Samsung Australia’s brand health is looking pretty good at the moment, despite a case of the “blues”, and so it should be, after the Company spent over $30M last year on brand advertising, in-store marketing and dealer training.After snaring several #1 slots the Australian operation is now looking for 12%growth in 2011, with new air conditioning, Smart TVs, appliances and an arsenal of new mobile phones notebooks and tablets set to be launched in an effort to grow market share.
During an exclusive interview with ChannelNews the company admitted that 2011 will be a tough year. However they are confident that they can strip market share away from both competitors including LG, Panasonic and Sony in several categories, while attracting additional consumers to the brand.
Among the new Samsung products set to be launched in Australia is an 11.6-inch version of Samsung’s 9 Series laptop, a new 10 inch Android Tablet, Wafer thin Smart TVs which Samsung claims go beyond being just an IPTV device, a new Galaxy S phone, new appliances and an all new air conditioning range.
According to recently appointed Marketing Director, Lambro Skropidis, the investment they made in their brand using Mentalist star Simon Baker to spearhead their marketing is now paying off with significant lifts in awareness for Samsung, who are also using the colour blue to consolidate different product categories delivering a “common look and feel” said Skropidis.
Last year, in Australia, Samsung ended up # 1 in the total TV market as well as in the LED and 3D TV category. They also snared the #1 slot for home theatre systems that came with a Blu ray player and five or more audio channels. They are now hoping to grow this share with an extensive range of new entertainment products.
Their new Samsung Smart TV which will be launched in April, will consist of 3D, significantly improved design and picture quality, Smart TV functionality and connectivity.
In Australia the company is currently working with retailers to introduce extensive instore demonstrations for their SmartTV range. They have also expanded their IPTV content offering in partnership with Telstra who recently said that their BigPond Movie service now has over 2,000 movies and will later this year include several first run movies.
In other moves the company is moving functionality normally found in their high end TV models down into smaller models including their 32 and 40 inch TV’s.
Samsung will shortly announce that they have cut a deal with the ABC to include their iView service on Samsung SmartTVs in Australia.
In the IT market Samsung said that they were the #1 supplier of monitors. However they did admit that they are struggling to grow their notebook share despite a 150% jump in value growth.
Globally Samsung smartphone shipments grew by over 318% YOY with the company now set to put pressure on Nokia by selling entry level phones at break even. The rationale is based on growing marketshare while predisposing a new audience to the Samsung brand in the hope that they will step up to a more expensive Samsung Smartphone.
According to new research consumers have taken to the Samsung brand in Australia. In the TV market, unaided awareness is up by 98% to 50% and as a preferenced brand, share has climbed 65%.
Overall unaided awareness of Samsung is up by 34% and as a preferred brand by 76%.
Skropodis said that at a dealer level where the company has invested millions in point of sale merchandising more dealers than ever before are recommending the Samsung product across almost all categories. In the appliance category alone dealer recommendation is up by 34%.
Skropidis admits that 2011 is set to be a difficult year and that the Korean company is still working on new marketing campaigns aimed at convincing consumers to part with their money.
“We are facing competition acroos several categories. In the Smart TV market we have to deliver a good consumer experience and It’s not just about content. A Samsung SmartTV is as much about design and functionalisy as it is about applications and content” he said.
He said that Samsung was close to finalising deals with several local developers to deliver Bada applications to Samsung TVs, Tablets and Smartphones”.
“We can be specific on which applications we deliver but we are close to announcing several new application developments” he said.
He also said that Samsung will start rolling out their new 10 inch Galaxy Tab 2 and their Galaxy S 2 Smartphone in April and that this will be backed by the launch of new marketing campaigns using an updated version of the Simon Baker TV campaign.
In an effort to consolidate their brand into what has been described as a “cohesive” look and feel Samsung Australia has spent millions branding retailers with a new look Samsung Blue.
“Its important that we have a common look and feel across all our categories as a result we have set out to own the colour blue acroos TVs, appliance and Smartphone marketing. This is starting to pay dividends especially when a consumer walks into a store”. He said.
“We are also integrating Simon Baker across all our categories, this coupled with our blue strategy is working well for us”.
18 months ago Samsung stepped back into the notebook market and while they have lifted value growth by 150% the company admits that the category is tough especially as consumers are now being given the additional choice of buying a tablet.
“We are still working on growing our market share and while we have grown from a small base we are confident that the new notebook range will appeal to consumers” said Skopodis.
He also said that Samsung was set to target the air conditioning market which could be a worry for Panasonic who also targeted this category 18 months ago.
Samsung are confident that they have the product range and the distribution network to take air conditioning product share away frrom the likes of Fujitsu and LG who are struggling to find new management after mass sackings in 2010.
Last year Samsung Ausatralia reported revenues of $1.6 Billion dollars and a profit of $2.4 Million. In the 2011 financial year the company is looking to grow revenues to $1.79 Billion or 12%. At this stage Samsung are refusing to say how they finished 2010 after retailers reported a slump in TV sales.
“Overall we are looking to achieve 12% growth over the next few years as Samsung by 2020 wants to be a $400Billion dollar company globally.