Samsung’s Digital Camera PR Raises Serious Questions

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COMMENT: Samsung Electronics may be #1 in the flat panel TV market but in the digital camera market they are getting their backside kicked because of poor digital camera marketing and even sloppier PR.Last month Panasonic who has stripped market share away from the likes of Samsung and Sony laid on an extensive media event in Melbourne to preview their new range of Lumix camera’s with journalists given access senior executives, professional photographers. They were also given extensive press kits which included images and specifications.

In contrast Samsung who are desperately trying to grow market share in the digital camera market has used local PR company Weber Shandwick to churn out a 1,700 press release for 12 new cameras.

Missing were photographs or links to image downloads. They even used feet instead of metres when describing Samsung’s new waterproof camera.

The press release was also short of specifications or operational details for the new cameras.

Two days after the press release was syndicated and 48 hours after we requested images we were sent a PDF of specifications and some images.

In contrast Panasonic and Canon are investing heavily in their PR and below the line marketing and it is showing with both Companies growing market share in 2009.

At the Panasonic  Lumix, Digital Camera PR event in Melbourne last month, which was attended by over 125 regional technology journalists the Japanese Company spent thousands communicating their message. The event that was run over two days and was attended by senior Panasonic executives from Japan, as well as local Panasonic management who partnered with several digital camera experts, who delivered extensive information on the changes taking place in the digital camera market in Australia.

Every journalist attending the event was given several Lumix models to trial in live demonstrations at key Victorian tourist attractions.

In the past Samsung has struggled to get traction in the Australian digital camera market, particularly at the premium end of the market. Instead the Company has been forced to build market share in the bottom end of the digital camera which in 2009 fell 11%.

 

Two years ago Samsung launched several new digital cameras including an SLR model which few retailers now stock. They are also trying to compete in the camcorder market up against stiff competition from Sony, Canon and Panasonic.
A NSW, Harvey Norman franchisee said “The digital camera market is tough. Brand and brand perception is critical”.

Samsung does not really have a presence in this market at the premium end but they have done very well with discount models. The fight that is going on between Sony Panasonic and Canon is driving consumers into stores because they are being forced to spend money marketing them. We like this”. 

Recently Samsung attempted to break into the fast growing SLR market with the NX-10. The PR strategy chosen by Samsung Australia and their PR Company Webber Shandwick was wrapped around journalists being invited into a Sydney office in mid December for a quick 15 minute look at the new camera, no press releases or photographs were issued with attendees told that the camera would be available for review shortly. We are still waiting.

We were also told that we could not write about the new camera until the 5th of January 2010 when the camera would be officially released at CES in the USA.

48 hours after being briefed we counted 48 web sites running extensive stories on the new camera along with official images, and specifications. 2 weeks later the first reviews of their new camera appeared on UK and US web sites.

Lambro Skropidis, the Corporate Marketing Manager for Samsung Australia said from New York where he is attending the US launch of Samsung’s 3D TV range “I was unaware of the digital camera release I will take a look at it when I come back to Australia”.

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