#TheSocialCMO: Ranjivjit Singh, Samsung India decodes the brand's content strategy

Social Samosa
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Ranjivjit Singh, Samsung India gives an inside view in the making of Samsung Cares, the campaign that marked Samsung’s success in content marketing.

2017 had just begun and Samsung released their first brand film, Samsung Cares, targeted at Tier II and III towns; the video emerged to become one of the fastest brand campaigns to hit the 100 million views mark.

Social Samosa got in conversation with Ranjivjit Singh, Chief Marketing Officer, Samsung India, understanding what went behind the campaign’s phenomenal success.

Samsung’s customer care campaign recently hit 100 million views on YouTube. What would you attribute this success to? The campaign featured on social media in the beginning of 2017. Was there a reason behind the time of the release?

Every success for Samsung throughout the last 21 years in India is attributed simply to our customers. When we started our operations in the 1990s, we were present in select towns and outlets and our customers used to travel long distances to come looking for Samsung products.

Over the last 21 years we made our products available across every taluka of the country. It is our customers who embraced Samsung with an open heart, made us No. 1 across all leading categories. To reciprocate, we launched 535 service vans in October 2016, increased our service points to 3,000 and rolled out a new easy to remember toll free customer care number (1800 40 SAMSUNG) for our customers.

The idea behind launching these unique customer service vans was to reach out to our customers in the remotest corners of India, ensuring timely service to them. The aim is to bring world-class service to the doorsteps of lakhs of rural and semi-urban consumers.

This #SamsungService campaign video is our communication to create awareness about the campaign for our customers. We strongly believe that a brand must connect with its customers’ heart to heart.  Our campaign touched every Indian heart and we are overwhelmed by the response. The achievement that this campaign has created a world record with 100 million views is truly humbling for us at Samsung.

What was the idea behind the campaign? And what was the brief shared with the team or the agency? 

We simply wanted to showcase Samsung’s brand ethos. Our relationship with the customer starts when he or she purchases our product. The idea was to tell the story in a compelling way that illustrated our commitment to take care of our consumers, no matter where they are.

The fact that quality Samsung service is available in every corner of the country was a key takeaway in designing this campaign. Our brief to the agency was to create a campaign video based on a human story expressed in an emotional way as our proposition for #SamsungService is Samsung Cares.

How did the campaign help in achieving tangible results? 

The campaign made an emotional connect with our consumers and touched upon hearts of millions of people right from the beginning. It is because of these reasons that it has become the highest-viewed advertising video in the Consumer Electronics and Smartphones category worldwide and the highest-viewed advertising video across categories on YouTube in India, as on date.

What was most endearing was the consumer engagement that this film could create as well as the several heart-warming comments we received. On social media platforms, the film received more than 226,000 likes, shares, and comments. Most consumers admitted that they were moved to tears and felt connected to Samsung like never before. This also helped the film in being the fastest to reach 100 million views on YouTube in India.

How has storytelling evolved over the years? What are the key differences between narrating a story on television and social media? 

While storytelling on television is mostly a one-way broadcast process, on social media it is a highly interactive, smartphone centric, two-way process and is now fast moving to LIVE formats.

Today, consumers are the biggest creators and are often creating stories themselves every instant. The smartphone plays an important role here and has become an integral part of their social interactions and sometimes also defines their personal relationships e.g. when they go out to a café they quickly first need to click pictures of their food and share it with the rest of their friends on social media before they even touch it.

The role of a brand today, is to create stories on social media that invite consumers to co-create. The young millennial wants to actively contribute to a brand story and often brands who allow that, giving interesting content pegs to millennials to co-create, share and earn social appreciation become more endearing.

There are many interesting examples of how we have brought this philosophy live at Samsung:

- We launched the Samsung Mobile India Instagram channel, with a beautiful love story on Valentine’s Day, which unravelled one episode a day. The idea really caught the attention of millennials and we got many enthusiastic responses giving us creative ideas on the plot of the love story. We got so much love that today we are the leading Instagram channel in the category, with 208K followers and growing.

- To highlight the unmatched low light photography feature in our flagship device, we engaged the country’s top photographers to shoot contemporary India in low light conditions, (sunsets, lit city streets, stage performances, night clubs, and street art) with the Galaxy S7. The campaign was called, S7 ‘Best in the Dark’. The response was overwhelming with the social tribe wanting to know what modes and filters/setting were used to get the image results. A whole series of interactions started between the photographers and consumers with Samsung facilitating them on all our digital platforms. We received 250,000 engagements and 56,000 uninitiated downloads.

Where does social media fit in the scheme of things at Samsung? How much per cent of your marketing budget is reserved for social media?

Social media is important for Samsung and we have been engaging our audiences on various social platforms. We are present on all major Social Media platforms and there is a team that is dedicated to listening and responding to social queries and conversations. Social Media helps us build Brand Love among consumers, which is most important for Samsung in the brand lifecycle stage that we are in.

With Mobile phones leading the social revolution, Samsung as market leader in mobile phones is a leading brand on digital and social as well. The medium is important for engaging our audience, not just speaking to them, but more importantly listening to them. In certain product categories, social and digital media contributes to maximum investments, almost matching that on TV channels.

Where does social media stand in your CRM mechanism? Brands' social CRM is often not in sync with their other CRM processes. How can that be rectified? Is Samsung working in that direction? 

Social media is an important part of our CRM. We cherish our consumers and take their comments very seriously. A dedicated team listens to consumer responses day in and day out.

Since we have multi product portfolio with consumer electronics product lines and mobile phones, listening to our customer, what we internally refer to as Voice of Customer (VOC), is the driving force to taking care of our customer, retaining them when they think of upgrade, cross category selling and over all building their brand loyalty and bonding with brand Samsung.

As a CMO of the social age, please share 5 social media tips with other brands. 

Know your customer well and let them contribute - In order to execute your social media plans, a brand should know its customers well and their social media preferences. Objective should be to engage them well.

Know your requirements of social media presence - It is not mandatory to be present on each and every social media platform for the sake of it. Evaluate the platform before customers’ availability and profiles.

Consistent messaging across all platforms - Integrated communications is the key across all social channels. Consistent messaging across platforms would help brands communicate better to their customers.

Platform specific content - Each platform stands for different things, it is important to know how each social channel and their audience behaves and accordingly creates type and kind of content. Not only the content but the formats are very important as well.

Relevant content - Ensure that industry related content (data and information), blogs on current issues, market research is posted on your social platforms.

Know your business objectives - Align your business objectives with social media marketing plan. This will help you achieve larger goals through social media marketing initiatives.

How important it is for key executives of a brand to stay active on social media and participate in active ORM? Do Samsung executives follow the same? 

The hero is always the brand and not the individuals. If the personality of a brand allows that, participation of executives in ORM can be leveraged to build brand authenticity especially in times of crisis.

Social media enables brands to have an interactive relationship with consumers. We cherish this direct relationship and it is our promise that we will take care of our customers wherever they are.

What are your social media plans for 2017? Are there any campaigns in the pipeline?

We are “always-on” on social media and will continue to do so, whether it is our product led communication or content led. Most of our digital campaigns today have a social engagement leg.

Social media is a big part of Samsung’s digital ecosystem and would continue to be one in 2017 as well.

There are many exciting campaigns coming up:

- The Galaxy A9Pro Bold shorties - Films shot on the Galaxy A9 Pro on a single charge, by National Award winning director Vikas Bahl and his creative partners at Phantom films

- A digital travelogue series with MTV, where VJs Anoosha, Ayesha and Jose have come together to live the ‘A life’, a life of spontaneity and free expression using our Galaxy A7 & A5 2017 edition of smartphones

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