You might argue why an iPhone is better than a Galaxy, or the opposite. But have you compared between the two rivals based on their marketing strategy? Most people don’t. Here I’d like to analyse their story through a marketing perspective. You might argue, and that’s a good thing to figure different perspectives (it will be my honor to comment on your perspectives on the comments).
The iPhone Revolution:
No wonder Apple has owned ‘Innovation’. They used new technologies (huge screen, fast processor, human friendly interface) and leveraged their iTunes library to fill consumers needs, and did it before everyone else. They also made sure it looks like
nothing else, a very innovative design, packing, advertisements. In another word, Apple positioned iPhone as an innovative smartphone.
Smartphones. Was iPhone the first smartphone in the market? It looks like it but it’s not. Smartphones were out way before Apple even invented the iPods (so were tablet PC’s). But what Apple did, they made smart(er)phones, and the smarterphones became the smartphones.
Makes sense, right?
iPhone’s Current Positiong:
Let’s be honest. What is the leading mobile brand? iPhone.
iPhone is #1,
Beautiful device, attractive, easy to use, and above all, very popular (I personally don’t like iPhone, but have to say, it is very popular).
Based on Al Ries book, “Marketing Warfare“, a defensive marketing strategy is held by three principles:Because the iPhone is the leading smartphone brand in the market, the perfect marketing strategy for Apple to use is a defensive one.
- Defensive strategies should be pursued only by the market leader:
Apple is doing it right. It positions the iPhone as the leader, making sure people know it. The long lines in front of Apple Stores strengthen their position as the leader. And no wonder Apple drew this amount of people on purpose.
- Attacking yourself is the best defensive strategy:
How do you attack yourself? Good question. Let’s look at Gillette. What’s Gillette’s latest blade? No one knows. They come up with a newer ‘improved’ one almost everyday! This is how they attack themselves. When Apple come out with new iPhones every now and then, positioning it as a better phone than the previous (One of their slogans goes “This changes everything. Again.”)
- The leader always should block strong offensive moves made by competitors:
I believe Apple is being lousy on this part. Maybe they’re not, maybe they don’t see the BBM service on Blackberry and Google’s Android as threats. But I can’t prove that.
Before coming up with a new product, ask why? If you don’t have a reason for a new product in an existing category, you might end up with a Me-Too product.
Samsung Galaxy found a gap in the market and positioned itself to fit correctly in this gap. Galaxy is the phone for ‘everyone else’.
Let’s put it this way, why do people buy iPhones?
Some will say “Because it’s an iPhone”, but that’s another way of saying because they are popular. iPhone has a very high brand awareness when mentioning its category (smartphones). People trust these brands, when buying ketchup, people buy Heinz, when buying coffee, people prefer Starbucks, for pain relief, people take Panadol.
For a new competitor with abundant resources to compete with the market leader, the best marketing strategy to take is offensive. How do you attack Apple? Other than having a lot of money relevant to your competitor, you need to follow these three principles:
- The Challenger’s primary concern should be the strength of the leader’s position – not the challenger’s own strengths and weaknesses:
No wonder Samsung will do some research to find iPhones strength, it’s very popular. It is also the number one smartphone brand.
- The challenger should seek a weakness in the leader’s strength:
You read it right. Not a weakness in the leader’s weakness but in its strength. How do you find a weakness in popularity? Samsung found one, and it’s herding (It became clearer after Samsung released the Galaxy siii teaser 2 video[0:50]). Herding is a financial term refers to when a people follow a trend, buy or sell a certain stock. Some might argue their reasons of buying an iPhone, but most people unconsciously do it because it’s what everyone else does (One of iPhone advertisements says “If you don’t have an iPhone, well, you don’t have an iPhone.”)
- Attack on as narrow front as possible:
What Samsung needs to do is attack one weakness. It has to focus on one attribute. Not to be greedy. Which I think wasn’t done right at a certain point.
What’s Galaxy’s Current Position?
As explained earlier, Galaxy was positioned against the herding weakness in iPhones ‘Popularity’. Galaxy was positioned as a phone for ‘cool’ people. People who look for a reason to their actions and those who consider themselves as different than the crowd. How do I know that?
Watched their ads.
On this video, Samsung clearly showed these points:
- iPhone fans are over-excited over a release of a new iPhone.
- How new iPhones do look the same as older ones.
- How lining up for a new iPhone is not a good experience.
- Showed Galaxy users as more intelligent and decent.
- “The Next Big Thing” was the ad slogan, which is a clear sign of offensive strategy (not flanking).
This summarizes how Samsung is taking advantage of iPhone’s position to its favor. This doesn’t mean that Galaxy will become a smartphone leader soon, or ever. But it’s a sign that it will take a big bite of iPhone’s market share, unless one these things happens:
- iPhone successfully blocks Samsung’s attacks.
- or, Samsung tramples, get’s greedy, and confuses its audience.
… Which happened once.
Galaxy’s Own Enemy.. Greed.
After watching few of Galaxy’s ads, I saw the pattern. A clear position of a smartphone made for ‘cool’ people who are not herding toward the iPhone. ‘Cool’ is the key.
Let’s watch it.
Compare the two advertisements by Samsung, and look at where they broke the pattern. Everything was cool, until the loud music broke, mobiles started flying, and people started dancing. Not cool. I was confused. Whether they were greedy to capture a wider audience or eager to produce a creative superbowl ad. I believe it wasn’t done right.
The battle won’t be over soon. May the smartest phone wins.