Sean is a digital marketing swiss army knife with a diverse background working for various technology startups in Austin. Now leading content marketing at TrendKite.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was originally hailed as one of the “best devices ever, and arguably the best big phone ever made.” It was positioned as the iPhone killer and launched before the latest product updates from Apple. With sales sliding and several skeptical that Apple could continue their dominance in the smartphone space, the Galaxy Note 7 was the new gladiator in prime position to steal more of the market share. But those plans quickly went up in flames — literally.
Galaxy Note 7 Timeline:
As a PR professional it’s your job to deal with any fire drill and extinguish the flames, but sometimes you need to step back and assess the damage. We took a look at the coverage and examined how bad the brand was burned as a result of recall crisis. Check out the full interactive PR report here.
Slow Coverage Out the Gate
The Galaxy Note 7 was an underdog in the press from the beginning. The launch of the once revered new smartphone was eclipsed by the anticipation and launch of the iPhone 7 and Google Pixel. It wasn’t until the crisis started that the Note 7 saw a large spark in the news cycle which was ignited during the announcement of the new iPhone. No PR professional wants to be outshined when it comes to the launch of a new product, but the Samsung team had an opportunity to stay under the radar to contain the product malfunctions with most eyes on the new Apple products.
Unfortunately, the flames could not be contained and the explosion of replacement phones caused a second spike of coverage that could not be ignored.
No Air To Breathe
The Galaxy Note 7 quickly saw 87% of all it’s new coverage become focused on just the recall and safety hazards. The product and brand has now experienced what is certainly one of the worst product recalls in history.
Those following the coverage even continue to mock Samsung’s inability to identify exactly what is happening to their phones:
Homer has found the problem with the Galaxy Note 7! pic.twitter.com/Dw5HIxrw3H— Adam Murphy (@AdMMMM) October 11, 2016
The key messages circulating around the phone aren’t any better and what were once selling features of the phone are now distant dreams of what could be:
News and comments surrounding the recall has been shared over 700,000+ times across social media vs. just 198,000+ shares that Samsung received for just the initial launch of the Note 7 before the crisis began. It seems the brand was able to boost awareness with consumers, but in the worst possible way.
Post-Mortem: So What Will be the Next Big Thing?
Now that Samsung has officially killed production of the Galaxy Note 7 because they could not resolve the issues — what is next? What can PR professionals learn from this crisis or overall launch? Were journalists and Samsung too presumptive to claim it was going to compete if not beat other smartphones in the market? How can Samsung earn the trust of consumers back?
As a PR professional, it would be wise to start with the Note 7 launch and see why it didn't have the initial impact rival products had in the press. By simply looking at launch numbers, it would appear that the smartphone was not going to hit the high expectations, but sales would have had the final say.