Discuss about the Samsung Brand Audit.
Samsung brand audit is a thorough examination to identify the company’s brand strength, the sources of its brand equity and the methods to enhance its brand equity. The Brand Audit also focus on the understanding the future potential for the company. Samsung was founded in 1938 and was originally a trading company. It has now grown into a huge and reputable conglomerate operating in numerous business sectors around the world. The company has its headquarters in the Samsung Town, Seoul, South Korea (Samsung History, 2014). It deals in more than 74 countries and has global points of presence at more than 510 places around the world. The major sectors in which the Samsung group operates in are the Electronics, Trade and Services, Machinery and Chemicals, and Financial Services. The Samsung Electronics alone has three subdivisions of operations namely; Device Solutions which incorporates the various solutions provided by the company for modern devices such as, memory devices, system LEDs, LSI businesses etc. The another electronic division includes primarily the Consumer electronics, which deals with the Digital appliance, Visual Display, Printing systems, and Health & Medical gear industries. The final category under electronics is IT & Mobile communications industry. This deals with the Mobile Communications devices and Networks, mobile phones, digital tablets, and Digital Imaging businesses, etc. (Products, 2016). For the convenience of understanding the wide scope of the company is limited to the Samsung Consumer Electronics only for this paper for conducting Brand Audit.
For the customer analysis of the Samsung Brand audit following points could be considered:
Trend and Needs
With the constantly changing technologies and public demand, Samsung continuously come up with new innovative products in a wide and complex range from low-end to extremely high-end devices that suits the need of varied set of customers from the young people, married couples, professionals, to families with kids. Samsung sets trends and create new market needs with its new products which other companies are compelled to follow.
One of the prime motivation for consumers to buying and keep on changing to the latest devices is the Brand image associated with the Samsung. More than a necessity the latest trendsetting devices have become a social need of the people that give them the value of prestige and self-worth.
The general perception for the Samsung in the mind of consumers is that the company is a well-established brand which provide quality devices. Also the range of products are all price levels allows the consumers to choose the Samsung brand in any price bracket they feel comfortable shopping. The market reputation of the company is good and the perception is thus positive for the Samsung brand.
Samsung employs the total market strategy which could be reinforced by one of its slogans, “designed for humans”. Samsung market segment include various strata od society from low-end users looking for cheap devices to high end-users looking for expensive ones. Samsung cleverly categorise its devices into the categories to cater all segments. For example, in one of its tablet advertisement it categorized the consumers as per their age. The Connecticus group for people in early 20s, the Wanderus for people in the range of late 20s to mid-30s and Relaxicus for people in mid-30s to mid-40s. the features of the products as well as the prices were kept keeping in mind these customer segments (The Toronto Egotist, 2011).
Samsung acknowledge that the consumer behaviour is an essential aspect of business growth and sustainability. The consumer behaviour highly depend on the social, cultural, moral, personal, as well as psychological behaviour of the people. Samsung thus take into account all these aspects while devising its marketing strategies in various parts of the world.
The brand inventory for the Samsung could be explained under the following heads:
Brand elements are certain trademark strategies which help a company to set itself as a distinguished brand from its competitors. Some of the basic brand elements are the logo of the brand, slogan used for the brand slogan, its sign, its distinguished packaging as well as its spokesperson or brand ambassador. Samsung use combination of all these elements to create its brand image. It has a well-recognized brand logo with a distinguished style of writing “Samsung” with white font colour on a blue elliptical background and the missing horizontal line of the letter “A” (Fig.1).
Fig.1. Samsung Logo (Source: Samsung Logo (2016) Available at: https://www.brandsoftheworld.com/logo/samsung-9 (Accessed: 20 September 2016).)
The company come up with different slogans for its various products, such as for its latest product, Samsung Galaxy Note 7, the slogan says “The smartphone that thinks big” (Samsung Galaxy Note 7, 2016). It also uses renowned celebrities as the brand ambassadors depending on the country of marketing plans. With various products the company modernise its packaging, however, maintaining its unique brand elements to make its products distinguishable.
Marketing Strategies to Support Brand
Samsung incorporates aggressive total marketing strategies that addresses various segments of people in a society. The repetitive advertisement strategies add to the brand awareness for the company. The electronic industry is a highly competitive one, with the ever changing technologies and growing consumer demands the company has to highly depend on its effective marketing strategies to keep the brand name high on the consumer’s mind. The announcing of new products after studying the market trends and needs, restructuring advertising and promotional approach of present products, the production procedures and highly innovative marketing plans along with performance driven products are the core strength of the Samsung. Samsung devotes high efforts and resources in its marketing strategies. The use of new media channels like social media, etc. are done effectively by the company to keep the brand name floating in the consumer minds at all times. Samsung also engage in sponsorships of sports events, local festivals, trade fairs, campaigns, etc. to keep the brand name on top of the rest of its competitors (Kang and Stotlar, 2011).
Competition in the Industry
There are various competitors of Samsung in each different category in which it places its wide range of products. The complexity of its products range including televisions, mobile devices, audio & video devices, digital cameras, home appliances, memory storage devices, other computer peripheral devices, printers, and accessories, etc. ensures that the company has numerous competitors. Some of the prominent international competitors for Samsung are Apple, Nokia, Lenovo, LG, Sony, Huawei, HTC, Panasonic, Whirlpool, Canon, GE and Nikon. However, among these competitors, Samsung is fittingly aggressively pitted against its biggest competitor the Apple Inc. an American multinational technology company founded by Steve Jobs. Apple Inc. which was initially a computer company and was known as Apple Computer, now has positioned itself as the world leader in the mobile devices industry. Presently Apple Inc. is ranked as a number one company among the top international brands. Apple enjoys an extremely high level of brand loyalty from its customers (Vijande, 2013). As per the annual report of Interbrand, the Best Global Brands report released 2015, Apple ranked as the top brand of the world thrice in the three consecutive years, with highest Brand Value. The Brand Valuation of Apple in 2014 is at 118,863 $m with increase in the value at 21%. While in the same repost Samsung ranked at 7th place with the net Brand value of 45,462 $m with an increase of 15% (Interbrand, 2016). The Apple’s brand value is at 98.31 billion USD. The Apple enjoys almost cult like following due to its innovative technological advancement in each of its products like, iPhones, Mac, iPad, iPod, etc.
POPs and PODs
In the Brand audit the Point of Parity (POPs) and Point of Differentiation (PODs) assist to understand what makes a company stand apart from its competitors. In the case of Samsung, the point of parity with its arch rival Apple Inc. is that Samsung also has a huge and loyal customer base. Also the products of Samsung are equally good and up-to-date in terms of technological advancement (Wiedmann, 2013). Samsung also enjoys a market of repute and recognition just like Apple and other of its competitors. Point of differentiation for Samsung is that the company has a widest possible range of devices. This is the point where Apple fails to cater. The Apple products are targeted for the niche market, while the Samsung products are present in a vast variety of ranges, applications, sectors, utilities as well as prices. Samsung stands at distinguished place when it comes to catering a wide section of population as compared to the Apple (Dinnie, 2007).
The brand mantra for Samsung is to bring latest cutting edge technologies at affordable process to the customers.
Keller Pyramid for Samsung
Fig.2. Keller’s Brand Equity Model. (Source: Keller, K.L. (2013) Strategic brand management building, measuring, and managing brand equity. 4th edn. Boston: Pearson.)
- Salience- it is a quality product with lot of latest features at affordable prices.
- Performance- Samsung has effective segmentation, targeting, and positioning of its products with a very good brand personality and brand recognition. Its products are high in performance and quality (Saeed, 2016).
- Imagery- Samsung has an image of high quality, latest technology, feature rich products.
- Judgement- Samsung is also a trustworthy name, market reputation and brand recognition.
- Feeling- it gives the feeling of value for money for its products for low and mid-range products and social status associated with the high end products.
- Resonance- Samsung has a very loyal following of consumers.
Emotional modifier- Samsung products bring latest technologies in the control of its users.
Descriptive Modifier- its product users ranges from the young to old users.
Brand function- the company brings latest technologies into the lives of common people by way of high end devices of communication, connection, televisions, etc. creating value for life.
Brand association for Samsung
Memorable- Samsung gains its brand equity by not only as a competitor of Apple but also a reputed brand of its own (John, 2016).
Meaningfulness- Samsung brings meaningful features packed products that have actual utility thus giving it higher brand equity.
Likeability- other than its efficient products the company is also liked because its wide range of products. Anyone can find a product suited to his needs and pocket in a Samsung store.
Transferability- the brand equity of Samsung is highly and easily transferable because of its regional marketing strategies (Keller, 2012).
Adaptability- Samsung operates in an industry were a product could become obsolete as soon as a better technology version is out in the market. Thus the company has high adaptability.
Analysis of Samsung’s Brand Positioning
Samsung is one of the premium, lifestyle brand. It has brand position of a brand better than other brands for customers who require value for money as well as latest technology indispensable tool for their daily lives. Samsung gives high- quality superior products with the world- class designs, its products come packed with innovative features with high usability, ease of access and understanding. The brand positioning is also strengthened by the company by providing after sales services and support to its customers (Keller, Parameswaran and Jacob, 2011).
Consumer Perception Analysis
The general perception for the Samsung in the mind of consumers is that the company is a well-established brand which provide quality devices. The idea of owning the latest upgraded model of mobile or the tablet motivates people as it shows their affluence in the society rather than actual need (Lam & Ahearne, 2013). This motivates the people to choose the high end models while the low ends models are primarily chosen by people with the motivation of buying a well branded product in appropriate prices.
Brand Equity: Aaker Model
The Aaker Model is the marketing model which views brand equity as a combination of three things. These are:
- Brand awareness,
- Brand loyalty and
These elements add up to give the value provided by a product or service. Aaker model suggests that brand identity is the basis of brand management (Selnes, 2013). Therefore, organizations must focus on various elements of brand identity. Aaker defined eight to twelve elements of brand identity that falls under four perspectives. These four perspectives for Samsung can be discussed as:
Brand as Product
This perspective covers brand as the tangible product. This perspective would cover the things like quality of the product, attributes of the product, etc.
Brand as Organization
This perspective would cover brand as an organization. The organization attributes would include the market reputation of organization, rapport of organization (Keller, 2016).
Brand as Person
This perspective would cover brand personality and relationships of brand with consumers (Huang, 2014).
Brand as Symbol
This perspective would cover the imagery and visuals or brand that are find in the channels like social media. For example, Samsung would have lot of images and other content on its website to attract consumers.
Some of the probable recommendations that Samsung could use for planning its future strategies are as follow:
- Samsung can position itself as a premium brand with comparison to its top competitor Apple.
- Samsung could possibly create its brand image by providing better facilities and services than other competitor brands.
- It can develop an ecosystem of its own inculcating the consumers with one or multiple Samsung products.
- A facility such as Samsung club could be established with additional offers and discounts on multiple purchase of Samsung products to encourage people to stick with the brand.
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