Great management and leadership is about making correct choices and taking the right decisions. Clarity of thought is one of the most critical factors that dictate the quality of decision making. Also, a leader without passion isn’t a leader. Passion drives a lot, and you can inspire so much in others through your own passion and enthusiasm. Asim Warsi displays both these traits—clarity of thought and passion—in abundance. A glimpse of his crystal-clear views: “India has a huge consumer base which is critical for Samsung. It is a large and open market where opportunity of proving and winning is immense and is therefore an exciting market to be in.” Samsung, which is having a dream rum in its technology business in India, is a company full of strong, talented individuals. Asim is the vice-president (sales) for mobile business at Samsung Electronics India. He is a seasoned professional and has a total of 18 years of work experience with nine years alone in the telecom industry.
Going forward, he tells Sudhir Chowdhary that Samsung still has a huge future in which its influence will grow. Excerpts:
There are many players in the mobile market but Samsung has aggressively moved ahead of its competitors. Share with us the mantra of success.
We have continuously been innovative and never stuck to one successful mode. While we would be succeeding in product, services or market expansion activity we would be simultaneously working in the next level of innovation. The effort has always been to innovate, change and improve. Whether it has been feature experience, hardware capability or basic consumer benefits, we have come out across spectrum be it in smartphone space or creation of touch market etc. While touch phones were present earlier, it took a lot of smart and interesting devices like our Corby series to open up the youth era and their imagination.
We have done a lot of work on technology, come up with products great on endurance and also launched devices with extraordinary talk-time and battery. When we came up with Galaxy series on Android, we focused on ensuring that overall experience of Android on a Samsung device will be discernibly different (superior), which was through our touch user interface. With regard to local apps, we have tried to ensure relevance.
Everything else that stemmed out of products like brand building, channel practice, marketing initiatives they have always looked for one common denominator—what’s new, what’s more different about it, how is it exciting and appealing now.
What is the technology differentiator that Samsung brings to the table?
Certain technology is unique to Samsung globally like in hardware space—design and ergonomics. For example, in our display capabilities and screen technologies we have had an advantage always in terms of screen resolution. And not just in mobile phones, but mobile phones have epitomised it for us. Another example, Samsung TouchWiz as a user interface is a global differentiator—we wanted to make it more intuitive and more flowy.
In India we have music, gaming, video, education, utility services that we have created with local partners. We also create our own apps—downloadable on our smartphones and feature phones and in several devices these are pre-loaded too...these are all relevant apps for Indian users. With these new varied offerings, we intend to offer solutions to various needs of the Indian consumers through the perfect harmony of smart, innovative technology and stylish design. At Samsung we provide a range of devices across categories. This approach has helped us in offering mobile devices at different features thereby providing our customers with more choice—choice in terms of handsets, prices, applications and the platform that best suits their needs.
What according to you is the key to succeed with the Indian consumer?
Indian handset market is quite dynamic and consumer base is evolving. All issues in the market are cases of unfulfilled demand, which in turn presents itself as an opportunity. Samsung is the best placed to address these opportunities as it is a full range player and offers products in all categories and on different platforms.
The mobile consumer market has evolved and consumers are looking at buying devices that best suit their individual and business needs. Samsung is the only platform agnostic player with the widest range of smartphones at affordable price points. This allows us to offer the largest portfolio of smartphones to our consumers, giving them more choice.
Tell us about your sales, marketing and branding strategy that has contributed to success of Samsung in India.
A lot of sustained effort has gone to make us where we stand in India. We stood for one brand value—Next is what? We reorganised and re-chartered our brand and business strategy based on innovation.
The tagline was born out of that attitude—consumers are looking for the next, looking for beyond and therefore looking through Samsung. Hence our entire brand build up through innovation was epitomised through the tagline and the brand ambassador Aamir Khan further stemmed it in the Indian mindset.
In media we have covered all the verticals. We have taken dominant position in the online media where the buzz is enormous. In our retail establishment and distribution—while we have increased our distribution width, have done large investment in branded and formatted retail investment—we have our own set of stores which are exclusive. The Samsung Smartphone Cafes and Samsung Mobile Brand Store provide a differentiated end consumer experience.
These retail concepts provide an interactive experience for consumers looking to buy Samsung smartphones, tablets and portable PCs and get insights on the products. We also have well trained demonstrators for explaining the product features to the consumers, helping them to choose the right phone.
How has the market responded to the hybrid category such as Galaxy Note?
Consumer response was better than our expectations. A lot of existing smartphone consumers are adopting a converged device like Note as it is a beautiful blend of smartphone and tablet and hence got instant acceptance. Globally, we have sold more than three million Galaxy Note II smartphones in a little over a month after its launch.
How important is the Indian market for Samsung? What will be the strategy going forward for the Indian market?
India is one of the top strategic markets for Samsung. We have the largest R&D in India. India has a huge consumer base which is critical for Samsung. It is a large and open market where opportunity of proving and winning is immense and is therefore an exciting market to be in.
Over the last few years and future, the biggest mode to recognition is conforming and building a product and having a global line stem out of a lead market. In India, we have launched many products which were germinated out of India into many other global markets.