A Steve Jobs-esque strategy was instigated from the very moment the press conference was announced. The event was shrouded with an air of mystery, save for a series of teaser online videos taking aim at rivals’ customers for being sheep.
And the unveil itself: never before has such a crowd witnessed, or cared, about a Samsung phone launch. Earl’s Court was packed to the rafters with all manner of media and geekery, eagerly discussing quad core and mega pixels between the Professor Frink-like “gahoys”.
Samsung has rightly earned such fanboy status, having last month overtaken Nokia to become the world’s biggest phone maker by volume. But, like Apple, it isn’t quantity that has seen Samsung rise from the depths of the phone market to become the dominating player; it is attention to detail, and no more so than in its marketing strategy.
Casting more similarities to its Cupertino-based competitor, Samsung even had its “and one more thing” moment at the Galaxy S III launch.
Arguably, the reveal of its “Pins” – a series of snazzy-looking pop up shops set to spring up across the globe to showcase its products – isn’t as exciting as an iPad, but for me, this really demonstrated a renewed marketing commitment, never before seen from Samsung.
Samsung told me it intends to become more of an “aspirational” phone brand that appeals to everyone, not just those types that literally sprinted to be the first to get their hands on the S III at Earls Court last night (3 May). It is also aiming to far outsell the 20 million Galaxy SII phones it has shipped since last year, as it looks to become the smartphone of choice and convince Apple users over to its brand.
To do so, Samsung knows it can’t rely on the specifications of its innovative technology alone and subsequently it has upped its marketing investment to its higher ever levels in a bid to get every consumer rushing to grab their own handset on 30 May.
This is evident in Samsung’s forthcoming global TV campaign, which once again draws similarities with Apple.
Rather than a running narrative or even shoving its celebrity ambassadors into the spotlight like some of its rivals, Samsung runs through a list of everyday scenarios made better by using its phone.
The ad doesn’t mention specifications at all, uses emotional messaging and heart-tugging scenes, such as reading a bed time story, having a cuddle or giving birth (well, perhaps they’re not every day scenarios). The takeaway is that this isn’t a phone, it’s a life enhancer that is intuitive enough to use for even smarpthone virgins. The phone itself is secondary to the sentiment.
The emotional theme is likely to run into Samsung’s Olympic marketing and the company heralded the S III, the official phone of the Games, as its “gold medal winner”.
If ever the smartphone market was a two phone race, it is now.