Creating connections: How leading marketers are building brands in the age of social media

Chuck Kapelke

When marketing leaders at Samsung Electronics North America were considering their branding strategy for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, they zeroed in on a key consumer insight: people want to feel more connected to the athletes in the Games. "Our brand is focused on the power of the connection," says Ralph Santana, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Samsung North America, a manufacturer of connected products like cell phones and web-enabled televisions.

Partnering with the U.S. Olympic Committee, Samsung developed the Olympic Genome Project, an application that enables Facebook users to see how they overlap with current and past Olympic athletes, based on variables such as their hometown, college, or favorite books and movies. Once users like the application, they can grow their connections by bringing in Facebook friends, taking quizzes to raise their status, and earning points as the athletes do well in competition. High scores are redeemable for prizes like Samsung products and trips to London.