Wednesday, April 23, 2014

From nowhere to #1 brand - Samsung India

A decade back, when you go to a mobile store in India, you can see only Nokia mobile phones being showcased. The competitor to Nokia mobile phones were Nokia mobile phones. At one point of time, Nokia had a commanding 70% market share of the mobile phone market in India. Failing to react to the changing market dynamics, Nokia lost its identity in the Indian market.

How Samsung captured the market?

Samsung India had a clear objective that they wanted to capture the market that was primarily dominated by Nokia. The global brand, Samsung is operating country-wise divisions to understand the local needs and devises specific strategies. Based on the understanding, it innovates, manufactures products. The scope of Samsung mobile was to target at people who would buy higher end and quality products. 

The existing dominating players in the market were Nokia and Sony. Nokia was positioned as a company that made durable products. On the other hand, Sony was targeting at music lovers. Understanding the competitors, Samsung created a different value proposition.

For any new company that enters a market, there are two ways to win, marketing and product offerings. Samsung did both. Samsung was one of first companies to offer smart phone and touch screen in India. Apple phones took longer time to have their footprint in India. Before that happened, Samsung launched high price and high quality smartphones. Nokia and Sony were not reacting to the changing conditions. As the demand for smartphones picked up, Samsung launched cheap versions of smartphones. Samsung was exactly at the strategic sweet spot. Samsung consistently maintained its superiority in the quality of products and innovation. For example, it was the first company in India to launch a 5 megapixel camera phone when other companies were offering 2 megapixel camera phones.

Samsung has excellent understanding about the Indian customers. India is a country in which cricket is followed as a religion by one billion people. Samsung signed seven cricket celebrities. The company launched a "Team Samsung India" campaign all over India and instilled patriotism through cricketers. This campaign was a huge success. Adding to cricket, Samsung sponsored the Indian Olympics team in 2008. It provided scholarships to six Indian athletes. One of them is Abhinav Bindra who emerged as the only Indian in that Olympics to win a Gold medal. Later on, he was signed on as the Brand Ambassador for Samsung. These marketing campaigns took the company closer to the hearts of Indian customers.

Current Market scenario
Currently, Samsung is the leading mobile phone company in India. Having achieved their goals with unique strategies, Samsung has been a clean winner. However, the company is in a market that is highly fluid and dynamic. What happened to Nokia, can potentially happen to Samsung in the future. If the company to needs to avoid that, what its future strategies have to be?

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