Has Samsung stole Apple’s mojo? – Galaxy S4 Release

While the history books will rightfully credit Apple with revolutionizing the way the world views phones, Samsung has had the edge in device sales since 2010 when they took over as the world’s biggest smartphone seller. Samsung’s dominance has continued over the past 2 1/2 years, and they look poised to take another step forward with yesterday’s announcement of the Galaxy S4.

Apple has made a habit of slapping lawsuits on competitors for design similarities to their beloved iPhone and other devices, but can they stop Samsung from stealing their marketing and PR mojo?

From the big-time venue and tech blogosphere buzz to the uninformative teaser ads and product leaks, today’s Samsung event was hyped and executed according to the playbook that Apple wrote and executed for years. But with their epic success (and without the leadership of Jobs), Apple is proving less capable then Samsung at executing their own game plan.

Apple’s latest batch of marketing feels largely uninspired and the last few updates severely lacked the Wow-factor. Don’t get me wrong, the iPhone 5 is an amazing product, but it is no longer leaps and bounds (perhaps not even inches) above the competition. The public is over the “coming back from the edge through innovation” card, and Apple’s stock is showing the pains, down over 40% from their high of over $700/share just 6 months ago.

So Samsung went to the marketing well that Apple left for dry, cashing in on their unique position as both the market leader and under dog of public opinion. The Galaxy 3S was a huge step for Samsung, acting as a worthy alternative to the iPhone, and rewarding Samsung by becoming the top selling phone in the world. Because of this success (and a massive marketing spend by Samsung), gadget gawkers formerly with tunnel-vision to Apple news started paying attention, and helped broadcast and build hype for yesterday’s event. There was speculation, product rumors and genuine interest from the tech community. Everything you would expect from an Apple event.

Outlook

Samsung is really swinging big with the Galaxy S4, and there is no reason to believe it will not overtake its predecessor as the highest selling smartphone on the market. They have not had to do much trailblazing (both relating to product features and business model) as they have been able to learn from Apple’s successes and turn them against the previous market leader.

It is that Apple is investing in producing Wow-factors for future iPhones, as rumors are leaning more towards cheap(er) offerings that will keep them relevant in this huge market without requiring them to bend over backwards and redefine the market again. They seem to be saving their innovation and throwing their resources into markets they have yet to make big splashes in, such as wearable devices (a la Pebble) and streaming television.

Things are looking up for Samsung, if they do not let it go to their heads they are in position to lead the smartphone market for the next few years simply by feeding the marketing machine, which they have Apple to thank for.

  • http://twitter.com/chriskantos Chris Kantos

    To be fair, I don’t pay much attention to the smartphone arena, but on the contrary of your post it seems like overall public sentiment (albeit we are a day out) seems to be rather lackluster for the s4, much like what you mentioned for apples 5. My favorite quote from an article, (which is definitely, if not more so true for apple) is this: “In truth, the company could have released anything with the Galaxy S4 moniker, and it still would have garnered impressive sales”

    • Kent Shimek

      Agreed, the smartphone market is pretty mature, nobody is innovating. The larger takeaway is that with the playing field leveled, Samsung is using the same marketing and PR formula that Apple created to hype their events, at which point the product itself is largely irrelevant. The S4 event buildup felt similar to an Apple event, much different than the Galaxy S3 event, and I don’t know if they even had earlier release events. This is a big change for Samsung.

    • http://twitter.com/kentshimek Kent Shimek

      Agreed, the smartphone market is pretty mature, nobody is innovating. The larger takeaway is that with the playing field leveled, Samsung is using the same marketing and PR formula that Apple created to hype their events, at which point the product itself is largely irrelevant. The S4 event buildup felt similar to an Apple event, much different than the Galaxy S3 event, and I don’t know if they even had earlier release events. This is a big change for Samsung.

  • JT

    Apple’s marketing in a year of updates and speculation has definitely been ‘mehh’. Samsung’s, in a year of product upgrades and launches hasn’t been much better…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amJLmlbuNyw

    More fair to compare Samsung’s marketing and PR mojo now with Apple’s when they launched the 5 last year.

    Apple leads in mind share, Samsung leads in market share. The marketing war is up for grabs, currently being fought with open hand slaps and limp wrists.

    • http://twitter.com/kentshimek Kent Shimek

      Samsung reaching the iPhone 5 level is still a huge improvement for them, and the fact that people are paying attention to their releases (whether they offer value or not) is something in itself.

      Agreed the marketing is weak. The Ridley Scott and “Crazy Ones” Apple days are long gone, instead we get Samsung’s “Flash Mob”. Yuck.