Samsung introduced the Galaxy Note 8.0 last month at the World Mobile Congress, the latest contender in the tablet war between the Korean manufacturer and rival Apple. But whereas the two giants can claim an impressive combined global market share in mobile sales (52 percent for quarter 4 in 2012) the companies’ brand loyalties operate on a much less even scale. Apple is an iconic super-brand, winning a host of awards: the brand was nominated ‘Most Admired Company’ by Forbes magazine successively from 2008 – 2012. How are Apple’s competitors challenging this brand crown?
The Samsung brand has less defined brand loyalty: global brand agency Interbrand placed the company 19th in the ‘Best Global Brands’ category in 2009, but 9th in 2012. The brand is definitely increasing its equity. CEO Kwon Oh-Hyun has recently been praised for his brand building efforts, ahead of Apple’s Tim Cook. Bill Clinton took to the stage at the 2013 CES and was well received. The hype surrounding the Galaxy Note 8.0 was built up all the more because of Apple’s absence. But with the strength of Apple’s developing iCloud, and in the wake of costly legal wars, we’ll have to wait and see if Samsung’s brand strategy will knock Apple off its throne.
Chinese manufacturer Huawei established itself as strong competition after announcing a range of new products last month. It has described its Ascend-P2 as the fastest of available Android phones. The brand beat its own target of reaching the top 3 handset brands by 2015, while the ‘Make It Possible’ campaign provided a strong finale to the product launches last week: here’s the video link. With 10.8 million sales in the fourth quarter of 2012, this Asian brand is clearly growing in strength.
Other Asian brands present a variety of brand strategies. The brand identities of the big Asian tech giants seem more holistic – ASUS derives from the winged horse Pegasus in Greek mythology, while Lenovo was crafted to suggest creativity from the Latin novus (new). Even the name Samsung draws on creativity: the translation of ‘three stars’ refers to eternity. Lenovo and Asus have brought out popular products, including the PadFone and Lenovo’s series of smartphones. With strong tablet sales as well, it’s likely these brand identities will continue to develop alongside Samsung, Apple and Huawei. It will remain to be seen whether the brands undergo any identity change in the wake of Huawei and Samsung’s success, but for now, the different brand approach seems to be working for the companies, as they are enjoying success across the world.