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Samsung aims to be a local brand in India

News, 10 March 2017
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MUMBAI: Samsung, one of India's most popular electronic brands, is making its marketing more "local" as the company seeks to fight off a flood of competitors from China in the market.

The South Korean tech firm, which has been in India for 21 years, is fighting back from a tough year in 2016. While it remains a market leader in India, the company saw its market share in the smartphone category drop against aggressive Chinese competitors, such as Oppo.

Its smartphone flagship Note 7 was recalled globally, then the company's heir Jay Y. Lee was ensnared in an ongoing corruption scandal engulfing South Korea's government. He is now facing trial in one of the country's most high profile cases ever.

But despite the upheaval for Samsung outside of India, on the subcontinent senior executives are more optimistic: the evolution in marketing strategy, alongside agency partner Cheil India, had started before last year’s troubles and so far has been successful.

(For more about how Samsung has sought to localise its Indian marketing strategy, read Warc's report: How Apple and Facebook misread India, but Samsung and Vivo got it right.)

"In the subcontinent region if Samsung can be seen more as an Indian brand, that is really where we are headed," said Ranjivjit Singh, SVP for Corporate Marketing and CMO at Samsung India Electronics in comments to Advertising Age.

Part of the strategy involves advertising which focuses on storytelling and takes a more emotional approach, a popular move in India, compared to the product specific advertising commonly seen in other Asian markets.

"We've been writing stories to connect with Indian consumers, in a very Indian way," said Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar, Cheil India's Chief Creative Officer.

Ads focusing on new features are likely to remain, he said, but Samsung is "concentrating on technology that's more meaningful to consumers".

Data sourced from Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff

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