Accelerated NPD spells major marcomms push

Fierce competition and accelerated NPD ensures that consumer tech brands will consistently push the boundaries with their marketing efforts, but next year spells a major marcomms push for Samsung to promote the upcoming release of its Galaxy F, which utilises its new flexible mobile screen technology. The model will be the first foldable smartphone/tablet from a major manufacturer, pipping rivals Apple and Huawei to the progressive post (though the latter has scheduled a foldable release for mid-2019). A rethink of strategy alongside the release is highly likely under the leadership of newly appointed European CMO Benjamin Braun - who joins the brand from Audi in Q1 next year.

As Samsung looks to counter falling profits, it’s not the only product poised for a 2019 debut. A focus on connectivity and AI-powered smart devices will spur development across smart televisions, fridges and vacuum cleaners - it plans to install its AI assistant Bixby on all its electronic products by 2020, for example. It is also focused on interconnectivity between brands, meaning consumers can switch between devices and are not tied to a single brand. An example of this is its Family Hub - a smart fridge freezer with a personalised meal planner providing recipes based on your family’s food preferences. These products and more guarantee investment in consumer PR and promotional activity, as well as research projects to measure consumer receptivity to product releases. 

New creative for greater brand affiliation: In late-November, the brand announced it was seeking an ad agency for a new brief in the UK. There remains little detail around this, though the fact that its incumbent relationships with the likes of BBH and W+K are set to remain unaffected by the review indicates that it is considering a brand-level campaign that will better tie all of its products together as it invests further in the interconnected tech ecosystem across home and mobile. Proposals taking a holistic view of the company’s product offering, identifying the themes running throughout, are therefore expected to resonate best as it targets greater brand affiliation alongside tech leaders such as Apple. Agencies should take note of its recent Christmas campaign, courtesy of Cheil, which promotes the idea of staying connected, even when you can’t be together.

PR & content to build consumer trust: A main challenge in this area is consumer doubts surrounding privacy and security, with marketing efforts likely to focus on building trust this year. In the US, this appears to have spurred a PR agency review for its mobile business - currently handled by Edelman. Educational content surrounding new product releases is likely, with face-recognition technology still presenting flaws in a number of devices from other brands. Prospective agencies should note the company’s two key areas of relevance – security and comfort.

In preparation for 2019, Samsung reorganised its marketing team earlier this year, promoting Sam Grant to Chief Marketing Officer for UK & Ireland from Marketing Director of Samsung’s IM division. It also internally appointed a number of senior marketers to new roles, including Marketing Director for Home Rebecca Hirst, Marketing Director of Channel Marketing Hannah Delaney and Marketing Director for Ireland Linda Nolan.

Media Spend Q1-3 2018: £35,953,458

Agencies: Leo Burnett, Abbot Mead Vickers BBDO, Iris, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Cheil, Ketchum

Key decision-makers:

Campaign Marketing Manager Sara Hadfield - connect

VP, Brand & Communications, Europe Jordan Peters - connect