Samsung had developed remarkable new mobile phone screen technology, but wasn’t sure the best way to launch it. Traditionally, Samsung and other mobile handset makers created exclusive devices for each major carrier in the US. Integrating the new screens as a feature in carrier-exclusive devices was how the Product Team in Korea was planning to go to market.
Samsung had very low market share in the fastest growing mobile phone segment – smartphones – and was not viewed by consumers as a premium handset brand. Samsung’s traditional marketing strategy was to incent carriers to heavily discount new Samsung phones, often resulting in Samsung being the free phone that carriers offered with new service contracts. This strategy moved volume, but left consumers with a poor perception of the brand; its brand metrics were well below its competitors.
Brand Slam partner, Paul Golden, saw an opportunity to dramatically build Samsung’s smartphone market share while also improving its low brand perception. Rather than launching multiple carrier-exclusive devices, Paul recommended launching under a single new brand of premium mobile devices. The new brand, to be called Galaxy, would leverage the dramatically larger and brighter screen as the key differentiator compared to all other smartphones. Samsung’s marketing dollars would be concentrated behind Samsung-focused brand messaging rather than fragmented carrier promotion across Samsung’s carrier channels. This was a innovative but risky deviation from Samsung’s traditional method of new product launches. Paul led development and execution of the brand positioning, Galaxy brand architecture and all elements of the comprehensive, integrated go-to-market strategy.
Galaxy was a huge success for Samsung. Samsung’s share of the smartphone segment increased from 4.5% to 21% over the course of the next 18 months. Samsung’s most critical brand metrics, brand preference and unaided brand awareness increased by 50% in the same period.