David Steel is the Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing for Samsung Electronics in North America. He previously spent 10 years working with Samsung in Korea, having joined the company's Korea’s Global Strategy Group to work on projects for some of Samsung's subsidiaries and advanced to Vice President and head of marketing for the Digital Media Business division. In 2007 he joined the Mobile Communications division as head of marketing strategy.
Question: How does Samsung brand itself, and does that branding change with each new product?
David Steel: We made a decision some years ago to really focus on the Samsung master brand. So, rather than going for multiple brands in every category, we want to build up the Samsung brand. We are now the 19th strongest brand in the world as measured by Interbrand. So, we've obviously come a long way in the last few years and we feel the brand now is beginning to build that strong emotional connection.
But, you're right. We cover so many products. We're number one in mobile phones here in the U.S., we're number one in TV's. How do we sustain such a huge business? And a lot of that is about making the brand relevant in each category. So, making sure that the brand is articulated in the right way. And it's all about what consumers can get from our products. What they can experience.
We want Samsung to be seen as a brand that really helps the experience for our consumers. It provides something valuable to them. It's not just a piece of hardware. It's a really cool experience. And that's where we are focusing the brand and keeping some consistency across all of that product categories, but still connecting within each one because the needs are different.
Question: Where in your product line and in the world do you see your biggest growth?
David Steel: So, the U.S. has been a very fast growing region for us in terms of digital products here. TV's just been a huge growth area for us, we're now number one by far in the U.S. market. So, that's been very strong. We are also now seeing a lot of growth in mobile phones with the move to so-called Smart Phones, but every phone is becoming smart. This distinction between smart and unsmart is really blurring now, much more functionality into all our phones and that's helped get us to a number one position in mobile phones as well. So, those areas we see growth.
We are now bringing in some newer product areas like home appliances. Home appliances were traditionally thought to be, again, a less interesting category, something not to get very excited about. But we brought the same kinds of characteristics that we brought to TV's to mobile phones, to home appliances; great design, some cool technology, energy efficiency from a sustainability perspective, and now we've got a very fast-growing home appliance business.
So, a lot of these categories where we think we can grow our business, we still see a lot of room to grow here in the U.S. Obviously emerging markets too. Where there's demand around the world from the transition from analog to digital technology and then from standard definition to high definition TV's, a lot of demand there. So, we see a great potential not only in our products, but also in what our products can do.