Cutting Room: Putting the shine back in the LG brand

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The manufacturer’s UK and Ireland head of mobile Andrew Coughlin said it will double marketing spend next year. Paul Withers discusses why it is vital LG sticks by this promise for it to achieve its aims

LG has never been one to come out and shout from the rafters. Whilst the likes of Samsung, Nokia, Sony Mobile and HTC publicly announce their ambitions, LG has been completely the opposite.

In fact, many, particularly in the business sector, may not even be aware LG still makes mobile devices. I have to confess, it’s been a while since I saw one – in or out of a store.

Incredible given the manufacturer held the same level of “must have” as the likes of Apple of today, producing some incredibly popular and innovatively designed devices such as the Chocolate, Viewty, Prada, Cookie and Shine range. (pictured right)

Its market share has since fallen from a reported high of 18 per cent six years ago to just three per cent today – mirroring that of fellow strugglers BlackBerry and Motorola.

LG admits it waited too long in releasing its first smartphone, the Optimus, at the end of 2009 – a staggering two years since the original iPhone was released- which effectively altered the direction of the market. Most reacted quickly – LG held off,  and has been playing catch up ever since.

The firm has largely been off the radar ever since. News at a minimum other than the odd press release. So it was refreshing to hear LG UK and Ireland head of mobile Andrew Coughlin outline its very ambitious plans for 2014.

Coughlin speaks with an air of extreme confidence – making his claims of hitting 10pc by the end of 2014 seem completely plausible. And so they might turn out to be. But going from five per cent (which in-itself is debatable – given GfK figures show less than 2 per cent as of week 44 for combined sales) to 10 is a very tall order indeed.

The promise of record marketing  spend is positive, and few could argue the firm has upped its game with worthy high-end devices like the G2 and Google Nexus 5, which LG manufacturers. It has also added EE as a carrier partner for the former early last month – meaning more eyes will be on its products,something it has badly lacked in recent times.

Marketing millions
Marketing and brand awareness, as put by Coughlin are key to this – if not vital.

It will be interesting to see just how far it will go.

HTC has gone all out to change its entire identity – removing itself from a stuffy, expensive brand to a more playful one whilst still retaining its high end level of features.

The decision to hire Hollywood star Robert Downey Jnr in August to star in its latest advertising campaign was a good one – (who doesn’t laugh out loud at Jnr dancing with car washing trolls?). This all came at a cost, with HTC’s marketing spend budgeted at $1 billion.

Nokia has shown huge signs of improvement with its Lumia range and a growing market share. It will soon be backed by Microsoft’s billions too – who clearly have ambitions of their own to fulfil.

LG is spending, from what we understand, a fraction of HTC’s budget, meaning whatever it does, needs to stick in the minds. Thinking outside the box will help.

Huawei is one manufacturer doing just that. The Chinese firm has often been criticised for its lack of marketing resulting in minimal brand awareness.

There are signs things are changing though. Its sponsorship of the ice rink in London’s busiest shopping centre Westfield is impossible to avoid for the millions of shoppers and ice skaters who will visit over the Christmas period. Simple, but incredible effective.

LG by contrast is in a far stronger position than Huawei, people know who they are, they may have just forgotten.

Over to you LG.

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