets while still managing to stay trendy and cultured. We're looking for inexpensive versions of the items we desire and durable versions of the items we need. A good number of this group are cash strapped; so we desire products we cannot afford, however we also work tirelessly hard to get our hands on them. This means that brands should strive to communicate to this group as in a few years our income levels change drastically and can actually buy what we desired. But just what did Samsung do right in the world, in Africa and in Kenya to have a strong brand appeal to this target market?
Here’s a five reasons why Samsung has managed to conquer this market & beat Nokia.
1.Clear Brand Positioning:
Samsung’s aim to build a clear brand positioning followed a structured approach. First, it has established a brand mission according to the overall mission of the company which reflected the core values of the brand – being close to the customer, consider customer needs and deliver innovative solutions. Secondly, Samsung developed a distinctive value proposition to foster its single brand strategy. They created one global brand and marketing strategy thus establishing a clear brand vision and brand values to leverage brand’s success across B2C and B2B businesses.
2.Design & Innovation
Samsung figured out that its only shot at moving up the value chain was to build a stronger identity; the company ditched its other brands to put all its resources behind the Samsung name. Samsung’s corporate logo also reflects the brand’s determination to become a world leader. Then it focused on building a more upscale image through better quality, design, and innovation. Samsung aimed at providing leading-edge, stylish products by establishing its brand as a brand known for the most fun and stylish models ranging from cell phones to flat-panel plasma TVs. Nokia for example does a lot of ugly phones from the Nokia 3310, the C3 and so many other models; these are gadgets that no one wants to carry around!!
3.A Clear Brand Promise/ Communication
Samsung aimed to concentrate on a clear focus towards customer orientation and its promise to innovate best-in-class technology. Moreover, the value proposition accentuated some emotional aspects the brand wanted to communicate. The increased emotionality was then brought to life in Samsung’s image campaign. When they did the Built for Africa campaign they promised Africans that their products were tailor made for us!! The strategy managed to position the brand in the African market from a low cost and low quality image to a price premium and market leader. Has this worked for them in Africa? YES!! Nokia has lost grip of this market already!
4.Heavy Presence on Digital
Ninety five percent of the Generation Y are members of a social network, that’s our preferred media interaction. Thirty seven percent access the web from a mobile device and this completely changes the when, where and how brands need to connect and interact with this generation. Samsung actively engages its fans and followers on social media because most of the online community is dominated by the youth any way. Samsung has leveraged on all popular sites from Facebook, Twitter, Youtube & blog to highlight on the unique and extrinsic features of the brand and build on them. Summarizing a study from L2, that Generation Y is more prone to connect to brands digitally than any previous generation before it. Young people are more into social and digital media than older people and Samsung has a local country page and a twitter handle for every market whereas Nokia has one global page. As a social media specialist I have always advised multinationals to have country level presence because that way they can understand the local consumers better thus roll out products that meet the local demand.
5.Sponsorships & Celebrity Brand Endorsements
In 2005 Samsung signed the second biggest sponsorship deal in English football history with Premiership member Chelsea. Their five-year deal is estimated to be worth £50 million however the jersey sponsorship has given the brand a lot of brand exposure and awareness among the youths across the world. Football is the world’s most popular sport and its also a major touch point among mostly men and women. Placing the brand on such a platform gave them a major competitive advantage.Locally they got an endorsement from Wyre however I still feel to date that Samsung never utilized this deal well. Wyre is so cool, he’s so popular but they chose to put up billboards of him other than going experiential. I love his music & dancing; experiential marketing is hot these days, the youths want to interact with the brands and feel that they are part of the brands success and Samsung somehow didn't deliver that with Wyre. Billboards have become too much of an eyesore, purely visual pollution and they no longer deliver desired results for brand managers. Ladies too complained that Wyre didn’t look as 'hot' as he is on stage on the billboards. Well girls don’t really care about the features that a phone has but how stylish & cute it is. They boys too didn’t care, when I bought my Samsung chat I didn’t do so because of Wyre, we buy functionality but what we both have in common is [both the girl & boy consumer ]in the 18-30 age bracket is we all buy products that define us!
If you have something to add on this; your comments, compliments, suggestions, complaints and reviews are very much welcome. Kindly follow me on twitter @KenyanMarketer, lets take the vibe there!