Creating brand passion is the key to global stardom

DUBAI — Creating an emotional rapport with customers is the key to building a successful global brand, and for which a passion for the product need to be ignited, says Gregory Lee, Executive Vice-President of Samsung Electronics.

By Isaac John (Chief Business Reporter)

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Published: Thu 23 Mar 2006, 9:48 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 3:37 PM

As Samsung’s global brand steward, Lee believes that brand building campaigns would effective if they appeal to customer emotions. "On top of making products sophisticated and interesting to experience, it is the way a brand communicates to the consumer that makes the difference. The message must be conveyed differently, in tune with the changing times, and in a more friendly and engaging way through diverse new-age media. Message no longer needs to be serious or loud as in the past," says Lee who will be taking delegates at the IAA World Congress today on a journey through Samsung brand story.

He said Samsung, today ranked as the world's top 20th in brand equity and boating a value of $15 billion, reflected the role of the global brand in this borderless world. "In this global era that we live in, the role of a global brand in the community and in our lives is more significant than ever," he said.

Citing Dubai as another example of a global brand, Lee said thanks to its location is at the crossroads the East and West, and is growing into a magnet for the world’s smartest entrepreneurs and dynamic enterprises.

"Dubai is a place like no other where unparalleled experiences can be achieved. Dubai therefore is distinctive as a brand and also has consumer benefits that emotionally touch people like no other city."

Lee said after a lot of research and talking to experts, Samsung, which spends four to six per cent of its sales on marketing and seven to eight per cent on R&D, has found out that marketing campaigns could be made more effective if different media are used to reach different target customers.

"For instance, to reach out to young people, initiating the product through a buzz group is sometimes found more effective. We have done it in France when we launched MP3 players which were distributed to children, free of cost. They had a hands-on experience of the product and then by word of mouth, the message was conveyed. However, to successfully market other products such as B2B applications, roadshows, specialised portals and in-depth communication media have to be resorted."

Stressing that interactive media, comprising mobile devices and Internet, is the future vehicle of communication, he said in marketing certain high-end products such as LCD TV, television commericals cannot be as effective as in the past. Customers of such products are not easily influenced by commericals.

"What is needed is specialised magazines or build up of experts groups to target such customers."

Highlighting the continued role of public relations in promoting global brands, Lee observed that there is an increasing shift from product PR which focuses on technical details, to lifestyle PR.

Recalling the incredible journey of Samsung as a powerful global brand over the past five years, Lee said that was achieved through a combination of factors including excellent infrastructure, investment, commitment, aggressive marketing, a single brand promotion, and above all, the inspiring vision of the leadership.

"Our leaders have been urging us to excel, to constantly improve to achieve the goal to be number one. At Samsung, there was a 'perpetual crisis mind-set.' We could not afford to be complacent, but should be asking ourselves every now and then what is wrong, how can we improve upon. It was a painful but determined journey to the top," he said.

However, he said, Samsung had the advantage of digital technology and a strong and loyal cadre of employees inspired by a visionary leadership. "There is indeed a tight integration of Samsung employees from top to bottom."

He said the first criteria of a global brand is visibility in multiple countries – operating in many markets. "Beyond just selling your products or services worldwide, you have to have a presence in multiple ways; manufacturing plants, sales representatives, retail and distribution channels, etc. You must be a global leader in terms of business achievements, such as sales, profit figures and the number of patents, and so on. You must continuously deliver a positive impact to global consumers that can effect change in their behaviour." When asked what was the goal he has set for Samsung over the next five years, Lee said: "We want people to love us and love our products."

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