Md. Muyeedur Rahman, Head of Mobile, Samsung Bangladesh shares the consumer electronic manufacturer’s vision to help construct a Digital Bangladesh by ensuring better smartphone penetration in every corner of the country.
Can you elaborate on your 6-year career journey with Samsung? What were some of the professional challenges that allowed you to grow in this position?
My 6-years’ journey with Samsung has been no short of a roller-coaster ride. One of my previous CEOs once told me – the smartphone business is similar to the business of selling ice. You need to be absolutely precise with your product placement because once the ice has melted, it will have zero value to the customers. Hence, we are always striving to keep ourselves updated with the market dynamics, market forecast, industry movements, and competitions. This constant racing helps the smartphone industry personnel to grow their skills and capacity much faster, compared to other industries, like it did for me. I would say that, here, I have turned from a cocoon to a butterfly. I have explored different industries in my career. Throughout the time, my purpose has been to deeply understand the varying dimensions of each industry. It gives me an adrenaline rush. With my hard-working team at Samsung, we have managed to double our business and at the same time we have improved vastly on key parameters like profitability, sales, average sales prices and market share over the past 6 years. Our individual and team efforts have been thoroughly acknowledged by Samsung Global with various prestigious awards and recognitions. It hasn’t been easy amidst the continuous challenges from competition. But I love to embrace such challenges because I think it is the only way to move forward as a stronger market entity.
With stiff competition from companies, both international and local ones, what kind of shift in marketing communication have you observed?
At Samsung, our aim is to always serve the customer best. We believe products and services should always be designed with the consumer in focus. This should also reflect in the key message of our communications. Hence, Samsung always designs its product segments – like the Galaxy M, Galaxy A, and Galaxy S series – with different distinct personas. This personification caters to different particular sets of customers and their personal and professional needs, which, I believe, adds a significant mileage to our marketing communications. Now we have access to all sorts of consumer data and statistics. The ROI and data analytics-based marketing form is shaping the future. I think these in-depth insights of niche data could be vital for any brand to understand their audiences better. Top brands across the world are now opting for these data based marketing approaches. I believe that, being the market leader, it is imperative for us to take a proactive approach to marketing as opposed to a reactive approach. So the best way to grow and win in today’s market would be to become your own competitor.
The last two years have been a standstill for businesses. So, how did Samsung try to ensure visibility across the channels amidst the pandemic?
Navigating business and marketing through the last two years has indeed been challenging. As a market leader, we had been preparing ahead of time to tackle this imminent crisis. We were the first handset brand in Bangladesh to come up with a O2O portal like galaxyshopbd.com that gave customers the option to purchase their desired products from online; even from their preferred retail as well and get it delivered right at their doorsteps without ever needing to leave their homes. We have increased focus on effective digital communication along with our activities in different platforms, and we are also delving into content partnerships with relevant and noteworthy partners to engage our audience even further. With the support and partnerships of our e-commerce and telco partners, we have designed attractive offers for Samsung devices and boosted visibility on their platforms for customers’ convenience. Our loyalty platform ‘My Galaxy’ app, Google ads, emails to customers, and other services, all in all, are helping us to stay visible amidst the pandemic.
Can you share details of some of the most memorable and successful marketing campaigns of Samsung?
It is difficult to name one or two campaigns since we are constantly brainstorming for newer campaigns. I still remember, when we initially had our factory set up in Bangladesh, we were facing the challenge of proving the quality of our locally assembled smartphones. It was a common question, whether we would be able to maintain the same global standard. We replied to such doubts with an inauguration offer where we provided a 120-days replacement guarantee. It became hugely popular, and that’s how we kept on earning people’s trust over the years. And other brands are now also opting for local productions. When Bangladesh saw the major conversion from 3G to 4G, we brought the Samsung J2 4G series to the market with the slogan – ‘Ei J real 4G’! Another campaign called “Bhalobashar Epith Opith” marked an innovative celebration of valentine’s day, as we broke the conventional content type and showed the market how even a tech manufacturer could also become relevant to the idea of valentines. We have consistently been awarded as The Best Brand for 3 years in a row. We earned Best Use of Mobile, Best Video and Best Content Marketing Awards at the 2020 Digital Marketing Awards for this campaign. “The Grand Invite”; and “Galaxy A series launch 2021” were some other memorable campaigns.
Last year in August, Samsung launched the “Meet the Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G from home” campaign. How did this new retail experience appeal to customers, and how did it affect the sales?
We launched the Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G through this e-meet kind of program, where customers could make an appointment and talk to our representative to get details of the flagship handset. It was a retail experience, entirely developed for the customers to bring the store to them instead of them coming to the store. The response was surprisingly good, where we got a lot of registrations, and people really liked the virtual experience. It was supposed to be a 5-day activity, but the response was so good that we had to extend it for the whole month to accommodate all the people who had registered.
How was the campaign “Shikhore Othar Prottoy” received by customers? Can you tell us about the inception and implementation of this campaign?
As I said earlier, all our smartphone segments carry a personified concept. The Samsung Galaxy M series – famous for its monster battery, is made for the people who want their phone to outlast their day. It is for those who are working hard to excel in life beyond all difficulties. To engage more customers with this concept, we opted to create OVCs portraying real-life heroes who actually run from day to night chasing their dreams. We featured a chef from Chattogram with one such triumphant life story. Many came up with their own stories of hardship. This opportunity for value addition gave us a great sense of satisfaction.
Samsung Bangladesh has introduced a 100 days replacement warranty for Galaxy M02 to enhance users’ experience. Is this service open for other models? How has the service been doing so far? What other initiatives can customers expect from Samsung?
At Samsung, our primary objective is always to make life easier for our customers. In view of that, we came up with the 100 days replacement warranty on Galaxy M02. This helped us build trust and reassurance, especially those shifting from feature phones to smartphones. They are investing a good sum of money, so they definitely expect a long-lasting outcome for it. Among other initiatives – we brought our ‘Nevermind’ offer to help customers with the issue of handset damage. We also introduced a second-year warranty at a very low cost, so customers can anticipate a longer lifespan for their devices. A large portion of customers are young, who do not have credit cards. For them, we introduced a cash EMI facility. We are hopeful that we can bring more of such customer-oriented initiatives this year as well.
What kind of marketing, branding, and consumer trends do you anticipate the mobile market will experience as we become more and more dependent on technology?
People are now more dependent on smartphones and smart devices than ever before. The ratio of smartphones and feature phones approves of that. Due to the pandemic, a lot of people are doing home office, where the need for tabs and mobile sets is beyond asking. This also indicates more consumption of data and more integration of virtual platforms. IoT devices are shaping future lifestyles. This way, the span of the digital ecosystem is getting wider and wider. To cope with one such ecosystem, Samsung has launched products like Galaxy Buds and Galaxy Watch. Besides, we are not only a smartphone manufacturer but also one of the largest consumer electronics manufacturers in the world as well. Hence, our ecosystem is destined to extend to every aspect of life, with Samsung electronic devices serving every human need for the future.
What is your vision for the coming five years for both Samsung and yourself?
Samsung takes pride in being the first global smartphone brand in Bangladesh to envision local productions. Bangladesh now anticipates a total digital transformation in the near future, and our primary vision is completely in line with this. Samsung wants to help construct a Digital Bangladesh by ensuring better smartphone penetration in every corner of the country. We have long been working with the government in regards to barring illegal smartphones through transparent IMEI verification and market monitoring, and right now, we are witnessing its crucial implementation. Samsung is already the number one smartphone brand in Bangladesh, and we want this to persist to a point where we will be our own competitor. We want to work for the people of Bangladesh by increasing technological awareness by making smartphones more and more available. My personal, as well as organizational, vision is to put efforts that contribute to national growth. Only then will my journey be accomplished.