‘I’m different from anyone else in the company’, says Samsung mobile’s first female executive

Younghee (YH) Lee, Samsung’s vice-president of global marketing for its mobile communications business, shares her thoughts on being a woman in a male dominated business, the future of smartwatches and the importance of storytelling.

YH Lee on… Being a senior woman at Samsung, and the first female executive in its mobile division

I’m different from anyone else in the company; first, being a woman, second, not coming from engineering, third, that I’m not a typical Korean, having a L’Oréal and Unilever background. But there are commonalities between Unilever, L’Oréal and Samsung. It’s dynamic, results-driven, exciting; the pace is at a speed I like. Of course, there are many challenges, being a woman, being [part of] a different way of working, but I enjoy it.

YH Lee on…Why smartwatches have not yet taken off, and their future potential

We have not yet discovered [the reason] someone has to wear it, or cannot live without it. A lot of people try smartwatches] and are disappointed, so you don’t feel the need for it then. We, somebody in the market, should find a reason to wear it every day.

When the internet of things comes, it will be the hub of everything. Imagine that through this [smartwatch] you control your automobile, your home. Imagine that this measures your heart rate and your blood pressure, your cholesterol level, your quality of sleep and also your stress level.

READ MORE: Samsung’s top mobile marketer on being ‘human first’, premium partnerships and competing with Apple

YH Lee on…Being first to market versus telling the story of product features

Both [are important]. When I joined Samsung, it was always technology first. We were very good at world firsts – world’s best, world’s slimmest – Samsung was the first company to have an MP3 player in a phone, and [first to put] a camera into the phone, but it wasn’t fully understood by consumers. That’s my job, my mistake; I didn’t tell them this story enough.

We had been [talking about] a lot of product features – ‘our products have the best display’ – but it is not meaning so much, so now we are trying to tell our story.