Samsung Mobile Ltd has seldom made an error in the past few years. Growing from strength to strength and taking advantage of just about every industry trend that existed, from the dual sim boom to the rise of Androids, Samsung has been riding the waves of progression like a professional surfer, head forward and coasting. But it seems now Samsung may just be overdoing a bit of its charmed market penetration strategies. Countless models that are often marginally different to each other and extremely descriptive naming culture has already got some ire from bloggers. With the launch of Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini, it seems this time Samsung may have gone too far in milking its higher brand affinity. There may be reasons to believe Galaxy S3 Mini may actually hurt the Samsung S3 brand than help.
The price you pay for Galaxy S3 Brand: Exclusivity
Samsung Galaxy S3 is the most premium smartphone in the market at the moment. There are very few Android phones available in the market that is available at a more expensive price. The phone itself has state of the art features and specifications barely rivaled by most competitors. A typical user pays the high price for Samsung Galaxy S3, only because it is a premium smartphone and provides the best Android experience, perhaps even the best experience among all phones. The reason why so many people are attracted to the S3 is also the reason so many people wait in long lines to buy the latest iPhone; Exclusivity. When a typical consumer pays Rs 39000 for an S3 or Rs 59000 for an iPhone 5, that user is purchasing the phone out of the belief that there is no other phone like this in the market. The creation of Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini undermines this notion of exclusivity. In fact, the company has just indirectly declared that the S3 is just another run of the mill Galaxy device.
The major reason for the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini’s existence might only be to cash in on few people who wish to possess the premium Samsung Galaxy S3, but may not be able to afford the hefty price. These consumers will essentially enjoy the same brand value but at a lesser rate. However this requires deviation of consumers from potentially saving up to buy an S3 when its prices fall to buy the S3 Mini right away.
S3 will now lose potential customers who may have bought the device by taking contracts, EMIs or loans or even by saving up and purchasing in a few months’ time. The select group of consumers may feel content buying the more affordable “S3”than pay the full amount. What will be interesting to see is if both models will be available in the same markets and how the model will fare in such markets. S3 obviously continues to be the flagship smartphone for Samsung, barring the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, however with a cheaper phone also carrying the same roman numerals, it may be bad news for Samsung Galaxy S3. For an informed purchaser, the Samsung Galaxy S3 will remain the ultimate smartphone; however for someone willing to compromise on certain features, the S3 Mini maybe the best deal yet, not surprisingly the latter will number more than the former. One may wonder if naming the phone S2 Advance may have been better than naming the phone as S3 Mini.
Samsung may have argued the need of S3 Mini to cater the European sensibilities of users, who prefer a smaller screen phone than the mammoth screens Samsung usually produces. However, this argument falters when we take into account that the specifications aren’t up to mark at all. If indeed the S3 Mini was only to cater to the aesthetic needs of consumers, the device would’ve sported the same exact features in all other departments. Instead the phone features a slower processor, smaller camera in the rear and a pedestrian camera in the front and none of the added features that the S3 boasted of. Clearly, for a European consumer looking to buy an aesthetic S3, the S3 mini is but a downgrade. This may not necessarily hamper the S3 Mini’s sales as such, but it will affect the overall brand value of S3.
The bigger problem of aplenty
Samsung can attribute most of its success today mainly to its aggressive product marketing as well as its wide range of product portfolio. Rarely does a customer visit a Samsung Smartphone café and leave without finding/buying a phone of his choice. With countless variants that meet just about every whim of customers, Samsung has managed to entice just about anyone into buying their products. But recently however, its efforts in producing newer products that meet the needs of customers’ maybe a tad bit overboard. Samsung now has too many products that seem barely different from each other. The biggest issue with Samsung stems in its naming mechanism. While quite simple and descriptive, the naming may tend to get repetitive and often might depend too much on the marquee brands such as Galaxy S3, Duos and Champ.
The Galaxy S3 Mini is a great phone on its own. It has great specs that rival most smartphones out there; however it fails to build on the S3 brand and even fails to appeal because of the S3 nomenclature. The phone will probably hurt the brand value of S3 by eliminating the Exclusivity of the S3 as well as drawing consumers away from buying the S3 in future.