[Case Study]-Apple vs. Samsung: A Battle of Marketing Relevancy

Jan 28, 2017
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Presently, Apple and Samsung are seen as the largest manufactures of Smartphones across the world.

Earlier, the mobile phone market was ruled by companies like Nokia and Motorola, Apple took over the market when it launched ‘iPhone’ in 2007. The product became actually popular among users, having large and multi-touch user interface.

Apple continued on dominating the Smartphone market within the years; however Samsung introducing Samsung galaxy series in 2013 brought increased competition for it. It was Samsung’s massive advertising coupled with unique Android features that the Samsung galaxy has overtaken the iPhone to become the most popular Smartphone brand in the world.

This aggressive competition between these two tech giants has resulted in endless court battles.

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, 2010

“Smartphones, TV’s and other key IT products are entering a slow growth phase and our rivals are changing value chains by introducing new technology and business models.”

Kwon Oh-hyun, Samsung Vice Chairman
Samsung took to Social Media to troll Apple:

In 2010, Steve Job well stated that “No one is ever going to buy a big phone” – and Samsung can hardly hold its behavior.

By using this quote, in which the image also says “Guess who surprised themselves and changed their minds”. Then they promote the Galaxy Note 4 with the hashtag #MoreThanBig.

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This case study here is looking at the competitive marketing strategies used by each of these names and what they need to step ahead from their rivalry position in future.

Stats & Facts
  • Samsung accounted for 37% of smartphone sales and Apple 29% in May 2016.
  • Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 Edge accounting for 16% of sales and the iPhone 6s/6s Plus at 14.6%.
  • Apple rocked out Samsung by selling 74.8 million iPhones, leaving behind Samsung’s 73 million Smartphones sales in 2015.
  • Apple doesn’t use Twitter accounts, Facebook profiles, or indeed have a blog.
  • Samsung makes use of all major social media channels, celebrity endorsements, and all other good & effective marketing strategies.

“Samsung is doing a lot of things to prove they are innovative and therefore, can experiment and learn from their experiences. Apple is known for innovation and don’t have to prove this by using by social media platforms. They have to make sure to keep their status as a quality leader and therefore, cannot experiment as much as Samsung. So they lay back.”

Rémon Elsten, Vice-President of the Swiss Contact Center Association

Marketing Strategies

Apple is the dominating brand in the US market and Samsung holds the lead globally. There is some kind of peculiarity between the Marketing Strategies of both the brands. These are:

Innovation & Technology

Apple is broadly considered as a great innovator in the smartphone industry. It is famous for beautiful designs and new applications.

In comparison, Samsung is viewed as a follower for a long time. Since the launch of Galaxy S4, Samsung has considered Apple’s innovative design of the iPhone as “not so stunning”, and continues to be a notable competitor.

Winner: It is without a doubt that Apple leads in innovation.

Social Media Presence

Apple has a strange strategy when it comes to brand promotion. It has a minimalist presence on social media. It promotes through TVCs.

Samsung, meanwhile, is present on an array of social media channels like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook pages for Samsung Mobile, Samsung TV, and more.

Samsung has also connected with major apps and platforms to target audience with social campaigns.

Samsung India has launched a nationwide television and digital campaign showcasing its initiative to take customer service to the doorsteps of customers in the rural area. Conceptualized by Cheil India, the campaign film is called #SamsungCares.

The advertisement called as Samsung Cares has been a hit in social media, with the YouTube video reaping more than 64 million views currently.

Winner: Needless to say, Samsung wins.

Advertising

Apple has launched online advertisement campaigns to reach the users. The iPhone website has clean, clear and witty interface.

The iPhone advertisement of Apple is similar, always with white background, exotically alluring to the users. And, Apple is never hesitating to highlight the advantages of the products to the target audience.

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Similarly, Samsung is giving importance on advertisement of Galaxy S. It promotes mobile phones- bringing a dark blue interface in contrast to the white background brought by Apple. Galaxy S is promoted as somewhat vibrant, fast and thinnest mobile phone and the advantages embraced are explained clearly.

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Winner: There is a tie between Apple and Samsung.

Customer Engagement

Apple launched ‘Your Verse’ to highlight how different people use ipad to do things incredibly and in their own way. This campaign launched in 2014 became more of a story of people using ipad instead of the product itself.

Samsung launched its own campaign, ‘Incredible Art Piece’. This campaign was expressly designed to promote Galaxy Note pen style. This campaign itself became a Guinness World Book entry with the record of maximum number of artists working on a single art work.

It highlights the basic difference in the approach of both the brands. While Apple’s epicenter lies around how people use its products to make a difference to their life, Samsung emphasizes and advertises its features.

Winner: Talking of advertising, both comes as a winner as the purpose of the strategies i.e. Customer Engagement is achieved.

Public Relations and Publicity

Apple is using publicity for free and yet powerful way to interact with customers. In case of Apple, when more and more people are seen having and iPhone, other individuals get compelled to have the one; this is known as halo effect.

In contrast, Samsung is using Social Media such as Facebook to promote its products and all possible channels or marketing.

Winner: The winner is Apple as its effect is powerful that influence customer.

Viral Video Marketing

It got started in 2012 when Samsung brought the campaign ‘The Next Big Thing is Already Here’ to promote their new smartphone series, Galaxy S II.

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In the ad, the company poked fun at Apple customers. The ad not only teased iPhone users with lines like “Why don’t you guys just get 4G phones?” but also took the chance to feature their larger screens.

In the episode in this competition is another dig at Apple; Samsung’s Grad Pool Party ad was released in May 2013 to promote their latest smartphone, Galaxy S4.

That act helped Samsung to jump-start market share, and proved to become a viral video content powerhouse.

Samsung has increased its video efforts by over 360% in the past 5 years; on the contrary, Apple has only leveraged it by 5.8% campaigns a year, within the recent 5 years.

Winner: Samsung is winning on the pure scale of its marketing efforts.

Entertainment

Apple may win at innovation & publicity but when it comes to marketing, Samsung prioritize complete entertainment.

Samsung believes in its value and adores the power of a celebrity.

Samsung made sure its product was front and center at the Oscars. Millions of viewers see host Ellen DeGeneres taking selfies with guest stars using a Samsung phone.

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The brand partnered with famous music icon JayZ for his ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’ album, and teamed up with Usher for product placements in his ‘Looking for Myself’ music video.

Apple also generated the buzz among the music industry for procuring ‘Beats’ by Dr. Dre but it felt to be a little late.

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Winner: Samsung for keeping effective entertainment value.

Conclusions

Apple and Samsung keep on experimenting bringing various competitiveness strategies, such as new product launch, major innovations, mockups of the rival’s offer, product line extensions, aggressive advertising campaigns as well as lawsuits.

There are differences between these two brands as they adopt several techniques to reach the audience in their market effectively.

Apple is a leader in the innovation and Samsung is a strong competitor to it.

Samsung uses prompting strategies by lowering the prices, making it more affordable for customers.

Thus, to keep up with their existing positions and to become a declared leader, both of the brands need to have effective marketing strategies.

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