Samsung show how to “TURN ON TOMORROW”

Post from Prasad Narasimhan, our Managing Partner for Asia, based in Bangalore, India.

Every marketer knows that great insights fuel brands & their success in market. Insights inspire action and create growth opportunities for our brands.

But we also know that it is not easy coming up with great insights. It involves hard work, passion and a tenaciousness of purpose that paves the way for serendipity.

So when we see a marketer creating win after win in the market, and that too in a category that is under tremendous pressure, it merits our attention.

A category under siege

Photography has seen dramatic change over just the last two decades. The film roll is dead, and with it, great big names like Kodak, which filed for bankruptcy last year. Digital cameras conquered swiftly & mercilessly, giving consumers unprecedented flexibility & freedom to take great pictures.

If that was quick, the attack on digital cameras has been even quicker. Must-have gadgets like smart-phones & tablets have become a rage with consumers globally, and their camera functionalities have been upgraded at a mind boggling pace; witness a 41MP camera with digital stabilization on some of the latest smart-phones! Why would anyone need to carry a separate digital camera anymore?

But digital cameras have been fighting back, and led, ironically by the same company that is killing the category with smart-phones. Samsung.

Insight-led innovation

Samsung has created a range of stunning new-to-the world cameras, and that too in a very short time.

First was the 2-view camera. And the insight behind it was breathtakingly simple. Today’s social-media tribe (now called “selfies”) is increasingly obsessed with self-portraits to feed their FB profiles, but struggle to get good shots with either a conventional DSLR or their phones. Presto – the 2-view camera that allows you to see yourself as you click!

Then Samsung quickly killed this themselves. They realized early that while they had a winning concept & product, things were not yet perfect. The self-screen was small, as it had to compete for space with a viewfinder and a host of camera buttons.

A new insight was uncovered – selfies don’t often get a good view of themselves when they try & take self-portraits. Samsung now created the Multiview camera: with a rotating panel that allows you to see yourself on a full-screen in any angle.

Samsung was now on a roll. They realized that these self-obsessed users want to post or send their latest photos to their friends circle right then, right there. This is a generation of kids who live in the moment. This insight gave birth to the Smart Camera that allowed users to share their photos instantaneously by mail or on social media sites of their choice. Their tag line of “Shoot Wow, Share Now” captures the promise as imaginatively as they designed the camera itself. And of course, it was another world-first.

Before long, marketers at Samsung unearthed yet another consumer pain point. People that take group photos don’t get to be part of the photo! Wouldn’t it be perfect if they could be in the picture with their friends? Can picture taking itself not be part of the fun? Samsung then create their next little gem – the world’s first timer camera with dual LCD screens.

Turn on Tomorrow

This tagline captures the essence of Samsung; to be consumer leading every time. They are obsessed with leading the category experience each time & striking gold with each launch. For this they realize the need to constantly mine deeper into the world of their consumers.

So what will tomorrow be like? Can it be a camera that allows you to juxtapose your self-portrait with the scene you are shooting? Can it allow Photoshop-like enhancements & spot editing? Can the camera become a canvas for youth to express their creativity? Can it come with a remote that allows you to operate the self-portrait mode with a lot more flexibility? Can it come with an intelligent stylus like the Note2? Can it come with a slew of apps that make photography that much more rewarding? Can it help create a new generation of photo-bloggers?

The brand is on fire because the insights are on ‘FIRE’

At the brandgym, we believe that great insights need to meet the FIRE test. They should be FRESH (new to the category), INSPIRING (lead to action), RELEVANT (to consumers & your product) and ENDURING (will remain relevant for years).

By obsessing on consumers, their pain points & their unarticulated needs, Samsung is generating insight after insight – thereby creating hit after hit in the market.